Who are you and where are you based?
I'm Ed Woods and I am based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since 2002 and had my first published poem in 2003.
What first got you interested in writing?
I was recovering from injuries and surgical repair sustained in a collision whereby a careless motorist slammed their car into a transport truck I was driving. One day while out for a walk to improve my strength and stamina I came upon a venue sign where the Tower Poetry Society was holding a workshop and through much stress and strain made my way into the basement meeting area and was completely exhausted and profusely perspiring. I became attracted to their workshops and after a few visits and through discussions with attending poets was encouraged to write since my background of employment and life experience was diverse and extensive. I did and a year later one of my poems was accepted for publication in their edition.
Oh my goodness. Well it's a good thing that you managed to get to that writing group. What do you enjoy the most about attending Tower Poetry Society?
There is always an inspiration to learn different styles of writing and gain an open mind to another’s point of view.
What is the most valuable thing you have taken away from your writing group?
The inspiration to not box myself into one particular area of topic of writing.
What genre(s) do you write? What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
My writing style has been labelled as Industrial Poetry because of the terms and expressions I use and is mainly based upon infrastructural employment. I try to write poems with a twist in direction at the end so the reader is led in one direction and then is presented with a reversal or new idea. I do cover all forms of topics from the environment to passion to employment and enjoyment.
Sounds very interesting. Are there any genres that you don’t enjoy writing?
I still consider myself a novice and have limited skills with understanding complex styles or the great writers. This is mainly because I have not taken the time in my life to either attend courses or enjoy the task of long term learning due to a busy lifestyle.
What types of things do you write?
Poetry, short stories, Haiku, and articles which pass along information about various topics.
Have you ever had anything published?
I have been published in a variety of magazines, had poetry read on radio shows and an interview, submitted and accepted for newspaper websites, permanently etched poems for various celebrations. To date I have had 350 poems published in various magazines.
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?
I self publish separate books and when inquiring about eBooks it is too extensive for the few books I would sell. Since I am not well known it would be an expensive venture.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Influences mostly generated after attending a venue such as a workshop or poetry reading and hearing others read aloud their compositions.
How do you come up with your characters’ names and personalities?
Mainly from employment experiences, whereby co-workers have stated a name or planted an idea or topic. I have had very extensive sensitive public liaison in many areas of employment and met thousands of people along the way.
Do you have a writing routine?
An idea or topic will hit me at any time and if pressed for time then I write it down in short form and work on it when time is available. My most creative time seems to be when I am multi-tasking such as when driving a transport truck or flying an aircraft and I believe it comes from having to make constant decisions and get the clutter out of my mind. This may open the channels to creativeness.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
The topics are mostly spontaneous. Example: while driving the transport truck rolling upon 42 wheels and weighing 240,000 pounds I was climbing a long road grade and witnessed a hawk flying along the hillside and began to write a poem of what I was viewing. Since the truck was moving so slow it was quite safe to write in point form and when I reached the delivery site the poem was finished while the product in the chemical tanker trailer was being off-loaded. Later it was edited in minor ways and became published soon after.
Do you have an editing process?
I picture and imitate other poets reading my work to get an idea of the flow and syntax of my creation. This seems to work because other people are the main readers of my creation.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
I like to share my writing and get some feedback but am realistic that an income or profession in the literary arts is a far cry off. Personal satisfaction is the basis of my participation and expansion of my thinking inspired by association with other writers. I keep plugging away and do not become discouraged should some writing not be accepted. I relate it to when I was training for my pilot’s license. The instructor would focus upon what I was doing wrong and correct it to become a more proficient pilot as there was a true phrase; “It’s what you improperly that is going to kill you, not what you do properly”. Creative Writing has a parallel of learning from others and accepting outside influences and suggestion.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions? Have you ever won?
I have entered many competitions and have won a few but have been included in many anthologies and single editions of a magazine publication.
Have you ever attended an open mic night for spoken word performers, and either an observer or a performer?
I have attended many open mic venues and enjoy them very much and in a few cases was the headliner name for such a venue.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
The enjoyable part of creative writing is it allows me to pass along a point of view and see it in print whether it is published in a magazine or anthology. There is also verification if I am on the right track in conveying my point of view or topic.The negative part of this is to admit that a creation is not worth holding onto and that it may be a rant or just not up to reader standards. If I discard a poem then I place it on a CD of ‘banked’ poems to refer to later and see if part of it can be salvaged, and if not, then I get rid of it. I have a low threshold for holding onto a poem if there is nothing worthy about it and admit that I cannot produce a worthy poem every time.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
To shorten the sentence structure of poems and give the reader credit for using their imagination to interpret my work.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Let the words flow onto the page as you would normally speak and not be a victim of rejection should a submission not be accepted for publication.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
A poem that would find its way into lyrics of a song.
There's still time for that. Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
I have had a life long interest in volunteering for various venues. I was employed as a pilot, chemical and nuclear products transport truck driver, communications installation, scuba diver, natural gas line construction, transport driver instructor, swimming and marathon instructor, taxi driver, casino staff, and a host of long forgotten short term employment. I have volunteered for aviation museums for air show operations and construction of replica aircraft, nursing home staff, swimming instruction, public forums, food banks, and etc.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
I read good novels that do not have an unrealistic basis. My writing is probably influenced by what I read or see or hear. An example is from the James Bond series of books transferred to Hollywood movies. The first series with Sean Connery were realistic in nature and capabilities of the character but now it is one big infomercial of advertising with an attempt to place a story in there somewhere. The character can now jump off of a speeding car, land upon a building siding, jump onto a moving transit bus, crash through glass, and achieve all of this without one bead of perspiration or injury.The great actor Rod Steiger, when asked why his movies seemed to be above average and award winners stated that: “First you must entertain the viewer and ‘then’ get your point across, but today’s movies try to ram a point of view through first and fail to entertain”. I try to entertain in my writing first and then draw the reader into my topic.
Do you have any favourite lines from novels/plays/poetry/songs, or any favourite literary quotes?
From a song by Blue Rodeo: It Could Happen to You. “Oh my heart is sinking, the same old useless worn out thinking”From a safety poster: “If you don’t have the time to do something correctly, then where are you going to find the time to correct it and do it properly”From myself upon teaching transport drivers; “If you tailgate the vehicle ahead then the only thing you will accomplish is to have the best view of the collision”And also;” If you won’t give 2 seconds of courtesy while driving then where are you going to find the hours to deal with the collision?”One flight instructor amid the Rockie Mountains gave advice about understanding weather patterns and not getting trapped in a poor or fatal situation; “The clouds out here are a beautiful billowy white but have very hard centres”
What are you working on at the moment?
Submissions of poetry for a variety of magazine publications
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
(My first published poem)
this crisp morning is still lifeas whispers of windsway tight prairie grasssunrise clears darknessilluminating rolling hillsand all too familiar outlines
movement starts and startlesas animals scurry aboutlike canon fire this silence is brokenvoices and noise competeas engines roar to lifestarting the hustle of work
digging equipmentleaves a six-foot deep scarin this virgin landnoise, dust, fumes, energy, and sweatpour out until dusk as this work-trainfuses hollow steel togetherin pursuit of more Energy
as dullness returns to our skytired serenity prevailsuntil tomorrowwhen this cycle will continuefor a necessity of this resourceand human love of this work
(An example of a poem with a twist to the ending)
it is a sad dayto be torn betweentwo grave sites
one very largethe other so tiny
worshippers feel the loss
we then hold a waketo honour the departeda lost comradealthough not all presentwill miss him
strange is the facttwo gravesfor one person
we celebrate the lifeof a tavern loudmouthwho is finally quiet
but to ensure restis in peaceas a precautionwe then buried his mouthin a separate spot
© Ed Woods
Thank you very much Ed.