I knew Richard in person when I lived down in the Bay Area. He gave me a copy of one of his short story collections, Dark Corners, since expanded and retitled Darker Corners (I have both editions!). I was immediately impressed by his clean composition, compelling voice, and unique imagination.
Like me and countless others he has struggled for years to overcome relative obscurity. But the fact that he continues to write and publish means he has not choice. He is a born writer. And readers of both heartfelt poetry and hardboiled prose should be grateful.
Do you have a preference between poetry and fiction as both reader and author, and which do you find more creatively satisfying?
I read more fiction than poetry and, conversely, write more poetry than fiction. These numbers notwithstanding, I don’t think my habits as a reader are driven so much by preferences as by moods. Sometimes, for instance, one just wants to be lost in a big, thick novel. As a writer, obvious as this is to say, I find longer forms more demanding. As I tend to be rather lazy, this will explain why I write more poetry than fiction. The satisfaction that comes from placing the final period at the end of a good short story, or the final singing line in a piece of shiny poetry, is really about the same. A kind of quiet wonder that something new is in the world because of me. That I was a vessel for this thing which has, I can but hope, made the world a better, rather than a worse, place.
What stylistic, thematic, and philosophical threads weave your disparate works together?
I believe that a powerful unifying element in my work is the voice I have developed as a writer. A voice which speaks from a place, if I may say so myself, of beauty and sadness. Certainly, my appreciation of haiku and related forms has helped me to pare my writing, be it poetry or fiction, down to essentials. Or to at least try to transcribe only the words that matter. Themes? No doubt my most frequent themes are, as intimated above, sadness and beauty. Oh, and of course, the weird.
You seem to be drawn to the darker side of human nature. What is your artistic imperative in this regard?
I never considered myself as having an artistic imperative, to be honest! I mainly just want to tell a story. If it happens that the stories I tell, through poetry or fiction, tend to drift into the darker neighborhoods of the imagination, I think it’s also true that I spend a certain amount of time in the better parts of town.
What are your influences, literary or otherwise?
Asking my influences seems like a dangerous invitation to simply drop names like Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Blake, Poe and Bukowski and, well… You see my point about dangerous. While it’s true that these people and any number of other writers, or film makers for that matter, might influence my work as a writer, it is perhaps more true that everything is influential. Or, as the expression goes, everything is “grist for the mill”. All experience, good or bad, as it affects our lives and the people we become, must also affect our work as creators. And if all of this is beginning to sound a bit vague and/or cliché, well what can I say? Hey! Did I happen to mention Edgar Allan Poe?
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me will probably be much like what was last. Reading, writing, submitting, and repeating. Only, going forward, I will do everything much better.
Find all of Richard’s work on his Amazon Author Page.