ABP- Thank you for agreeing to take this feature, David. Seven Months ago, Alien Buddha Press had the privilege of publishing your book Indelible Fingerprints. What can you tell us about that book? What went into writing it, and how do you feel about it today?
DE- Yes, I am incredibly grateful that Indelible Fingerprints found a home with Alien Buddha Press. I couldn’t have chosen a better publisher for my freshman venture. The entire content of the book is reflective of moments, situations that have left their mark on me—good and bad—so you can imagine how personal the collection is to me. The 40 poems and 3 short stories in the book were all composed in a relatively short time, but there is a lifetime of inspiration that fueled the work.
I work and hell of a whole lot so finding time to write has been a challenge, but enrolling in an MFA in Creative Writing program and, strangely, a brief period of under-employment offered me many opportunities to put pen to paper and come up with the collection.
How do I feel about Indelible Fingerprints today? I still love it. I don’t think that will change anytime soon. I do think that my poetry has evolved some and I like the direction it is headed, but my original poems are parts of me so I can’t help but feel emotionally connected to them, regardless. Maybe one day I will look back at them, sentimentally. But, for now, they are still tethered to me—heart, mind, and soul. Plus, many of them are still actively in reprint so they aren’t done yet.
ABP- We were also happy to include you in our music themed anthology Psalms of the Alien Buddha this year. Tell us about your contribution in that particular anthology
DE- Thank YOU for including me. The two pieces in the anthology, “Nothing Lasts” and “Grounding”, represent older and newer examples of my work. “Nothing Lasts”, which was one of the first poems I wrote in my MFA program, is one of my more somber pieces that speaks to the loneliness—randomness—of ‘being’ that I think all of us feel at one point or another. In a way, this is contrasted by a cosmic rhythm, order that somehow adds a sense of divine cruelty to the mix. (I was either really pessimistic that day or running low on caffeine) “Grounding” is one of my newer pieces from a series of haiku I had been working on this past summer. It is really a love poem to a friend of mine who keeps me in check when my mind gets away from me. She brings me down to earth when I fly too high or dance my way towards the entrance of the bell jar. Even when her words are blunt or harsh, they fall sweetly upon my ears. She helps me see. Friends like that are the most valuable things we can have. I love her…almost as much as my pups.
ABP- Tell us about “The Tripping Muse”
DE- The Tripping Muse is the lit magazine I plan on starting, hopefully this Fall for release January 2020. Starting a lit mag has been a dream of mine for some time now and I am finally moving towards making it a reality. So far, starting it has been a matter of the stars aligning a certain way and my just having the time for working on it. Conditions seem to be agreeable at the moment, so I plan on striking while the iron is hot.
The plan is to feature poetry and short fiction at first and then include essays, interviews, and book reviews later on. Ultimately, I want to showcase great writing (i.e. stuff people want, love to read) without prescribing to an explicit aesthetic. I think so much amazing work goes unnoticed because it isn’t “the right fit.” Writing should define the magazine, not the other way around.
Aside from hopefully starting a small press one day, as well, I have some other ideas rattling around in my brain, but I will keep those under wraps for now.
ABP- As a writer of both poetry and fiction, do you have a medium that you enjoy producing more than the other?
DE- That is a really good question. My original passion—back in the day—was writing short stories and I always figured I would do that, solely, but then poetry entered my life. I tend to think in verse, so it came more naturally, still does. I look at writing short stories, now, as a craft that I have to work at. Unfortunately, my process for writing short stories involves a lot of time (for me to obsess), which is a commodity in short supply right now. Hopefully, I will be able to return to this sort of writing this year with the same gusto I did in 2018. I have a few in my head right now that have already been written and rewritten many times. I think 2020 will be very fruitful.
ABP- From your website, I can see that you have appeared at many live readings in Texas this year. Would you like to tell us about some of those events? Do you plan on going to more readings in 2020?
DE- Normally, I am terrified of performing in public. After Indelible Fingerprints was published, though, I decided I needed to work through that phobia if I was going help promote the book. I probably shouldn’t have gone all “balls to the wall” and made my first event a poetry slam (Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival) but there you have it. I totally tanked it and quickly learned that I am not a “spoken word” type of guy. The events that followed were less intimidating and hosted in a variety of local haunts, like groovy coffeehouses, libraries, a local radio show, and an online chat room for TL;DR Press for the release of their Shades of Pride Anthology.
I think–for now–I am going to put public reading aside and focus more on participating on panels and such. I find I am more comfortable talking about my writing than actually reading it, which is weird since so much of it lately seems to be of the performance ilk. I am also toying with the idea of starting a podcast as a kick-off to The Tripping Muse. Ain’t life funny?
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences?
DE- Another good question, as I have to speak to this in my thesis’ critical introduction. I would have to say that in terms of literature, I am most influenced by Homer and Raymond Carver. Homer (or the poets known as Homer) really knew how to tell a story. I first fell in love with “him” after I read The Homeric Hymns in college. Then, of course, I was blown away by The Iliad and The Odyssey. If one looks close enough, they can find the Classical influence in my work.
Raymond Carver is God! Enough said.
ABP- Do you have a follow-up to Indelible Fingerprints in the works; will you be releasing another solo project in 2020?
DE- I sure do. Currently, I, along with Luca Bowles from the UK, are putting together an illustrated collection of haiku called little punctures. I reached out to him this summer with the idea for the project and he was all over it. We indirectly collaborated on a piece for Foxhole Magazine, where he created an illustration for my prose poem “When I Think of Him I Think of Black Coffee and Toast with Red Plum Jam”. He captured my father, who the poem is about, with freakish accuracy, so I knew he was the guy for the project. As of now, we have about half the poems illustrated. Hopefully, we will have it ready for publication by December 2019 for Alien Buddha Press.
While that has been in the works, Really Serious Literature published my chapbook “punctures” as part of their @rlysrslit Disappearing Chapbook Series (Issue #104). It is currently on Instagram and will disappear into thin air the first week of November. I have some other chapbooks in review right now at The Bitchin’ Kitsch and Fjords Review. Keeping my fingers crossed.
ABP- Thanks again for taking this interview, David. The floor is all yours. If you have any announcements to make, shoutouts, or if you would like to share any writing with our wordpress readers, please do.
DE- Ideally, The Tripping Muse will be up and running January 2020, so that will be a huge deal for me next year. I aim to have my third book done and published by the end of 2020. I am working on producing more content, largely fueled by my regular feature pieces at Cajun Mutt Press and other publications. I have also started contributing to Writing Workshops Dallas Blog, writing pieces on publishing and other aspects of professional writing this year and plan on continuing to do so on a monthly basis (as time permits). I will continue my regular gigs at The Elixir Magazine (Poetry Co-Editor & Artist in Residence), Fishbowl Press (Poetry Editor), Red Fez (Fiction Editor), and Cajun Mutt Press (Artist in Residence) indefinitely. I love this work: it keeps me sane. Most importantly, I should get my MFA in Creative Writing May 2020. It has been a long time coming. Totally psyched about that. Other that all that, I will just keep churning out my “little darlings”.