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We recently published Briana Cox’s The Hopeless Father’s Guide to Average Daughters in Issue 11 of Decades Review which you can check out here.

Briana, as our featured contributor of Issue 11, was kind enough to partake in an interview conducted by prose editor Jessica Schloss. Get to know Briana, her writing process, and the inspiration behind The Hopeless Father’s Guide to Average Daughters in the interview below.

Why do you write? Is writing just a hobby for you, or is it something you wish to pursue professionally?

I once told a man with a camera that I write to prove that I have emotions, and I utterly regretted it the second the sentence came out of my mouth and was committed to a memory card. Describing why I write is impossible in the sense that it’s rambling and full of uninformative “You know?”s, but I’ll try to explain with a bit more coherence here since I have text to sort out my thoughts.

My immediate thought is that I write because I have no choice. Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” It’s an incredibly accurate statement. Not writing just isn’t an option that’s available to me. A good 99% of the things I write will never see the light of day (and thank god for that, because most of it’s terrible—as every writer discovers about their work very quickly), but I write them because I feel compelled to say something for myself, not for other people. Sometimes it’s a story and sometimes it’s a single disconnected sentence, but I have to write it down either way. It’s like a photographer who sees potential pictures all around them to the point where it’s practically a subconscious cognitive process.

That’s where the “You know?”s come in. I’m sure people do know the difficult-to-explain feeling of permanence, of something being too ingrained to ignore—whether it be for writing or music or computer science.

I am a firm believer in the idea that one doesn’t have to “pursue” writing to be a writer. I hope to publish a volume or two one day, but I’m actually placing my academic focus on the sciences at the moment. Writing isn’t on the backburner, though, so I wouldn’t call a hobby. It’s right next to the rest of my goals for the future, mainly because I know that I’m not going to stop writing anytime soon, and I might as well not lie to myself and say biology is more important to me. I could never do any science again and be happy if I could still write—but I would be happiest if I could do both, and I don’t see why it’s an either/or situation.

 

How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?

“The Hopeless Father’s Guide to Average Daughters” in particular is actually fairly different from the majority of my work just in form. I generally don’t write in second person perspective, and most of my writings could be loosely classified as magic realism as opposed to the clear realism of the Guide. It’s similar, though, in regards to subject matter.

I’m one of those writers that focuses on relationships. Characters create the story not the other way around. I usually have no idea where a story is going to go when I start writing, just a strong idea for a character and a few vague situations they’d be in. The Guide is actually a perfect example of this, as it’s nothing but the characters of the father and daughter in a few vague situations.

One of my pet peeves is people focusing too much on our differences. Different race, different gender, different class, different age—different life that some other contrary group just can’t begin to understand. That idea is reflected in my writing: I focus on what makes us similar. The Guide focuses on a particular family with stories specific to them, for example, but it also focuses on the typical, the universal—not fully understanding your children, feeling like you’re always a step behind. I often find myself writing odd relationships, seemingly disparate people being brought together by realizing that they have something in common after all: passions, grievances, inspirations, loneliness. To go back to the first question for a moment, I would say that another reason I write is to feel close to other people, to spread the idea that difference does not automatically mandate conflict or guilt.

Is this a part of a bigger piece? You mentioned a different guide at the bottom. Is that something you’re planning to do/already working on? 

It was ultimately an experiment in voice and form, as I haven’t written in second person POV or changed up the creative format of my writing all that often. I’ve always found second person an interesting perspective capable of creating a strong connection—even stronger than first person—if done well, but the problem is that it’s incredibly odd and difficult to do well. I do hope that I’ve made some progress in working within that perspective with the piece I submitted.

This was intended to be a stand-alone piece for that experiment, albeit a much longer one. Originally, I had around fifteen categories that I wanted to write (Affection, Willing Displays of; and Clothing, Inappropriate among them), but I didn’t want the piece to overstay its welcome and picked what I thought would be the most effective scenes to focus on, with imagery I particularly liked. I do often return to old work and most likely will return to this one to continue the guide or move on to the next, but at the moment it’s not my priority.

What are you presently inspired by—things you are reading, listening to, or looking at to fuel your work?

For the last year, I’ve been trying to read more magical realism since that’s one of the genres I think is the most interesting and the one I work in the most. The two most recent books—both short story collections—I’ve read in that vein are The View from the Seventh Layer and 20th Century Ghosts. I highly recommend both of them, and reading them has helped me define my own voice in the genre. Pop Art from 20th Century Ghosts I thought was beautiful in particular. It’s really the height of magical realism story telling in my mind right now. Read it now.

On a more general note, two of my consistent inspirations are Spoon River Anthology and the Ben Folds/Nick Hornby album Lonely Avenue. Spoon River tells the story of a small town through poetry from the perspectives of the dead, and it’s an amazing web of world building and complex character interactions. Lonely Avenue is full of songs written by a novelist, so it makes sense that I would love it. Nick Hornby’s got the art of the character vignette down pact.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively since you first began writing?

My first attempt at a story was a shameless rip-off of the Golden Compass, which is not a book capable of being copied without others spotting the imitation immediately. As that story shows, I was much more fantasy-oriented in the past, but I’ve gradually been shifting toward the more realistic. I became less concerned with worlds and plot and more concerned with people and interactions.

Other than the basic content of my work, I felt that I’ve always struggled between intricacy and simplicity in language. I don’t fully know what my voice as a writer is quite yet, but I like to think that I have a more concrete idea—tending toward the short and lyrical as opposed to the more purple language, which can be beautiful, just not when I write it.

What is the hardest part about writing?

For me, the first sentence is the most difficult part of any piece. I’m under the impression that the very first sentence should say something about the story as a whole, provide some kind of insight into what will happen once you turn the page. It’s difficult because even if I have a full story in my head, or at least the potentials of a full story, I can’t write any other scenes until I get the “perfect” first sentence. It takes quite a while to write a complete, edited story. A good 90% of the time it takes is dedicatedly solely to writing first sentence after first sentence until I find one that sparks.

I often joke that I should just switch to prose poetry because it’s all the parts that I want to write and none of the parts I don’t. With fiction, there’s a challenge to write chronologically because of that. Chronological writing entails not skipping to something “more interesting,” which is how I have to write a story that I intend to finish because otherwise it would just be an incomplete draft full of disjointed scenes with pretty imagery. I think this is perfectly fine for casual writing—the minor kind you crank out just to write something that day—but it can be an issue for more serious pieces.

I guess I can boil those down to: the hardest part about writing is actually writing, writing all the way to the end with the beginning and middle filled out too. Of course, this is just me. Every writer has their own idiosyncrasies that often make the act seem impossible and rituals that they think will make their work better.

What is the easiest part of writing?

I don’t think any one aspect of writing can be considered easy. “Easy reading is hard writing” after all. I would say the easiness of writing depends more upon the situation than the writing itself. There are times when inspiration strikes, when the perfect strings of words seem to come with no effort at all and there are pages and pages of them. Those are the easiest moments—the most enjoyable, and the most productive, and the most uncommon.

I mentioned before that prolific writers are similar to prolific photographers in that they see their work in everything. Words come easily—words inspired by conversations you hear and the environment around you—but you have to find a way to put them together into something coherent. I make writing sound unpleasant here, that those sparks of inspirations are the only pleasant things, but creating a world and characters is enjoyable in of itself, even if it isn’t “easy” in every sense of the word.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

I’m not a fan of giving advice about writing—it implies that I know way more about it than I actually do and that my methods are some universal rule that will work for everyone involved. I don’t believe that’s the case, but I’ll try to give advice from my personal experience and hope it helps.

Three things: write, do what you can to improve, and write for yourself.

The first bit is obvious but the one I think is most important. To be a writer you actually have to write things. If you want to be a good writer you have to write things a lot. As I’ve previously stated, I (and every other person who fancies themself an author) generate mostly drivel. And that is fine, because writing is a progressive action—the more you do it the better you become. The drivel is practice, and practice will eventually lead to something as close to perfect as you can personally get.

The second point ties into the first: work to improve. The thing all writers have in common, to me, is that they’re never as good as they’ll be in the future. I’m sure there are people in the world who are aspiring writers but who just have no eye for it. They can improve, but they’ll never be “good.” But I feel that most of them are good. Just not as good as they can be, with more practice and experience under their belt. So don’t stagnate—do what you can to consistently improve. Join a club, get a mentor. Constructive criticism is your best friend, because it makes you better in the long run.

Lastly, you have to write for you. I’m not talking about vanity projects and ego-fests that smack of self-indulgence. I’m referring to the basic integrity. I am writing to please an audience—a boring story is a boring story no matter the integrity behind it, and that should be avoided. But I’m writing, first and foremost, because that’s what I want to do. During the process of writing, it belongs to you and no one else. It’s yours for that entire time up to the point where you hand it to someone and it becomes theirs. But it was yours first. I suppose it’s one of those “journey is more significant than the destination” scenarios.

Where can people see more of your work?

I’m relatively new to the world of published literature (so read: nowhere), but I do plan on sending out more of my work to multiple literary journals this year. So people will just have to keep an eye out in the future if they’re interested.

Here’s a big thanks to Briana and all of our Issue 11 contributors!
Paige E. & Jessica S.
Decades Review

For the January 2014 issue of Decades Review  we thought we would kick the new year off with a bang by featuring our very first novel excerpt from an insanely talented author, Scott Burr. The 10th issue of DR is packed with jaw-dropping poetry and art as well, but as the author of our first acceptance of an excerpted piece we couldn’t not name Scott as our featured contributor of the winter issue. If you haven’t spent some quality time with the latest issue of DR and read Scott’s excerpt from his novel, My Girlfriend Wants a Dog, you can check it out here.

Scott was kind enough to agree to an interview with Decades Review and give us and our readers an opportunity to gain a little insight into who he is, why he writes, and what he hopes to achieve through the written word.

Decades Review: Why do you write?
Scott Burr: I wrote a novel a couple of years ago called I AWOKE IN A HOUSE AFIRE. I sometimes describe it to people as GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, if GULLIVER’S TRAVELS had been written by Franz Kafka (and yes I have read AMERIKA, which you could argue is Kafka’s GULLIVER’S TRAVELS). The protagonist, Rousseau, endures a series of misadventures and becomes involved with a series of groups and individuals, each espousing a different religious or political or existential ideology which Rousseau, in a near-constant state of shock, adopts in an ongoing effort to discover a coherent and comforting meaning behind the bizarre horrors he has experienced and witnessed. Eventually, however, these ideologies’ failure overwhelms him, and he is forced to conclude that there is no explanation: that life is an unintelligible and terminal circumstance which can be endured but never understood.

I think the answer to this question (Why do I write?) is in there, someplace. To me the world is a very bizarre place. We don’t really know what we’re doing here; we don’t know where “here” even is; we don’t know what anything means, in the final eternal reckoning, and yet we live our lives as though everything makes perfect sense, as though the various constructed parameters we encounter have some inherent weight and Truth.

I wrote another novel before I wrote I AWOKE IN A HOUSE AFIRE called NU. (Which, in a variety of languages I- was referring to the French, but it’s the same in others – means “naked” or “nude”). The thesis of that book is: “the naked world, divested of illusions and lights, occurring in tragic singularity, [comprises] a cabinet d’horreur in which all order [have] been abolished and all exits [have] been sealed.” That one hit the nail on the head pretty well, too, though it was probably about fifty percent essay and fifty percent narrative (I was reading a lot of Kundera at the time). The idea was to really dig into the apparatus of subjective signification: the way our meaning-making brains define things, and sometimes define them incorrectly, as shown when events unfold in such a way as to reveal our mistake.

It’s an interesting subject to write about, because it’s tied to the narrative impulse itself: we encounter an event, we don’t understand it, we feel anxious over it until we are able to construct a narrative around it (cause and effect) and place it into a meaningful progress. At one point in NU I talk about the live news footage from 9/11: how the initial interviews with people on the street were all imbued with a palpable horror that this thing did not make any sense. Later we learned the story, learned the culprit, etc., and we all felt better because now it made sense. It was still horrific, but we could all get a handle on it.

The desperate compulsion to create narrative out of the absurd and the horrible is a much bigger topic, and one I guess I should probably leave for another venue, but it is central to my answer. I wrote another story in which a character suddenly perceives his life, with its intricate interwoven strands of signification, as a spider’s web blown out of its frame and floating on nothing. That’s life, to me. We all do our lives, and everything hangs together, but none of it is resting on anything inherent. Things are what they are only because we say they are those things, and that fills me with a mind-numbing and awesome existential horror.

Or maybe let me put it like this. I think about primitive man, clustered together in the dark in some cave somewhere. I think how some of them, tiptoeing on the first thin strands of self-consciousness, must have understand the awesome horror of their condition (their own smallness, the fact of their own mortality, etc.) and felt compelled to shout at heaven and ask for a sign, ask for someone who knows to tell them what things mean. The rest were probably willing to sit around and look at each other and argue over who gets the shiniest rock.

I’m descended of the former. These books are me yelling.

DR: Is writing just a hobby for you, or is it something you wish to pursue professionally?
SB: Yes, I am pursuing this professionally. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-one. I’m thirty-one now. Every morning between then and now has been a pot of coffee and whatever I’m working on. This is ten years-worth of trying. It’s one long trust exercise.

DR: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
SB: I like to explore the confrontation between subjective reality and broader (shared) reality, or between subjective truth and objective truth (or lack thereof; what might be called objective reticence). I like those moments where people are confronted by not only their own smallness but also the smallness of their own thoughts: those Flannery O’Connor moments where a self-assured and self-centered and self-righteous character gets smacked upside the head by the realization that they don’t really know what’s going on, that things aren’t the way they’ve been telling themselves things are, that life is not subject to their personal assessment. That their version of the truth doesn’t resonate with anything beyond their own delusional assertion that this is the way things are.

DR: Tell us a little about the novel that this excerpt is from.
SB: This novel is a bit of a departure for me, actually. It’s pretty straightforward, compared to some of the other stuff I’ve written. It still touches on the gap between subjective and objective truth (David thinks of himself in a certain way, and spends pretty much the entire novel being slowly and painfully brought around to reality), but I decided after writing a number of novels that I couldn’t manage to sell and couldn’t figure out how to pitch that it was time to write something topical and culturally relevant and (hopefully) salable.

There’s a great Frank Turner song that has the line, “All my friends are getting married, mortgages and pension plans.” That’s where I am now, and where David is. When David talks about going on Facebook and seeing nothing but baby pictures and engagement announcements, that’s me. All of my friends are adults now and here I am, still living pretty much the same life I was living at twenty-three. I don’t want to buy a house and I don’t want to get a nine-to-five job, but I feel like sooner or later I’m just going to become that. I’m going to become what I’m surrounded by. So some of the time I feel like writing is never going to happen, and I’m still holding onto a youthful delusion (that one day I’m going to be a big famous writer), a delusion I should have given up on five years ago, and I think I ought to just let myself become what life is sort of pushing me to become, another small-town Ohio thirty-something with a kid and a mortgage. So instead of actually making a decision about which path to take going forward, I write about David and I let him work through it for me.

David is dumber about it than I am (at least I hope he is), and he’s less aware of his own emotions, and this leads him to make self-sabotaging decisions, which I think makes him more interesting than me, but the basic apparatus of his life is pretty much the same as mine.

DR: What are you presently inspired by—things you are reading, listening to, or looking at to fuel your work?
SB: I just read two books by Mircea Eliade, YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH (which was made into seriously underrated film by Francis Ford Coppola) and THE MYTH OF THE ETERNAL RETURN. Those were both really interesting. I also recently read THE CROSSING, the second book in Cormac McCarthy’s border trilogy. Cormac McCarthy is the king of subjective reality intersecting with another shared reality: characters stumble into worlds they don’t understand, worlds that they didn’t even know existed, and that now immediately have absolute dominion over them, to the point of death and torture and heartbreak and all kinds of unpleasantness. Similarly I recently really enjoyed Cormac McCarthy’s movie THE COUNSELOR which people didn’t seem to like but which I think people just found difficult, and mistook “difficult” for “bad.” That movie has one of the most incredible final moments – the most incredible revelations of that confrontation between one reality and another. I had to sit there and collect myself after that movie was over. Most movies don’t hit me like that. Before THE CROSSING I read Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOOD SQUAD, which really did a beautiful job of talking about something I’m trying to talk about in the novel this piece is excerpted from: namely the confrontation between one’s youthful certainty of fantastic artistic success and one’s eventual middle-aged disappointment (and not just that, but the realization that the dream life you though you would be living doesn’t actually exist, that even the people who appear to be living that life are slogging their way through it, that adult life is a grind…). I’ve also been watching the Zatoichi movies (a series of Japanese films about a blind swordsman) and I just read one of Don Pendleton’s EXECUTIONER novels… I think one of the biggest misconceptions I had about writing when I was younger was that art/poetics was more important than story. I never learned how to put something on the stove to boil and then leave the room. In all the writing classes I took no one ever told me: “This is how you get the reader to turn from page one to page two. Set the carpet on fire and leave. They’re going to keep reading, because that’s a 1) unresolved and 2) rapidly deteriorating situation.” These pulp novels and movies are great for teaching this. They’re ham-fisted about it, but they know how to throw things up in the air. They know you will turn the page to see where those things come down. The Coen brothers’ new movie INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS has a great example of this. In pretty much the first scene Llewyn Davis accidentally lets his friends’ cat out and locks himself out of their apartment. He’s got to carry the cat around for the rest of the day. Of course you’re going to keep watching, because the world is out of balance. Things have to be put back in order. One of the things I really tried to do in this novel is strike a balance between the mundane and the dramatic: part of the point is that David’s life is not interesting, or exciting, or anything like he thought it would be. That’s one of the core issues of the book. David thought he was going to be a big deal, and he isn’t. But how do you write a book about someone whose life is mundane, and have it not be a totally mundane book? The cat getting out of the apartment accomplishes that brilliantly.

DR: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively since you first began writing?
SB: When I started writing I thought I was an artist. I thought I had a special voice that deserved to be heard. I had that notion pretty much bludgeoned out of me by a decade of failure. It was good. It really needed to happen. I realized at some point that I, and I think a lot of people of my generation, were told way too often that we were snowflakes, and special, and that our specialness was really important, and that it had some kind of value. So what we ended up with is a lot of kids who wanted to be rock stars as soon as they picked up an instrument, who only “got inspired” by writing their own songs. They thought they can skip the years and years it takes to become a competent craftsperson or performer, or whatever. I finally realized that Picasso and Monet and Hemingway became what they became out of a state of competence. It was only through thorough experience with what WAS that they were able to manifest something radical, what we call ART.

That’s probably the biggest thing that’s changed for me. I used to talk about art, and think I was making art, but I didn’t know what art was. I wouldn’t have been able to define it. Now I know what art is. Art is a challenge against previous parameters. But you have to be knowledgeable about what is and possess the skills to enact the challenge before you can even think about creating art. The way I think about it is: artists grow out of artisans. A craftsperson that adroitly practices their craft is a craftsperson. A craftsperson who attempts something radical, who sees a way to do something that hasn’t been done before, is an artist.

I feel like I grew up in a generation who felt that people simply were or weren’t artistic. The sad thing is that now “artistic” is almost synonymous with flakey and undisciplined, while the truth is that real art only comes through years and years of tremendous discipline.

But then, I use the word “art” pretty sparingly. A lot of people call a lot of bullshit “art” and nobody seems to complain.

DR: What is the hardest part about writing a novel?
SB: Art is progressive. If it isn’t progressive, then it’s just repetition of what has been done before. Progress happens at the boundaries. Your job is to push out the limits of where you’re comfortable. That’s not an easy thing. Somebody recently said to me, “The thing nobody ever mentions, when they tell you to get outside your comfort zone, is that it’s going to be uncomfortable.” That’s the thing: art should be uncomfortable. Art is a decision to live in discomfort.

DR: What is the easiest part of writing a novel?
SB: In the grand scheme of things writing is easy. Spending your life pouring your time and energy into bullshit is hard. Working a job you hate is hard. Paying off credit card debt you accrued buying some stuff you were told you were supposed to want is hard. Walking around looking for people to tell you how to live your life, and then doing what they say, is hard. Writing is easy. Writing is bliss.

DR: How are you planning to publish this book when it’s finished?
SB: I’ve got a list of agents who have shown interest in other stuff I’ve written. I’m going to see if any of them want to represent this novel. If they do, then hopefully they can place it somewhere. If they don’t I may not publish it, or I may make it available through Amazon’s print-on-demand subsidiary and as an eBook through Nook and Kindle. We’ll see how it goes.

DR: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
SB: If you want to be a writer, then write. You have to write a lot. If you’re an undergraduate who thinks they want to be a writer, let me tell you what someone should have told me: you’re not good. Really. You’re just not. You may be undergraduate good, but you’re not good good. This is not a terminal or a permanent condition. You’re going to have to write a lot before you’re any good. Right now you don’t even know what you don’t know about writing.

This is not a popular opinion, but I also think writer’s workshops are pretty much a waste of time. When your car doesn’t run, do you take it to a bunch of your peers, none of whom know anything about cars (besides maybe how to drive one, and when to get an oil change), and ask them how to fix it? Absolutely not. Writer’s workshops are an invention of writing teachers who don’t know how to teach writing because they don’t know how to write (if they were any good at writing, they wouldn’t have to teach).

Also, read a lot. Read a variety of writers. Watch movies. Watch TV shows. Watch anything that has to do with narrative. It will all help you. Good movies will help. Bad movies will help. Your job is to explore this vast country called “storytelling.” Go out there and see as much of it as you possibly can, the nice parts and the crappy parts.

DR: Where can people see more of your work?
SB: A few years ago I decided to make all of my books available through Amazon’s print-on-demand subsidiary. At the time I figured they weren’t earning me any money sitting in on my hard drive, and that if for some reason one of them became a big hit I would get a much better percentage of the cover price than if it had been published by a traditional publisher.

I published them under as series of different pen names. At the time I thought it would make the whole endeavor seem more legitimate, since people tend to (often rightfully) dismiss anything self-published sight unseen. If I set up an imprint with a bunch of authors it would look legit, right?

Looking back on it now it seems a little silly, but it’s already set up that way and I’m not going to go through the effort of undoing it. So the bulk of what I’ve written (the better stuff, at least: nine novels and one collection of short stories) is available (in print and eBook format) at www.theartlessdodgespress.com. And, like I said, I wrote all of it. Don’t be thrown by the different names. I wrote it all, including the dust jacket blurbs.

DR: Final thoughts, last words?
SB: I want to thank everyone at the Decades Review for giving me this opportunity. I truly, truly appreciate it.

Paige Edenfield, Editor
Decades Review

On October 1st, 2013 Decades Review released our 2 year anniversary issue! As editors and writers, you think we would be able to describe everything we’re feeling with this special issue release but there are no words. We are forever grateful to our contributors for making all of this possible. You can check out Issue 9 of DR here.

The first thing you’ll see after following the “Continue Reading” link is our beautiful black & white cover photo entitled “You’ll Never See My Face,” by Nilofer Neubert. We are proud to display such a wonderful shot as the cover of our October 2013 issue and would love for you to get to know this talented photographer.

We’ve been waiting to brag on her for weeks!  Now it’s your chance to get to know Nilofer, who was kind enough to spare a moment of her time for the interview posted below.

DR: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
Nilofer Neubert: I like to capture details that capture my eye. Sometimes this can be nature, sometimes it can be people, and sometimes it’s landmarks.

 DR: What type of camera(s)/gear do you use?
 NN: Olympus Pen Lite 3.

DR: Is photography a hobby of yours or something you are pursuing professionally? What does photography mean to you?
NN: Photography is a hobby of mine. This started when I wanted to capture moments whenever I went for music gigs. I then explored other subjects to capture. I also love using photographs as a prompt for writing poetry or short stories. When I travel to new cities, I have a camera with me most of the time, looking for unique shots to capture. The result is usually a real-life picture story of my travels that I couldn’t find the words for. I use photography as a way of training myself to keep an eye out for the tiny details in every day life. I think that this process makes me a better poet/writer.

DR: What are you presently inspired by—are there things you are reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
NN: These days I find myself reading the various literature magazines that are available for free on the Internet. The amount of talent that is out there is amazing. If I find a poem or story I really love, I print it out, paste it in my journal and then try to find other poems by the same poet/writer or buy the artist’s book. Sometimes, lit magazines have art/photography in them as well and I love these magazines even more because I have an interest in photography as well. Though I can’t draw or paint to save my life, I appreciate painting, drawings, murals and collages as well. Music also inspires me. Going for gigs is a huge part of my photography; I love to capture portraits of band members when they are performing. I love trying to capture their energy. (I use the word trying, mainly because high level energy bands are always challenging to capture!) 

DR: Is there something you are currently working on that you’re excited about that you would like to share?
I am the Editor of Prosaic Magazine. It’s an arts and literary magazine that aims to bring both words and graphics together. We also showcase artists and recommend various forms of art for artists. We also have columns to do with the various issues regarding art topics. Currently, I am working on my first poetry collection. So that’s really exciting and challenging at the same time.

DR: Do you have a motto or word of advice you would like to share with other budding photographers?
NN: I do not think that I am the best person to ask for advice as I am not a professional photographer. However, in my opinion, I think that when you want to capture good photographs, it is important to go with what you want to capture rather than what others want you to capture. I do not think that I would ever do a paid photo shoot mainly because photography is a hobby for me. If I turn it into my source of income, I don’t think I would capture the same kind of photographs as I do now. At the moment, I am capturing scenes that are special to me. So if you want to pursue photography, I think the first question you should ask yourself is “Who do I want to take photos for? Others so that they can look back on good memories (wedding, event, portrait photography)? Or for myself?” Once you know the answer to these questions, I think you’ll be able to figure out what photography means to you. 

One thing I have learned though is that there needs to be a balance. Sometimes I want to just live in the moment rather than capture the moment. Sometimes when I am armed with my camera, I feel that it enhances the moment. In this day and age when snapping a photo is really simple because we have the technology to do so, I think that it is important to take a step back and actually think about the issue of capturing the moment vs being in the moment. Do you want to hold on to a camera waiting for your child to take his/her first steps or would you rather have your hands free so that you can catch him/her when he/she falls? Do you want to head bang at a rock concert or would you rather capture the band’s energy? There is no right or wrong answer. However, in my opinion, thinking about these questions will help you to decide between living in the moment, capturing the moment and doing both at the same time.

DR: Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
NN: Not at moment.

DR: Where can people see more of your work?
NN: 
http://blackvspurple.com or http://eyesofblackvspurple.tumblr.com

Cove Artist Nilofer Neubert

Cove Artist Nilofer Neubert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue 9 is full of work that is both normal and abnormal, blissful and miserable, bright and dark. Give the current issue a read and get a taste of what all of our talented contributors have to offer.

Thanks to:

Poetry Contributors: Noel Quiñones, Scott Wiggerman, Patrick Venturella, Denny Marshall, Matthew Williams, MM Whittle, Joan McNerney, Danielle Susi.

Prose Contributors: Scott Burr and Liz Purvis.

Photographers: Carman Manu, Rebecca Wilder, Christina Jones, Emily Eason, Pat St. Pierre, Glenda York, Nilofer Neubert.

Artists: Clinton Inman and Nick Stevens.

Thank you to all who submitted for Issue 9. Don’t forget in all the excitement that we’re now reading for Issue 10. Please send submissions to: decadesreview@gmail.com

We can’t wait to see what you in store for us next!

Paige Edenfield, Poetry Editor
Decades Review