Interview with Poet, Don Beckworth

You know each and every time I interview a different writer, whether they be a poet or novelist I’m always faced with something immensely unique. The way in which each one of us writes creating a special world of out own that’s impenetrable from outside forces. Don Beckworth is a very prolific scribe that has written a handful of eclectic books that will leave you questioning your own imagination and purpose. For more information on Don check out his website and give a follow on Instagram @authordonbeckworth .
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If es, how did you overcome it?
DB: Absolutely. I\’ve been going back to school for the last year. It occupies a large portion of my time and my mind. My mind is, quite literally, too tired to think or to imagine.
Along with school, I go through phases, like all artists, when the words simply do not come. When I try to write during these phases, I always feel like I\’m writing empty words. (If that makes sense) The way I overcome this is to simply open up a word doc on my phone, and start typing the first words to come to mind. Then I build on them until I\’m satisfied with the outcome. Other times, you might judge me for this, but I get a little tipsy, I watch stupid cheesy movies or bad horror movies, and I usually find a trigger; something that sparks an image. And I immediately start to write. I don\’t force myself to write. I also refuse to write just for the sake of writing. I also, for good or bad, refuse to adhere to any single style.
RMMW: We all have to contend with an inner critic, how do you deal with yours?
DB: My inner critic is a douchebag. \”No one cares\”, \”No one\’s reading\”, \”look, your book sales are still nonexistent\”, \”oh hey, your photo sales suck too\”. \”Why are you wasting your time?\”  I\’m struggling, almost daily, with these types of thoughts.  I\’ve been at it now for nearly 8 years, and I don\’t think I\’m any further than when I began. But, it isn\’t about sales.  Here\’s how I handle the down-talker inside my head. I write about something. I immerse myself into a scene and stay there until I feel it has been perfected. I write until I feel better. Basically. Then, there are days when it\’s just tough. These days require a good audiobook or good music. It\’s okay to distract yourself, I think. Occasional mediation helps too.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new book?
DB: Nope! I write until I feel like I\’ve got enough for a small book, then I edit (also I hate to edit my own work) and publish. Each of my books is varied in subject-matter. Very eclectic.
RMMW: Do you ever people watch to get ideas for your books?
DB: What writer alive doesn\’t? We, by nature, are people watchers. Not in a creepy way, well, not always, but just watching what people do, say, how they react. Half of my bar napkin stories are based on watching people while sitting at a bar or while I\’m out walking during my lunch.
RMMW: Do you write longhand or right to the computer?
DB: That depends. I write now through Google Docs. I start a new doc each month. That way I can access it on my phone or tablet or pc. (Not Mac, cough cough). In fact, believe it or not, almost all my poetry is written that way. My last 3 books were written that way.  I still use paper and pen now and then.  It helps me flesh out words on some topics. I tend to use the computer for short stories or longer scenes though. It\’s just easier.
RMMW: Where does your inspiration come from?
DB: Pretty much anywhere. I wax poetical watching birds and trees and those big ass carpenter bees on my patio. I have yet to use my patio this spring. They frighten me. Not patios, the bees. I get inspiration from tv and movies. I also get inspiration from books I\’ve read. I think we all do. A good source of inspiration is the news. My Aleppo series is based on news photos posted online. I stare at the photos, or read the articles, and try to write a poetic interpretation of them. The trick is to read between the lines. Try to envision yourself at the scene. BUT, I always always always feel like if I write a certain way, someone will try to call me out for having never been there or never been in the military or never been homeless, for example. I\’m very self-conscious that way. Occasionally, I attempt to write what I\’ve dreamt about. I have had a series of recurring dreams, er um, nightmares that I\’m convinced are all interconnected. Weird right? But, all that being said, I don\’t always go looking for inspiration. Sometimes it just comes to me when I\’m in the middle of a meeting or working on code for homework or driving somewhere.
RMMW: What\’s your favourite book written by you?
DB: Probably either The Grocery Store or Behind the Rhododendron. The second book listed was 
actually a submission of poems for a chapbook contest. The reviewer told me my work was contrived and a way for me to deal with my existence. The review was actually very personally directed. I took offense to it. So, I renamed the book, did some editing, and self-published it out of spite. Probably bad Karma in that, but I did it and there it is. My longest book is Tipsy Turn-a-Phrase, over 500 pages.
RMMW: Who is your favourite character created by you?
DB: That\’s hard to decide.  It\’s either Martyr Mary or Mister Tick Tick. Both have a few poems in series. Both are horror series.
RMMW: Do you think a good book can change one’s life?
DB: Of course. The first book I ever read that did that was Anne Rice\’s Memnoch the Devil. It opened my mind to a new way of thinking.  I would also recommend Lord of the Rings, Dante\’s Divine Comedy, and anything by HP Lovecraft or Algernon Blackwood. If I had to pick a favorite, because I know that\’s what you\’re thinking:  Stephen King\’s IT.  I keep the audiobook version of It and I have two first editions. I read it at least once a year.  Second behind that is Salem\’s Lot and Pet Sematary. Obviously 🙂
RMMW: How long does it take you to write a book?
DB: One to Two months typically. That being said, I have over 2,000 poems that need to be edited and put into book form. But I\’m not so good with editing, and I justify not putting the books together because I\’m working on school work. Saying that, I am perfectly open to having someone edit, illustrate it, publish it, and split any profit made on it. Shameless plug, feel free to edit this one out 🙂
RMMW: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
DB: I didn\’t. I sort of just started writing. I have a notebook of poems I wrote while in high school, most of which only I’ve ever seen. My first poem was written in 9th grade and got an honorable mention at the district literary competition that year.
RMMW: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
DB: Both. Depends on the write. I have a habit of mentally stepping into a scene, completely. I\’ve written things that have made me cry. I\’ve written things that have relaxed me. So on and so on.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
DB: To immediately shed bad fat! You know, so I always stay in shape! Honestly, though, I\’ve never really thought about it. All the powers have pros and cons. Maybe I\’m overthinking it. I always tell my wife that I\’m just a dirty old man. So, probably super eyes. Eyes that x-ray and move things any way I want them to. Sorry, That\’s just evil….

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