The author of "Postcard from Boonville" in ISSUE 03 and his thoughts on using poetry as an emotional release, rejecting power sources, and finding new wells of creative inspiration.
What are you reading these days? Do you love/hate/feel neutral about it, and why?
The new Rick Rubin book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, was a beautiful look at life and creativity, and Gilbert Sorrentino’s Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things was pointed, hilarious, and reminiscent of Milan Kundera (one of my favorites) in his effortless flips between narrative and meta musing.
Have you read a passage of writing that deeply shifts something inside you, if so, please share it with us?
In Joan Didion’s "Los Angeles Notebook” (from Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays), she weaves together the literary and human history of Los Angeles by the Santa Ana winds, speaking to the power of nature and timelessness of art and experience, with some beautifully sparse prose: “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”
When you are working on a piece, what inspirations do you draw from?
These days, I’m focused primarily on film, and I use poetry as an emotional and creative release. It usually comes from a life event, big emotion, or personal frustration, and sometimes I’m just shaking out the caffeine or avoiding another project.
What craft elements are you most interested in/attached to within your writing?
Poetic efficiency, to distill all the beauty and meaning into a single, well-placed phrase. I like to mess around with maximalism and just about any form, but I always return to Raymond Carver, my platonic ideal of raw simplicity and gentle abstraction.
Who/what are some of your writing obsessions, and why?
Since I was a child, I’ve had a stubborn anti-authority streak, and my work is littered with rejections of any and all power sources. I also struggle to understand my own creativity, both where it comes from and how to harness it sustainably, and my characters are often struggling artists. In poetry, love is my most common subject, as it’s the biggest emotion I wrangle on a regular basis.
What are some ways in which you remain productive/find time to be a writer?
Now that I wear more hats as a filmmaker, there are many productive, creative days where I don’t write a word. It almost makes writing more special, like I’m sneaking off to do what I really wanted all along. Which could be strategic self-delusion, and that might be the real answer: seizing any momentum, no matter the source, and riding it as long as I can.
Tell us what your writing space look like.
I have a standing desk near the window. At my feet, loud speakers and a pacing mutt. Behind, index cards tracking the priority and progress of all my projects— part organizational tool, part self-intimidation.
What are some ways in which you get through a block in your creative work?
After making an honest attempt, if I don’t have it that day, I move to an adjacent activity, like graphic design or editing, or find a new well of creative inspiration, most usually a film.
How do you navigate the experience of submissions/rejections/acceptances?
High hopes, no expectations, and a goldfish memory.
Regarding your piece in Issue 03, what does it mean for/to you?
One month into a relationship, I was away at a wedding and snuck off for a moment alone. I found an Adirondack chair, stared into the forest, and thought about my new love. An hour later, I sent her a postcard.
Do you have a recent publication/project you would like us to highlight?
I wrote and directed Composure, a short film about living with yourself. It was inspired by the isolation of quarantine and the healing power of creativity.
What is something you would like to share with other writers out there?
Write, and share your writing. We need more art in all its forms, to make sense of our world, add humor and beauty, and share experience.
Eric DePriester lives in Los Angeles. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, The 34th Parallel, and Five on the Fifth, among other publications. His feature film Treason was released in 2020, and his short film Composure in 2022.