As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.
Let’s start by talking about creativity — what does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is making the choice to follow a path of perceptive vigilance and to translate the emotions and experiences one has into artful expressions that will enhance a more passionate and compassionate embrace of life in this world.
How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?
I began my poetic life at nine years old with my first poem, which was about Easter.
At thirteen, I had my first published poem, “Little John John’s Prayer.” It was a poem honoring the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination and was published in the local paper, The Times Herald in Norristown.
For as long as I can recall, I have always been in love with words—their sounds, their meanings, their ability to evoke and enchant. My first muse was Dr. Seuss. He taught me to love the playfulness of rhyme and impossible situations. My second muse was Shelley who taught me the truth about thorns and bleeding. My third, and probably most powerful muse was/is Sharon Olds who taught me to love the matter of this world and my place in it.
What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?
I had two major memorable creative experiences:
At forty-two, I suffered a CVA (stroke) from a blood clot in my brain. I was blessed with the relic of St. Padre Pio, famed stigmatist, and was immediately cured. The stroke rewired my brain and the way I wrote poetry. I wrote my first published collection, Psalms to Padre Pio, because of these experiences.
My second experience was hearing Robert Haas at a reading state, “Poets were the keepers of memory.” This idea captivated me and led to my researching and writing of my second published collection, And the Sun Still Dared to Shine, a collection of poems remembering the victims of the Holocaust.
People approach creativity in such different ways! What about you? What is your creative routine? Do you know of any quirky habits or creative superstitions?
I write every day—unless I am submitting, and my writing time is engaged in that way.
I usually write in the early morning, often at The Beanery, a local coffee haunt in Ocean City, MD, where I live with my wife, Shirley, and our shizon, Bella. I always write long hand in journals that have nice pictures on the covers. The pictures are usually nature scenes or symbols that call to me in some way. I carry my journal in a small grey bag slung over my shoulder. I only use Precise V5 black ink fine point pens because I like the way the ink flows onto the lines of the page.
Time, Tips, & Future Goals
How do you make time to do what you love to do?
My poetry makes time for me. When the poems want to be written—which they always do—I have no other choice in the matter. They will hammer away inside of me until I set them loose on the line. Often the poem begins with a phrase or a line in my head. I’ll repeat it, open the journal, begin writing, and follow the ideas as fast as they come—trying to keep up, trying to catch them. That is why I always write initially in long hand in journals and type the poems up later. Too much thinking while writing in the initial version can murder the poem. Revision comes only after the poem is initially on the page.
What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?
Read other poets—reread those you love, again and again.
Write everyday—even if only for 15-30 minutes.
Don’t think every poem you write must be published.
Daily writing is like exercise. It makes you a better and a stronger wordsmith.
Write for yourself—be your own audience first, and you will be true, and you will be beautiful.
Don’t be afraid to revise and revise the revision—even years later.
Believe in your work.
Research the journals you want to submit to. Make sure that your poems’ themes and styles are a good fit. Then Submit! Submit! Submit!
Send only your most polished works—grammar, spelling, proper formatting, and cover letter all a must!
Don’t be hurt by rejections—they are as necessary as the air poets breathe.
If an editor personalizes a rejection—always send a thank you. They are very busy and do NOT owe you that personalization. Obviously, they have taken the time to let you know they valued your voice—even if it wasn’t a fit for that issue.
Always be gracious to editors for their time and expertise.
Always send a thank you to editors who choose to publish your work. If they had not made that decision, your voice would not be shared.
What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?
I hope to honor, to give praise to this world.
I hope to inspire others to honor to give praise to this world.
If my whole creative life, if my entire poetic canon could be the song of one indigo bunting on a spring day, I will not have lived, not have written in vain.
Five years from now I hope to still be writing every morning at The Beanery. I hope to still be living with my wife, Shirley, and our shizon, Bella, in Ocean City, MD. I’d like to publish additional collections of poetry. I wouldn’t mind doing some lectures or readings.
— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—
About P.C. Scheponik
I have published four collections of poems: Psalms to Padre Pio (National Centre for Padre Pio, INC), A Storm by Any Other Name, Songs the Sea has Sung in Me (PS Books, a division of Philadelphia Stories), and And the Sun Still Dared to Shine (Mazo Publishers). My work has also appeared in a number of smaller journals.
Most recently I have been published in All the Sins Literary Journal and Adelaide Literary Magazine (Number 7 Volume II June 2017). As well, I was a finalist and winner in Adelaide Literary Magazine Awards 2017 and will be published in the Adelaide Literary Magazine Awards Anthology for 2017.
Read P.C. Scheponik’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection
“In Comparison” — p. 20
“From A Distance” — p. 27