April 18, 2014

Rusty Barnes's #MyWritingProcess

Today you get to hear from the last cool writer I'm tagging in the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour ~ Rusty Barnes.  He writes these amazing short shorts ~ check out Breaking It Down ~ and is out with a novel and a book of poems. He's also a great editor and a great friend.  Enjoy!

Rusty Barnes


Rusty Barnes is a cofounder of Night Train, a literary journal, and Fried Chicken and Coffee, an on again/off again blogazine of rural and Appalachian creative work and concerns. He’s published five books of poetry and fiction, the latest of which is nearly brand new: Reckoning, a novel, published by David McNamara at Sunnyoutside Press.

#My Writing Process Blog Tour
I’ve been tagged by the fantastic writer Tamara Linse to talk about #MyWritingProcess, such as it is. I hope these answers will entertain or reveal, depending on what you think of my writing.
What am I working on?
This is always a tricky question, as I’m involved in several different projects at a time. Right now I’m nearly ready to shop a manuscript of poems called Dear So and So, in which I address poems anonymously to a number of people who may or may not be in a position to answer, or willing to talk with me at all, considering our various histories. It’s a series of off-sonnets and other near poems, like in-jokes from my life, which others might have fun reading. I’m also researching a short book on the video game Redneck Rampage, which nearly consumed my soul in the 1990s just as I was ordering my life and goals and writing in light of the fact that I was Appalachian, 41.7% more likely to die of a heart attack than my peers, and destined to have a love/hate relationship with the area in which I grew up. Beyond that, I have another nameless manuscript of poems which should straighten up and behave itself soon or I’m going to whip its ass, and a novel called The Arsonist, again set in my hometown and surrounds, in which a state social worker, Kathleen Brake, gets increasingly drawn into the psychoses of a crazy but charismatic teenage arsonist named Johnny Jones while negotiating the terrors of adolescent relationships with her fifteen-year-old daughter Angie and her own love life with her well-meaning but feckless husband Gallow. And her short-term lover Brady Bragg. All have secrets, all have needs, and when the flames rise, everyone will be affected.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write in a mode many others do, but I believe my work stands out because of its focus on rural matters, nearly exclusively, and because I try to use as few words as possible to make the story I want to make up. I also believe my stories are emotionally true where others often seem fake. Probably the fakers feel the same way about me and my work. The difference is that I’m right where they’re wrong. :-)
Why do I write what I do?
I have little else to do outside obligations to my immediate family. I have no important skills I can rely on, no rich family to support me in my efforts to produce art, no great intellect to make it easier on me, but I do have a history 250 years deep in a small area of Pennsylvania that so far has yielded material enough for at least three writing careers, and I trust, will continue to provide such long after I’m gone.
How does my writing process work?
When I’m writing on a longer project, I try to get five hundred words a day. Failing that, if I get 250 I’ll hang it up for the session. Rare is the day I don’t get my 500, though. I begin writing for my hour per day after the kids go to bed, more time being devoted to it when life permits. Poems I can work on any time. Fiction takes a concerted effort and schedule. I go long stretches without writing, though, which is dangerous. I always feel as if I don’t write all the time, I’ll forget how. Luckily, that hasn’t proven to be true yet.
The Cool People I’m Tagging
Heather Sullivan is a mama, wife, and part-time philosopher and blogs at Lady Jane Adventures.
Cort Bledsoe, or C.L. Bledsoe, is the author of the young adult novel Sunlight, three poetry collections (_____(Want/Need), Anthem, and Leap Year), and a short story collection Naming the Animals
Timothy Gager is the author of ten books of short fiction and poetry. His latest, The Shutting Door (Ibbetson Street Press), was nominated for the Massachusetts Book Award. He has hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for over twelve years and is the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival.  


1 comment:

Nancy Strickland Hawkins said...

I grew up in north Alabama, which is Appalachian in culture. I understand the love-hate relationship. I don't feel at home there, but I don't feel at home anywhere else.