Spotlight On Writers
- Where, do you hail from?
I'm from Southeastern Ontario – Kingston, in particular, but I've also spent some years in small nearby towns. I lived most of my life in that area until I moved to Virginia 11 years ago. This is where my wife was raised, so it wasn't a completely crazy idea. It was a long adjustment, but I think I've settled in.
- What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The solitude. We live on top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The downside is we're somewhat isolated when the weather turns bitter, or when the fog rolls in for days. Mostly, though, this place soothes me like nowhere else I've ever lived.
- What turns you on creatively?
Storytellers. Listening to people talk about their lives. Falling into their vernacular, their pauses, their particular phrasings. I'm not talking about people who talk exclusively about themselves, but those who fill their sentences with color and images. A good storyteller will not rush. They know where they're going, they're familiar with the curves of their story. They enjoy the telling, especially to a receptive audience. Storytellers are tremendously inspiring to me.
- What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I like the word 'fresh'. It's simple but so evocative:
A fresh start, a fresh page, a fresh morning, a fresh strawberry. It's such a clean little word.
I rested my hand on her thigh and we watched the alfalfa fields shift in the wind, like feathers rising from a fresh stream.
- What is your pet peeve?
Rudeness, and a lack of humility. The dwindling supply of 'please' and 'thank you's. Why is it necessary to dismantle another person's character for the sake of being right? If I were right all the time, who would want to spend time with me? So I make it a point to occasionally be wrong. At least three times a day. Sometimes more.
- What defines Steven M Baird?
I guess, to simplify it, I'd say my quietness defines me. Sometimes the silence is misconstrued as indifference or arrogance, but quiet is its own thing. It's layers of thought and sputter. Writing can usually pull me out of whatever hollow place I fall into. I love a clean, perfect sentence. Sometimes I can write one. If I can be called a good husband and a good writer, in that order, then I don't need much else to define me.
He features short pieces and nature photography in his blog Ordinary Handsome.