John Laurits is a blogger; here is a link to his website:
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: Trying to say things that I don’t know how to say… yet. Whenever I get the feeling that I can’t say something that I’m experiencing, it’s then that I start to go crazy – I become obsessed until I find the words. There is a condition of mind that is called “aphasia,” which is that state in which one knows what they want to say, knows that there is a word for it, and yet cannot quite say it – a word being on the “tip of one’s tongue.” A kind of mystical ecstasy tends to ensue when I feel that I’ve succeeded at articulating something that is difficult to articulate. Sometimes this takes the form of poetry, other times as short stories or vignette, and still other times as essays.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your writing?
A: I currently count myself as being among the precariat, which is similar to the proletariat, except that society has no consistent demand for my labor-power – I’m basically homeless & unemployed, ear-to-the-ground for odd-jobs – during better days, I was a student of philosophy that subsisted on a combination of student loans & the meager wages of a courier at a copy & shipping service center.
Q: Who are some of your influences?
A: J.P. Jacobsen, Herman Hesse, Rainer Maria Rilke, Phillip K. Dick, many religious scriptures, Bill Shakespeare, a variety of Persian poets, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Eduardo Galeano, Harlan Ellison, John Wilmot, Goethe, Siegfried Sassoon, etc. I like metered poetry, romantic stuff – I also enjoy speculative fiction and metaphysical or religious writing.
Q: What life experiences do you draw from when you write?
A: My experience of the natural world – I enjoy drawing connections between natural or cosmic processes like growth, seasons, or gravity and personal processes & spiritual or emotional experience. The awe of nature or transcendent experiences following the contemplation of physics, mysticism, or cosmology. My experience of holy scriptures like the Qur’an or the Torah definitely informs my writing.
Q: What is your novel about?
A: I’m not sure. I think it’s mostly about a person. His name is Jacob – which I chose because of the biblical story in which Jacob actually (I mean literally), instead of worshiping or praying to Her, chooses to fight G-d! Something about the idea of struggling against the impossible excites me. I guess I’m working with the themes of existential obstinance, hubris, and the struggle against meaning
Q: What have you done to promote your blog?
A: Woefully little. I did take advantage of my job in the copyroom to print a hundred bookmarks or so with one of my poems and the web address on each of them. I place them in books by authors that have inspired me at stores and libraries. Since we appreciate the same authors, I figure there’s a higher chance that those people will enjoy what I write.
Q: What do you think makes a character worth writing about?
A: I think there are probably a ton of reasons why a character might be worth writing about. I mean, I think everyone might be worth writing about – it’s just way easier to make a Beowulf, a Harry Potter, or a Tyler Durden interesting, but I think that a good writer can evoke beauty even from the most prosaic creatures. Maybe the idea that some of us aren’t interesting is another capitalist myth. I think a better question might be, “How can a writer become worthy to write about any character?” That would be a great writer – I want to be that writer.
Q: What compels people to blog?
A: I think of blogging as a kind of accessible, grassroots radio-slash-TV-sorta-phenomenon; as we become increasingly alienated and unrepresented by the privatized media outlets, we turn to whatever medium that is still available to us – which is basically the internet. It is our collective opportunity to practice democracy with information – as a collective, we get to decide what gets talked about or what goes viral and nobody is barred from contributing. These are opportunities that are not available to us within the media.
Q: What blogs do you follow and why do you like them?
A: I follow the Bulletproof Musician’s blog, they post a lot of really cool sciency things about how we learn… other than that, I mostly follow my friends writing-oriented blogs like the Wandering Bard (wanderingbard.net/) and Operation Orchid (https://operationorchid.wordpress.com/
Q: There are a million E-books and blogs out there and only a few writers who make a living by blogging. Why do you think they they are successful and we are not?
A: blame capitalism. Without money to hire some kind of marketing agent or something, it’s difficult to be noticed – I know that sometimes I feel like I’m yelling into a vacuum… I’m a writer, you know? I write stuff because I literally have to! I’m not a publicity specialist or a web-designer – that’s not what I’m good at. I’m sure there are people who totally get off on that kind of thing but they need to make a living too and it’s a well-known fact that they’re not going to get that from a poet. Once the ruling class is overthrown, wage-slavery abolished, and the earth’s resources are distributed in a more humane way – then, I think, the human collective will choose to support its writers, painters, social commentators, etc and the problem of making a living in general will be relegated to the past next to the weapons of mass destruction & Furbies.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)