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Interview Q&A With Steve Pearson
We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Steve Pearson, a writer whose multiple literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of June 2017.
- You have been a published writer on Spillwords.com for the past year, in which you’ve been nominated over 5 times for Author of The Month, which is an accomplishment on its own. With that said what does it mean to be selected as June’s Author of The Month?
To quote myself, which I know is poor form but hey-ho: "A poem without an audience is like a flower without a garden." A poem, a story, an editorial piece, will never be anything more than just words unless people read them and appreciate them, appreciate the meaning, understand a message, agree with you, disagree with you, be inspired by you, or be bored by you, but certainly to breathe life-giving energy into this thing we bring into the world. So then, to receive recognition for this process even as a nominee in each category, for several months now, is a special thing. To then have people vote for you and your monthly body of work, such as to make me Author of The Month, truly is something I am proud of and grateful for.
- How have your hometown, family, and/or friends influenced your writing?
I have received wonderful support throughout my life in everything I do from family and friends. Every success I have springs from them because they define me. However, I am also a product of the area from whence I came and the beautiful county of Derbyshire where I live now. Manchester, in the north west of England has been my city for all of my life. Its excitement may be beyond my bones these days but I can still bathe in its glory, and everything I write, I do so with Manchester at my shoulder.
- What role do social or political affairs play in your writing?
I am a very political person. As a lifelong socialist, I believe that equality is an absolute right: equality of being, equality of purpose, equality of life. There will always be people who have more of everything, the wealth makers of society, than the people who have less. My issue is where obscene wealth is accrued at the expense of shocking poverty imposed by the state. I am a reactive writer and generally will be driven to write where I believe I have something to say. Which is where SpillWords comes in.
- What was your writing catalyst?
See question eight!
- Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
As I have said, I write poems to illustrate or shine a light upon an issue I care about, a thing I love or a person who inspires me to words. Once I decide to write, I seek out quiet as I find noise disrupting of flow and imagery. I think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. Sometimes directness has an impact whilst other times imagery feels right and I'll leave the reader to make of it what they will. Once I start, the poem will usually build quickly to a first draft, both in structure and style. If the poem is about a nascent issue I will sometimes release an unedited version in order to ride the zeitgeist. More usual, I will go through several revisions to refine the metre and tone, and to remove unnecessary words. However, I hate rules as an arcane constriction of words. If I feel an ignorance of form and metre serves the subject, then I will ignore them and be happy with my outcome. Then I release it to the wild.
- What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
Anne Frank said it better than I ever could. "I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."
- Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
Absolutely it does. Words are to the writer as light is to the photographer. Words are the basic building blocks of the pictures we produce. We draw with them, paint with them, chip away at granite with them, we use them to shape our worlds and to give form to people that may only exist in our heads. So if you're going to paint with words, why draw straight lines?
- What is your favorite reading genre?
You know, I don't have a favourite genre, I just read whatever takes my fancy. Instead, if you will forgive me an indulgence, I will give you my most precious reading memory. As a ten year old boy I watched Basil Rathbone's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on TV one day in, "The Hound of the Baskervilles." I loved it and wanted to be able to watch it again. Now in those days there weren't even video recorders to allow you to watch favourite things again. It was gone. I decided I was going to write my own stories and wrote of a wonder dog, called Rex (yes I know, surely every ten year old boy's dream). I continued writing, started to read many, many stories and indeed eventually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book of the same name as a young man, as well as others in the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes series.
- What human being has inspired you the most?
This is the easiest question for me to answer. Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration to me since my teens. The early socialist in me had a raging desire for social justice that was fuzzy and lacked real focus. I remember when I first read of his struggle for the freedom of South Africa from the oppression of apartheid. The ending of his speech at the Rivonia Trial of 1964 was quoted in the article and had a transformative impact on me.
"During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." Nelson Mandela - 20th April 1964
Years later I sat glued to my TV as I watched him walk as a "free" man in 1990 from Victor Verster Prison. The iconic images of Nelson Mandela I had become used to, bore little resemblance to the grey haired man who walked with Winnie Mandela into the spotlight of the world's media and yet, he strode not as a prisoner but as a statesman.
His insistently inclusive vision of a new South Africa wrestled a glorious rainbow nation out of the racially charged history and demise of apartheid. I truly believe Nelson Mandela to be the finest human ever to have lived.
- What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?
Thank you. You have given me the kind of gift that anyone who spends time dragging a pen around a sheet of paper surely wants. You have shown me that you have heard what I'm trying to say, that for you my words have a ring of truth, and you have shown me that I don't write alone.
- What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?
Oh goodness, I have never considered legacy. My aim has always been to contribute to the major issues of the day. Such issues are unfortunately issues for every age, such as the fight against poverty and its impact. I suppose that I would like to think I leave a body of work which muses upon the recurrent, important socio-political issues across time. Maybe I will add to the debate and maybe I won't. Ultimately, I will be happy for people to read my words and say, "you know what, he had a point."
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Make the most of each day and life will make the most out of you.