My Own Personal Y2K Bug: An Interview with Featured Author Ace Boggess

bug-162019_640Ace Boggess’ poem, “What Will You Do If the Pain Subsides?,” is featured in this year’s summer issue. We asked him a few brief questions on craft. Here are his answers.

Q: Do you have any super secret rituals that help your writing process?

A: It’s not so much a secret, but I always read before I write: a chapter in a novel, a short story, or 10­-15 poems, depending on what mood takes me. This always puts me in the writing frame of mind. It’s also my own personal Y2K bug. It’s a habit I picked up years ago when I was a drug addict. I’d take my pills and read while I waited for them to kick in, then start writing. Now, the drugs are gone, but the habit of reading first remains. I find it useful for focusing.

Q: What parts of your writing have you put the most focus on?

A: For the last few years, it’s been poetry. The novel, though, has always been my thing. It turns out that I’ve had more success with poetry, and folks tend to refer to me as a poet. I think of myself more as a fiction addict in the poetry maintenance program.

Q: What do you think the future of the printed word will be in the next 50 years?

A: Oh, it’ll be around and just as strong, assuming we don’t all blow ourselves up. I know there was a big swing there for a while toward e­books, but I read an article recently which said that that trend has stalled and folks are going back to buying paper books (p­books?). There’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands. Plus, you can’t get autographs on e­books or vainly show off your bookshelves to your friends.

Q: What’s your writing mantra?

A: Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Q: What are you reading at the moment?

A: Revolt of the Crash Test Dummies by Jim Daniels, the new issue of The Bitter Oleander, Orhan Pamuk’s The New Life, and Best American Short Stories 2006 (I bounce between them).

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Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter, and completely exhausted by all the things he isn’t anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals. He currently resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

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