I am beyond thrilled to have had the opportunity to catch up with Punk Poet Scott Laudati. Scott\’s books Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair and Play the Devil are both available on Amazon. Now, let\’s see what Scott has to say on a number of different subjects – shall we?!
RMMW: As a published author/poet — what advice would you give to emerging poets?
SL: Write all the time in the beginning. Don’t bother showing your friends or your boyfriend/girlfriend your writing because they won’t get it and they won’t care and it’ll only discourage you. Once you’re happy with your words start submitting to every website you can find. Do it while you’re sitting on the couch watching Game Of Thrones. If the poems are good someone out there will want them. There’s a publisher for everyone. You just have to find each other.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before you start a new writing project? if yes what?
SL: I usually just put it off as long as I can until it literally hurts. If something starts cooking I’ll procrastinate until it begins to make me angry. I usually write in marathon sessions of, like, 18 straight hours. You need to have a lot of hate in your heart to fight for 18 hours. Anger is a fuel and so far it’s the only thing that has worked for me.
RMMW: What do you use to write: pen, paper, typewriter or computer and why?
SL: I usually do early drafts on a typewriter. It’s my grandfather’s old Underwood and I got it when he died. He never supported anything I did and when he died I found out he thought I was a complete loser and destined to be a bum. It was a really dark moment of my life because he was someone I really respected and wanted to like me. He didn’t even give me the typewriter, my aunt thought I’d get the most use out of it. So now, when I have a great idea, I type it on the Underwood and I think of him. It’s kind of a payback to him. Like, “see, I’m not a total idiot”.
RMMW: Do you remember the exact moment you knew, you had to write?
SL: It was 2001 and New York was still New York and I was interning at a record label. The owners of the label were signing a band (that went on to win a Grammy as .fun) and we were at an all night diner somewhere in the LES. A guy in the band had this beautiful sister who was probably 5 years older than me. She and I weren’t important so they stuck us at the end of the table. I fell in love with her in about 2 minutes. She told me she wanted to be a writer so I decided right then that I had to be a writer if I was ever going to get her to go out with me. We never went out and she quit writing and became a famous fashion designer.
RMMW: What are you reading now? and why?
SL: Endless books on Mexican drug cartels, NAFTA, and heroin in the US. Charles Bowden was the premier writer on the subject. I became obsessed with these things because all my friends were dying and going to jail because of heroin/oxys. I started to wonder why? Where did all of this heroin suddenly come from? I found the answers but we could have a whole other interview on that. What really matters is that my little cousins od’d. This amazing kid who was hilarious and so young. And I thought about these drugs that were grown in some dirt in Mexico and then transported up by a cartel and then brought over the border by the CIA and then shipped to New Jersey in an 18-wheeler while cops were paid off to look the other way and politicians were paid off to never do anything about it and it landed in my little cousin who never had a legal drink in his life and now never will. It was this crazy sobering moment of “wow, we’re all involved in this ‘thing’”, and then, “wow, we’re all doomed”.
SL: No way. Poverty, struggling, being tired, hating your job, having a boss you have to pretend to not want to kill every day- that stuff doesn’t make you a better poet. A good nights sleep does. A full stomach does. It’s paralyzing when you walk home after roofing, or doing hospitality all day and the thing going through your head is “is this really what my life is going to be like?”. PR people invent stories of rags to riches. The real working class are too tired after a shift to write down their thoughts. I barely have enough energy when I’m done to call my girlfriend.
RMMW: Have you ever read a bad review of your work? if yes, how did you handle the rejection?
SL: Yes I’ve had a bad review. It was written by a woman
named Ashley for a punk magazine. Here’s an excerpt: He does not sing the body electric but rather passively bemoans his failed encounters with the opposite sex. He does not measure his life out in coffee spoons but rather in lines of coke.
I thought it was lame. I think the person who reviewed it is a fucking asshole. I self-deprecate more than anything. I think it would’ve hurt a lot worst but there’s nothing terrible that can be said about me that I haven’t already thought about myself like 1,000 times.
RMMW: all artists have to contend with their inner critic — how do you contend with yours?
SL: After I get something published I never read it ever again. The entire time I’m writing I say “this sucks how could I write something so bad?”. Then I edit it until I think “whoa this is pretty good”. And then I submit it that second and I never look at it again because I know if I see it I’ll hate it.