5/9/2016 2 Comments
Kevin Risner: Mondays
Kevin couldn't chat with us like our usual interviews, but he took the time to jot down a few thoughts and sent us a reading! Check them out here!
What’s the most significant piece of mail that you’ve received?
This is a tough one. The word “significant” in itself is weighted, and therefore it is difficult to choose just one thing. I feel that, to me, receiving something personally written from someone wins this award: notes from my wife, the messages my grandmother sent to me when I studied abroad, postcards from people who are traveling or living far away.
Tell us about the creative process that went into the writing of Mondays.
“Mondays” actually came about because of National Poetry Month. Many people in April decide to attempt a poem a day and see what comes from it. It’s basically a kickstarter to get people to write more frequently, even when they feel they can’t get words onto paper. A few years back, “Mondays” was one of these poems that I wrote during poetry month. I forget the actual date, but I know I wrote it on a Monday!
If you were to visualize Mondays, what does it look like? Is there a story behind it?
It does factor into my life superficially. I do enjoy crossword puzzles and dabble in them, maybe now less frequently. My grandmother got me into puzzles when I was much younger, and I started attempting the ones in the newspaper and noticing how the difficulty level increased the further along in the week it went. Mondays are considered the easiest puzzles to complete; so if you are stuck and cannot complete the crossword because of a few nasty clues or if a whole corner is left blank on a Monday of all days – then it would be major cause for alarm, at least for me. If everything about the quintessential Monday were going wrong, and you had an easy crossword you could complete, things might not all be a loss…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a writer? Can it be applied to poets?
I still think that the best advice is to read a lot. Read often. Read people that interest you. Read genres that interest you. Also – read a variety. Read perspectives that differ from yours; even read people you normally wouldn’t. There are surprises everywhere you look. This advice definitely can be helpful for poets, not just novelists and short story writers.
What is your worst writing habit?
Reading too much and not actually writing. I also catch myself editing too often – especially longer pieces. My prose efforts are currently in limbo because I edit too much.
Can you remember the first poem/novel you ever found your self obsessed (or at enthralled) with?
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I remember my sister and her friends doing a video of the poem from the book for a project in middle school. I thought it was very clever, and I grew very fascinated with mystery stories because of reading this one first. I wanted to try and write a murder mystery that no one could solve. Most of the time, though, the people who read my stories would normally guess whodunnit in the end.
You mentioned that you don’t have many publications, but when did you start writing poetry and do you remember the first poem you ever wrote? What was it about?
My first poem was a collection of them in my freshmen year of high school. It was for a project in my English class I honestly don’t recall any of them – but if I found the booklet and read the poems, I’d probably cringe and find the blowtorch!
Do you find yourself to be more inspired by other poets or things outside poetry such as family, nature, etc? what things?
Regarding poetry inspirations, I know a lot of people who have had poems and chapbooks published. So I’ll naturally read their work. That’s usually the biggest motivator for me – reading their awesome words and wanting to create something just as awesome. Many novelists have given me inspiration in the past as well: Marquez, Murakami, Rowling, and Pullman are just four I can think off the top of my head.
Outside of reading, I can receive inspiration anywhere. Take, for example, “Mondays”: that came from my love of crosswords and the I-hate-Mondays phenomenon. I’ve also been inspired by my travels, my interactions with others (family and friends), current events. Anything can find itself on pen and paper.
What’s the most interesting pop-culture trend you’ve taken a part of recently (willingly or not)
I guess I was a touch late getting into Game of Thrones. I read the books a few years back and enjoyed them for the most part. I began watching the TV show on DVD last year and have finished four seasons so far. Naturally, I know most of what’s going to happen in the next two seasons because one cannot spend more than ten seconds on social media without a GIF or snarky comment popping up unexpectedly about the show, mostly full of spoilers. I recently got an ad on Facebook for “the Battle of the Bastards” episode. But that wasn’t as bad as when I read a Hodor joke and almost threw my laptop against the wall.
What else should we know about you?
I’m not sure! I just got back from a two-week delayed honeymoon in northeastern Canada and Maine, which was spectacular. I got to miss the RNC during the trip: an added bonus. I’m also an avid Cleveland sports fan, which most of the time seems rather foolish. But not this year! Go Cavs!
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