Interview | Jeremy Nathan Marks: Poetry Contributor, Pushcart Nominee
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 the way I want (and choose) to live in the world. By this I mean, I want to live and work in a way that allows me to utilize my imagination, emotions, conscience/consciousness and also my problem solving abilities. To me, the creative life is fundamentally the human life because it allows for improvisation, flexibility and for discovery, hallmarks of the human experience in history. I also feel that by living creatively, I have the opportunity to relate to my world in an authentic, humble and moral way because my heart and mind are allowed to work in unison. I see creativity, sustainability and meaningful work all intimately interwoven and I see how these are also immersed in friendship and the bonds of family and community.
How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?
My muse has long been the natural world, music and, funny enough, politics. I started when I was very young but did not fully commit myself until I was in my thirties (long story). But I remember being positively floored by the music of Bob Dylan -his words especially- when I was 14. That clued me in to my need to be a poet and a writer.
What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?
My most memorable experience is really a series of moments of intense inspiration when I feel that not only am I connecting to a place, a piece of music, a painting, a person, a memory or an idea; but these experiences are also the feeling itself and the experience of a recurring visit from the Muse. Part of the intensity is the feeling of obligation that these “visits” engender in me. I know well that sensation of having something that I need to say and feeling the duty to say it (this is what frequently brings about my poetry). These are moments I live for. (I should note, though, that I also will make myself write and not wait for inspiration and that works, too.)
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 take long walks; I listen to music; I meditate; I watch my daughter at play (and play with her); I bird watch; I observe animals generally; I pull books down from my shelves and open to ideas or questions that intrigue me. I don’t know that I have any superstitions, per se. I suppose my quirk is that if a piece of music inspires me, I will play it over and over again to maintain mood and to keep my thoughts moving. Sometimes this might involve a particular movement, riff or segment of a piece that can be as little as 10 seconds in length. I will repeat it dozen of times, if the spirit moves me.
Time, Tips, & Future Goals
How do you make time to do what you love to do?
I learned that any time -5 minutes even- is valuable and so I try and seize any opportunity that I can. I also try and schedule time into my week to write. But writing does not mean that I have to sit for two or three hours and write (it took me time to realize this). If I have twenty minutes to write I try and take full advantage of that opportunity. I will use lunch breaks or if I am in the car waiting for my wife to come out of an appointment; I use those moments, too.
What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?
I am sure that what I am about to say has been said often, but do not allow yourself to get discouraged or to think that your work does not matter. Rejections are an integral part of being a writer and just because something is rejected does not mean that it is not of quality. Rejections are not a referendum on the value of your chosen path as a writer. If you are persistent and are open-minded, these traits really do pay off. I would also say that it is best to share your work with those whom you trust. One story that has stayed with me is that of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who said that he wrote his first novel knowing fully well that there was a distinct possibility that no one would ever read a word of it. He believe so strongly in the necessity of getting his words down and putting his truth on paper that he persevered. To me, this is the essence of committing oneself to the writing life and, more importantly, to committing oneself to life itself.
What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?
In five years I would like to see my first novel published (while working on my second) along with my first poetry collection. I also would like to see writing playing a preponderant role in my working life.
TWD MAGAZINE 3RD COLLECTION
Jeremy Nathan Marks is an American writer living in London, Ontario. His poetry has appeared or is appearing in places like Chiron Review, Muddy River, Lake, Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Hopper, Eunoia Review, The Wild Word, Nomadic, Jewish Literary Journal, Electric Windmill Press, Ariel Chart, The Blue Nib and I-70 Review. He has been nominated for the Best of the Net Award and is one of the winners of Poetry London’s 2015 Poetry Contest.
Read Jeremy’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection
“Scenes From My Father’s Rhode Island” — p. 12
“North Providence Deli” — p. 16
“Ladies Auxiliary” — p. 57