I am a Canadian-born poet who lives in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with my wife. Elliot Lake is a small dying mining town of just over 10,000 people cut out of the Canadian Shield up deep in the Canadian wilderness. Bears walk down the streets and have to be scared back into the woods by bear bangers which the police shoot into the air just to give you an idea of how secluded it is. I was born about a five-hour drive south of here in Barrie, Ontario and also lived in Toronto and Kingston for many years. But I live up in the woods now which is nice and quiet and offers plenty of time to write.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The quiet and seclusion. There are no distractions up here. Nothing but hunters and fishermen and I don’t do either of those things. It’s so secluded from everything else that they opened a large drug rehab here and people from all the other provinces are sent here to be away from temptation. I have found this to be a great advantage to me. When I lived in the city there were so many distractions which was great for material, but all my time was eaten up by other endeavors. Living in Elliot Lake, I am afforded a certain distance from everything that both frees up time for writing and allows for a certain perspective that comes from being away from the things you write about and coming at them from different angles. That is the hope anyways.
What turns you on creatively?
Pretty much everything. I love music and believe it is the finest of all the arts because you can reach so many people on an emotive level. I don’t believe other art forms are able to do that as well as music across a whole spectrum of people regardless of age, nationality, creed, geography, gender etc. That said, I also enjoy film and really love fine art. I wish I was a curator at an art gallery; that would be my dream job. Whenever I can visit art galleries I do and spend as much time as I can with all those great works. Social media has also been a great influence on me in this respect. I have connected with so many talented writers, fine artists, editors, filmmakers, musicians…All doing their thing and that turns me on as well, to see everyone out there creating and doing it so well.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
That’s easy: Slapdash. Without a doubt. I have always loved that word. I adore its whimsical sound and always have. For me it is almost more important how a word sounds rather than what it says. A word should have a certain musicality to it. I guess I’m a sound junkie, and Slapdash is the Led Zeppelin of words.
What is your pet peeve?
People trying to tear each other down. Life is hard enough without others piling on. I much prefer to give someone a laugh and try to surround myself with like-minded people in that respect. To help where I can and give people space and understanding, hoping they give me the same. It is always best to be happy if you can.
What defines Ryan Quinn Flanagan?
I don’t know if anything defines me. There are parts of a person certainly: I am a Canadian, for example, but that hardly defines me. I often write about things that have nothing to do with Canada or being Canadian. Other times I do things that have nothing to do with writing. I guess if I could be defined by anything, I would like people to think of me as a good person. Kind-hearted and respectful and honest, I mean. Haha, now I sound like the stereotypical polite Canadian which is not supposed to define me.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, Horror Sleaze Trash, and The Oklahoma Review.