We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Jeff Flesch, a writer whose literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of January/February 2022.
What does it mean to be selected as Author of The Month?
Being selected as Author of the Month means that my writing has resonated with people; and, for me, there is no better feeling as a writer than to know that something I wrote touched someone in some way. It’s an amazing feeling, and one I am deeply grateful for.
How have your friends and/or family influenced your writing?
Everyone that’s been in my life, or is in my life currently, has influenced my writing, as each person has touched me in some way. I believe that we all inspire each other, and that this inspiration, whether it was many years ago, or yesterday, influences the ways that we write, and the things we write about.
What inspires you to write?
For a long time, I wasn’t fully expressed as a human being, which is not a demerit, it just is. Being fully expressed as a human being is important, as all human beings are creative. I believe that creativity is the output of inspiration, and that inspiration is everywhere we look when we are present to our surroundings. Whether the inspiration comes via a flower in your backyard, or the stars in the sky. Nature has a profound impact on me as a human being, and influences my writing profoundly.
What was your writing catalyst?
My intuition was and is my writing catalyst. I didn’t listen to my intuition for a long time, and so being connected to my heart today, is a transformative experience. I pay attention to what’s coming up for me as a human being, how I feel, and how those feelings connect to what I am experiencing in my environment. Every poem I write begins with an insight about how I feel in relation to my environment, or how I feel in relation to something that has happened to me in my life.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I write most every day, usually in the evening after work. Throughout the day, I pay attention to my surroundings, and then ideas for poems arise within me. I feel the words as they begin to come, and then write them down. Sometimes it’s a single line, and sometimes a few lines. I usually let those lines sit for a little while, and then come back to them later in the day, or a day or two later, and then the poem comes together, or sometimes it doesn’t. What matters most to me is listening to my intuition. How the words feel when they come. It’s so much fun.
What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
Being fully expressed as a human being makes writing an unmeasurably fulfilling experience. As human beings, we often hold onto the ideas and creativity we have within us, as we are fearful about what someone might think of what we have to say or write. This is normal, yet, when we get free of these self-imposed constraints, the world opens up to us from a creative perspective. The most interesting thing about this, is that when you are creative as a human being, and write about what inspires and moves you, it almost always resonates with someone else; and, this is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
I spend a lot of time finding pictures to go with my poems. Pictures that will resonate with the poem. Yet, I rarely write from a picture or an image. I am a highly visual person, which means that scenery is important to me. When I see something that inspires me, it will likely be the starting point for the further elaboration of a scene I want to portray in my poem. Imagery is powerful, and many readers have commented that they enjoy the pictures I select to accompany my poems. I think the combination of words and imagery does help to communicate the story I am telling.
What is your favorite reading genre?
Poetry, of course! I don’t read often today, as working, blogging, and writing fill my days. Yet, when I do sit down to read, I typically read poetry from the many excellent poets I know.
What human being has inspired you the most?
It’s impossible to pick one person that has inspired me most, as each person I know, and have known, has gifted me a piece of themselves, and has made me the person I am today. I honor each of them for their contribution to the person I am today, and send everyone I know, and have known, love for always being there for me.
What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?
From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderfully talented writers and readers, and I am eternally grateful to each of them for reading my work, and for voting for me. I am honored and humbled beyond words.
What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?
That, while I was here, I touched and inspired someone in some way; inspired someone to try something new, to know they are not alone, to know their feelings are valid, to know that being a human being on this planet is amazing and also very difficult, to know that they matter, and that their words matter.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to add to anyone who would like to write, yet are concerned that they might not be “successful” as a writer, or that their words don’t matter, that your words do matter; and, that you can write something that will touch and inspire another human being; and, to me, that is a great success. I started writing poetry 1.5 years ago, and since that time, I have grown immensely as a writer, and that is because I’ve been inspired by the many writing friends I know. If you want to write, write. Find an outlet, such as this amazing space at Spillwords Press, and submit a poem or story. If your poem or story isn’t accepted the first time, submit another one; and keep doing that. Don’t give up, keep going, keep writing, and keep submitting. Remember, failure is a part of succeeding. Anyone who has ever been successful in anything, has failed many, many more times than they have succeeded. It’s just how it works.
JAN/FEB 2022 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Jeff Flesch lives in Corvallis, Oregon, and was voted the 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month for January and February. He is also the Author of #1 Amazon New Release Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, is a Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and is also a monthly contributor to two online publications, MasticadoresIndia and MasticadoresUSA. You can read more of Jeff's poetry at Develop. Inspire. Transform, and on Twitter.