Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:52 PM EST.books, arts, media, culture, poetry
This interview was conducted entirely through the mail with Rayala (R) and Noble Bandit (NB)
R: Let's talk about your decision to become a writer. How did it happen?
NB: It was immediately clear. Really, it was from one moment to the next. Several years ago, in my second week in Palm Springs, CA, I awoke from a long sleep in a penthouse I'd recently occupied. Out came "Seattle Romeo," "Cyborg," "Shirt Off," poem after poem, page after page like a flickering parade. I'd found my calling. But the events leading up to that day were much more important.
Days earlier, at a hotel whirlpool, I'd met a gentleman. I'm an easy mark for old people. He told me he had played for the Yankees but was not on the roster and that Charlie the Tuna, the mascot for Starkist Tuna, was named after him. He said he had to get to Vegas to see why his son was not a good steward. Why his son did not follow his instruction and place his bet on the Colts who won that year. A large bet. So I helped him move to Vegas.
In poor health and not doing well with his meals, we still managed to get on the road with everything he owned except his TV. He left that to the maid so I would have a place to sit up front. It was distressing and difficult, especially his night driving and chain smoking, but there was happiness, too. We were both survivors.
I left him in Vegas once we found a small efficiency apartment next door to his son.
Charlie made an impression on me. I rode the Greyhound back to Palm Springs and then slept for three days. All around, a turbulent journey from which there was no return. I was forever committed to poetry. Since then, I haven't felt a need to fulfill an imposed destiny, only a sense of direction to advance, evolve and create work.
R: Is it difficult for you to talk about or explain your writing?
NB: The structure of my writing is eclectic, adventurous. A mixture of fact and fiction and everything that is part of our condition. I fully immerse myself in my imagination. NB journeys to find meaning in a finite world. From his unique quests and conquests, he charges ahead and leaves his mark. And I must admit I find it exciting to write in a male voice. Some may disapprove and think it's impossible for a woman to write from within a mans viewpoint. Nonsense! And as I said, I enjoy doing it.
A writer should be curious about many things and then give direction to what he does. When I write, I look at the root of things. I plan the poem beforehand in detail. There is always a basic plan with margins for any better thoughts I may add.
To prepare, I'll search the Web, interview people, travel - all the things you might assume. I make handwritten notes usually with two ultra fine point Sharpie markers. Then it's pieced together. Structures and groupings are combined. If the first stanza doesn't continue, I start the second one and the third until all are complete.
In my earlier works, I was working in many different directions - looking for my voice, my style. Within Noble Bandit (I wrote in 2009) I was certain of having "found myself." Yes, I am a poet and nothing else.
Writing. It's a lonesome thing. There is a need for aloneness for a creative person; moments of privacy to make it all spark. cloudsandeclipses, as with any collection I write, represents the best my creative and imaginative powers had to offer. My duty to my fellow man.
R: Can you discuss the place of art in society, in your view?
NB: Artistry, creativity transforms people's lives. It should be available and knowable to everyone. Soon it will reach even more people and be more liberated using the new media that surrounds us. Creative individuals will make major decisions on how we shape our society. Artists have a ceaseless desire for new ideas.
R: What are you working on now?
NB: In the book which I am now writing, I aspire to create another openwork radiating in various directions. It will be called Blue Backgrounds, and will have the recurrent narrative element that infiltrates my other works. I am in a hurry to get it written and published. From my winter retreat, I will let the surroundings inspire me as well as the events. Once published, I'll love the opportunity to meet people at my signings. Perhaps the world will be even more friendlier. It will open up to me.