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20 Questions with... Robert J.W.

Robert J. W. is a poet, author, and digital artist from Morgantown, WV. He has published numerous poetry anthologies including Dusty Video Game Cartridges, Apotheosis: Positive Poems For The Downtrodden, and Reprogramming God (among others).

You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @robertjw4688

Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What was your life like growing up?

My name is Robert J. W. I am from Morgantown, WV (born and raised.) Growing up was odd for me. Both of my parents died when I was very young so I was raised by my cousin and an aunt. They were good to me but it was still hard. I write about my youth a lot because it was different than most people's. I was both coddled and left to my own devices.

Did you always want to be a writer? If you also work, what do you do / did you do?

Yea I've always wanted to be a writer but I envisioned myself as a novelist, not a poet. But here we are!

Tell us about your most recently published work in a sentence.

Short bursts of surreal catharsis.

What are you working on right now?

Nothing as of now but I'm debating on writing a cyberpunk novel? Who knows if I'll actually do it.

Do you have a writing routine, and if so what is it?

Oh yeah. I write first thing in the morning with a cup of black coffee and music playing in the background (either metal or punk.)

Where do you write – always in the same space, or different places? Can you write ‘on the move’?

I usually write in my living room but I can write anywhere inspiration strikes.

What advice do you have for other authors who are starting out? What is the best advice you’ve heard?

Practice. No one starts off a good writer. You have to slog through terribleness to get to brilliance.

Do you enjoy doing live readings or are they a necessary evil – or somewhere in between?

I used to hate doing live readings because I wasn't good at it haha. But I practiced and got decent at it. I enjoy it now.

Are there recurring themes in your work? Where do you feel these emanate from if so?

Several. I write about mental health alot. I've been trying to write more positive and inspiring works lately because I think the world needs it but I also write about my struggles with bipolar depression and anxiety. I also write about youth and hanging with friends.

Should writers have a moral purpose? What is the purpose of a writer in today’s society?

Not necessarily. I don't think writers should force any feeling they don't identify with. That's not genuine. But if you believe in the morals about which you write, then definitely go for it!

Do you write between genres or not?

I mainly write beat, confessional, and haiku poetry.

Which living writers do you most admire?

Neil Gaiman, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, James Kelley, Kimber Acrylic, Mike Zone

Which dead writers do you most admire?

Albert Camus! Also, the beats and confessional poets (Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton)

What’s the book you wish you’d written?

Naked Lunch

What other external influences do you have: nature/place, music etc?

I listen to a lot of music. Mostly metal and punk. Lyrics are a big influence on me.

Do you suffer from ‘writer’s block’ and how do you overcome it if so?

On occasion. I just put on music and push through it.

What’s been your favourite reaction to your writing?

A few people have told me I saved their life. I'm glad I did. The world needs us.

How do your family and friends feel about your writing?

Most of my friends and family are very supportive and I highly appreciate that.

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

We don't really have any bookstores here outside our Barnes and Noble but I love browsing our library and second-hand stores!

How do you see the future of writing? Will we become more or less dependent on Amazon?

I hope alternatives to Amazon pop up but, with capitalism the way it is, that's doubtful sadly.

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