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 has a great deal to do with listening. Creative types, particularly writers, have an antenna–they pick up wavelengths/frequencies–that, hopefully, lead them to the promised land (successful work). This is particularly the case with poetry. Often creative phrases pop into the skull that later become a poem. Mozart I read heard whole symphonies! So creativity, to me, is first and foremost about listening; and, secondarily, about following–meaning following what you heard–and letting the creative process carry you away–like a tide pushing a wave to shore. Thirdly, after the first draft is complete (listening and following), it is about the Apollonian grunt work–crafting, perfecting, editing–to realize the original impetus behind the work or even something a bit more than originally intended.
How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?
I started at age 16. Depression led me to it. I was down and, at the time, was keeping all my anger and sadness buried deep within. I filled up countless notebooks with poems–and this had a therapeutic effect. I wouldn’t say I have one muse. I have multiple. It always changes. I think it is great to find new inspirations–and to look for them in unique places. I don’t like poetry that is forced; that TRIES to be inspirational–this all seems phony as hell to me. Just be honest. That is one secret with writing. Or, as Chekov put it, “a writer must be as objective as a chemist….he must know that dungheaps play a very reasonable part in a landscape.”
What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?
I suppose my most memorable creative experience was the first time I put on a one man show and my parents were in the audience. They never liked my work. Always, pretty much, were discouraging. But they laughed a great deal at this comedic show and the overall response was very positive that night. After that they had more respect for my artistic pursuits and my confidence increased. It was kind of a redemptive/transformative moment…to a certain extent…as I obtained a degree of validation I never seemed able to obtain before that.
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 try to write every day. One important thing I started doing in recent years is directing far more of my creative energies into completing projects. In the past I would follow my inspiration–constantly starting new projects. But I learned–as enjoyable as that is–I need to slow down and polish. It is tough, sometimes, sticking with one project–and again and again revising it. But, stick with it, and very often it pays dividends.
Time, Tips, & Future Goals
How do you make time to do what you love to do?
There really isn’t any choice for me. If I don’t write I become unpleasant. So I make time. Put other matters on the back burner. Sometimes I alienate friends or relatives or have unpaid bills or my clothes don’t look so sharp, but, for me, this all is a worthy sacrifice.
What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?
Write every day. Don’t judge your own work too harshly. Just give yourself the freedom to play. Over time a craft and a sense of voice will emerge. Everyone grows at their own pace. Don’t compare yourself too much with your peers. Try not to get lost in bitterness and jealousy. Just stay disciplined and brick by brick complete work and, when ready, put it out there. Rejections can be tough. They can even hurt your creative output and induce extreme insecurity. But use the rejections to get stronger inside and fight harder and write more frequently to get beyond them. You are rejected now so you can be accepted later–with a new level of depth. Some of the best writers, for quite some time, were getting rejected. Don’t focus on it. Focus on where you are headed. And hopefully, with time, you will get where you need to go.
What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?
I want to finish more projects than in the past and create at higher levels. My immediate goals are a humor book (filled with short satires), a poetry book, and, when those are finished, a novel I started over ten years ago (and have yet to complete). In five years I hope to be more established as a creative voice on the literary scene and have a larger, built-in fan base. Finally, I’d like to in some way give back–other than teaching–by helping other writers through some kind of foundation, grant, or other charitable activity.
— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—
Matt Nagin is a writer, educator, actor, filmmaker and standup comedian. His poetry has been published in Antigonish Review, Dash Literary Journal, The Charles Carter, Grain Magazine and Arsenic Lobster, among other markets. His first poetry collection, Butterflies Lost Within The Crooked Moonlight, was released in 2017, and has obtained very strong reader reviews. More info at mattnagin.com.
You Can Find Matt Here
POETRY BOOK: http://www.amazon.com/Butterflies
FILM SITE: http://www.insidejobthemovie.com
Read Matt’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection
“Hermit On The Subway” — p. 94