12/05/2013

An Interview with Jeremy A.R. Davis

I am delighted to share this recent interview with the very interesting Jeremy A.R. Davis. Jeremy and I welcome your questions and comments.

1) Could you share with us more about your background?

I come from quite an eclectic background to say the least.  My mother is from Guyana and my father is from Barbados. In my early years, my sister and I spent a lot of time traveling with my mother, a devout Seventh Day Adventist teacher and missionary, while my father, a wonderful man, but the definition of an 'Easy going Bajan', lived a life of 'no shoes, no shirt, no problem' and partied himself away from the warmth of my mother's affections. So my background was first shaped by the  juxtaposition of these two main characters in my life, and eventually by experiencing the various cultures and subsequent personalities I've had the pleasure of. My education was extensive. Naturally, being so inquisitive (malicious/ macocious/ nosy) , people assume that I'm extremely extroverted, and to a certain extent, I am gregarious, but growing up, I spent a lot of time in quiet introspection, and I still do, watching, thinking... and taking notes. Eventually I struck out on my own, as a traveler, and began to frequent places I've come to enjoy- for  inspiration, following in the proverbial 'footsteps' of my heros- namely Ernest Hemingway, to write. 

Ironically enough, after visiting a few times in the last couple years, Guyana has renewed my love interest in her and I plan on buying a farm there soon. 
 
2) How long have you been writing, and what inspired your collection, The Release?

To be honest, I'm not really sure when I started writing.  It could have been when I got expelled from school at then Caribbean Union College in Trinidad and had to attend my mother's Lit classes with her since babysitters were unheard of on our budget, and I caused too much trouble to be left alone (one day I tried to make roti. I was 8)-
I remember Dr. McGarrel, one of the professors asking me to read Chaucer and it was fun, so a few years later when I went to boarding school in New Jersey, I would lock myself away in the library and read from the greats, trying to sound, read, think... like them, and eventually trying to write like them. The Release is what happened because I was allowed to pretend I was a great writer. 
(I'd like to thank everyone, by the way, who heard my stuff and said it was good enough to put in a book. )
 
3) What is your writing process like?

My process is mad! I start writing and I don't stop till I'm finished.  I've had to quit jobs because I couldn't be bothered to show up for work, I was too deep in my flow. I get engulfed in the story.  I become the 'sexy Brown skinned girl with brown eyes' or the 'middle aged depressed man who has lost his son'. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy with all these voices in my head begging me to write their stories. Sometimes I break for food, but I always get annoyed when people interrupt me, and I find I work better at night, when I haven't eaten all day. 
 
4) Which writers have influenced your writing style the most?

People say Frost. I think I'm inclined to agree, but my work has a conversational, urban contemporary slant to it. To be honest, I read and research so much it's difficult to say much, but I'd like to think that my style is so unique I'll receive awards and accolades for crafting this new style :) perhaps this genre even.  Lol- we'll see how that goes!

 
5) You are the editor of the I-Am Poet Project. Could you tell us a little bit more about the project.

Yes! In the I-Am Poetry Project, which is slated to begin officially next year, I'm going to work with other writers to help build, promote and eventually publish younger writers and their crafts. 
Think of it as a mentoring program/literary journal for teens. The journal is going to be international in its scope.  I want to cover a wide range of themes from young people all over the globe to hear their views on the things that affect them.  You know, I think poetry, or any writing for that matter, is therapeutic. It's one of the things that caused me to maintain my sanity... and freedom over the years. That's why I'm compelled to it; for me, writing is life. This is another reason I do consult in schools as a Youth Trainer because I believe that I can show young people how to USE Creative writing to free their mind of all the negativity that is forced in there causing them to doubt. .. And realize their potential. 
 
6) What accomplishments are you most proud of so far?

I'm a harsh critic of myself. To be honest, I don't think I've done anything special yet.  I'm really aligning myself so that when the time comes, I wouldn't screw it up. So... I'll keep you updated on that :)
 
7) How do you achieve balance in juggling your many roles?

I'm learning proper time management and the importance of having a well organized, balanced life. 
My schedule has become so rigid, I schedule everything from 5 min. Naps to outings with my mother and I hate when people waste my time.  That's one of the things I don't like about church- is too longggggggg... But the Sabbath is the Lord's so I'm working on it.  Except when I'm writing- then I'm out of control.  I do nothing - not easy, no sleep. I just obsess, which is not good I'm sure. 
 
8) What else would you like readers to know about you?
I love hearing from them.  I think every writer needs feedback; it helps them- not only with research but you know, the life of a 'writer' can be a lonesome one. A lot of times, it's just you, and well you know... the voices! Sometimes it's nice to have that validation, that encouragement to keep going.  All writers eventually become detached from reality, at least once, I know I have.  I've alienated friends and you know... But it happens.  I want readers to know that I love to connect with them and the easiest way to do so is on my page: https://www.facebook.com/jeremyardavis
Or my website http://jeremyardavis.com

So, readers, there you have it. Note especially Jeremy's last response that he loves hearing from readers. Share your thoughts with him.

Thank you so much, Jeremy, for taking time to connect with us.

Stay tuned for more of Jeremy's poems and book giveaways during this month!

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