I was raised in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We lived in a place called McBride, British Columbia when I was quite young and ended up moving to the east side of the Rockies, to the little town of Jasper, Alberta in the early 80’s. Jasper is a resort town in a beautiful national park. It was an amazing place to grow up. When I was around 16 my family pulled up stakes and moved North to Grande Prairie, Alberta for more opportunities. It’s a growing city, amid a big agricultural region known as the “Peace Country”. It sure lives up to the name.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The sky. The sky here is amazing. We’re up on a high prairie and you can see sky from horizon to horizon. When I first moved here from the mountains, I felt exposed, but over the years the vast openness of the sky makes me feel free and alive. The city of Grande Prairie is just enough of what I want and what I don’t. I’m not sure I’d enjoy living anywhere bigger. It’s quiet and relatively remote, so there’s privacy and room to roam around. For me, I like that we’re close enough to the mountains that you can see them to the South-West on a clear day. I can be camping in the middle of nowhere after just an hour drive, which I like, but also, I’m only a 45-minute plane ride to the nearest international airport, and from there, anywhere in the world. One of the unique things about this part of the world is that it’s not on the way to anywhere, except Alaska. No one really ends up here by accident.
What turns you on creatively?
Well, I suppose that my creativity started out in the same place it does for a lot of young people, as an outlet for feelings that I couldn’t process any other way. Inadequacy, rebellion, exclusion, pain, trauma, loneliness… you know, the usual angst. I dealt with a lot of negativity in my upbringing and that spilled over into substance abuse problems when I was in my 20’s. I wrote through all of it, even the darkest days, and I published it all online later. These days, I think my creativity is driven by the dichotomy between the struggle of existence and the wonderment and curiosity that this world never ceases to inspire. The natural beauty and utter incomprehensible nature of the universe and reality. The complexity of our relationships, love, and fear, and disappointment, and who we are to each other. The rapid pace of technology and how it’s changing us as a species. The future and our place in it. I feel so fortunate that I get to experience this life, good and bad. I try to remain open and not let life get me too jaded to be inspired.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I honestly don’t think I have one. I think if I had to pick right this second, I’d say Bewildered, as it’s a state of confusion that is not necessarily negative.
Your words leave me bewildered, my thoughts unravelling, like a ball of string in a playful kitten’s paws. I strive to pull together some response, but I get lost in the tangles.
What is your pet peeve?
One of my favorite quotes is from the late, great George Carlin. He said, “I don’t have ‘pet peeves’, I have major, psychotic fucking hatreds!” In contrast, I strive not to hate anything, or anyone in this world. Hate is such a waste. If things or people annoy me, I always look to myself first. I might be missing something. I try to check my own shortcomings first. Sure, I get mad in traffic, or when things don’t work out like I planned, or when I’m tired and hungry and fed up with the world, but I don’t think there’s anything that really bothers me outside of my own closed mindedness. I suppose that’s something that bothers me about other people, too. A lack of imagination. A certainty that their point of view is correct, not allowing for any kind of nuance, or the existence of other ideas. Huh, I guess I do have pet peeves. Thanks for asking that.
What defines David J. Roussel?
This is a hard question. I haven’t really enjoyed being defined in life. Someone once told me, “To label something, is to limit something,” and I have always remembered that. I try to remain receptive to new ideas, to new ways of seeing the world. I try to do my best for those around me and be as genuine and forthright with my writing as I can be. I want my readers to share the experience, even if they only experience one word in a piece, or one piece in a thousand. That’s part of why I write so many pieces. Curiosity means a lot to me. Staying curious is a big part of what I want from my life. I want to be able to explore as much of the universe as I am able to and share as much of my exploration as I can. That’s why all my weekly upload posts end with “Come see.” I want others to stay curious as well.
I am a writer, of poetry, mainly. I have written a complete piece every day for the past 5 years. I publish new pieces to my WordPress blog - Hokus Grey every Saturday and Sunday. Over 2000 pieces of poetry have been published to date. I have no intention of stopping.