Friday Dec 09

BurgessNeedle Burgess Needle is a Tucson writer whose fiction has appeared in Black Market Review (UK), Connotation Press[creative non-fiction], 10,000 Tons of Black Ink and Pig In a Poke. His poetry has appeared in over 40 print and on-line journals, including: Blackbox Manifold (UK), Concho River Review, Decanto (UK), Centrifugal Eye, Kritya (India) and Red Fez.  Diminuendo Press published his poetry collection: EVERY CROW IN THE BLUE SKY. @. 2009. He taught English for two years in a small Thai village for the Peace Corps, been a co-director of the Southern Arizona Writing Project, co-published and edited Prickly Pear/Tucson [a poetry quarterly] for five years, was a school librarian for thirty years and, as a Minister in the Universal Life Church, performed two marriages.
Burgess Needle interview with Meg Tuite
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers about the inspiration for this story?

I was living in Kabul for a while in 1969 and kept a journal. Some of the characters in “Istalif Awaits” are drawn from that period. The character of Murvise is entirely fictional, but my brother and I used to hunt rats in the local city dump late at night. Memories of those hunting expeditions stayed with me for years. Over a period of time I envisioned a protagonist who also ended up temporarily stuck in Kabul. I created flashbacks with Murvise to flesh out his emotional make-up. The story was pieced together over a period of many months as I struggled to balance an understandable narrative with a semi-hallucinogenic anti-hero. The most difficult aspect of reaching a final version was in the editing: what to leave in and what to take out.

Do you have a writing schedule that you adhere to, and if so, any tricks/tips you use?

I used to think I always needed time, time and more time to write. Eventually, I realized having friends, enjoying life and having someone I loved and who loved me was more important. Creating characters, developing story lines and atmosphere emerge in all the other spaces and times that open up in a day. Some afternoons, if I have the opportunity and the inclination, I go to a library with blank pages and fill them in. I always used to think there was a great rush. Now, though I write in fits and starts. I eventually find an ending to whatever piece I’m working on and I’m happy.

What books are you currently reading?

Since I enjoy ancient history almost as much as fiction I’ve been enjoying The Ghosts Of Cannae by Robert O’Connell. Real history, fascinating characters and an astonishing story. I’m also re-reading Ragtime. That novel is a remarkable feat of creativity that straddles history and E.L. Doctorow’s imagination. Tinkers by Paul Harding is a miracle!

Who are the top two or three influences in your writing career and maybe a few words why?

John Donne’s poetry, with its mix of the down-to-earth, the sensual and the spiritual combined with metaphysical conceits was a powerful, early influence on the way I saw writing as more than mere communication. Cormac McCarthy’s work, with its vast horizons and dark visions, made an indelible impact on me. Most recently, the work of the contemporary poet, Matthew Dickman. draws me back over and over again to his endlessly inventive spirit that manages to skirt being sentimental and ends up casually powerful and shockingly inventive.

In order to preserve the artistic arrangement of the writing, this piece has been created with Print2Flash Flashpaper. Get Adobe Flash player