- What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love how words provoke an emotional connection or response (whether good or bad) with readers.
- What is your favorite genre to read, and is this also your favorite genre to write?
Poetry is my favorite genre to read and write.
- Describe your ideal writing situation (think writing space (Office? Shed? Attic?), routine or no routine, snacks available).
Though the ideal place to write/type is at a desk, thoughts and ideas come to me anytime and anywhere (i.e. shower, car, while watching television, etc.).
- What is something you would love that your readers know about you as a writer? (That you love cats? That you edit pieces literally 1,000 times before they see the light of day?)
Although poetry is only one aspect of my being, it is an important part of me. It is a creative tool that allows me to sculpt my raw emotions into what I hope to be a living, breathing masterpiece.
- What is your most re-read book, if any, and why?
Wow! Great question. Probably Native Son by Richard Wright or poetry by Langston Hughes. In my opinion, Native Son is one of the greatest novels I ever read in high school. Although I did not grow up on the Southside of Chicago, I empathized with the fictional character Bigger Thomas. As a child, I recall watching television commercials in the 1970’s and wondering why very few people looked like me. I, too, grew up in an apartment in a poor environment, and wished my mom and dad could buy the expensive brand name cereals, all of the time, as opposed to the “No Frills” or “Knockoff” brands. In addition, the inequities of life inside and outside my town were quite evident whenever I rode the bus or my parents/friends drove me through other towns in Nassau County, Long Island, NY. I remember thinking concrete was just as nice a green grass – but not as soft. I was always jealous of white students from other public schools, because their baseball and football fields had plush, green grass whereas our fields had crabgrass, weeds, or missing grass. Similar to Bigger Thomas, at times I felt like I was looking through a knothole in a fence at others who fully embraced, enjoyed, and proudly wore the fabric of American Society.
Bonus question: May is National Hamburger Month and National Egg Month, among other undoubtedly more important observances. Thoughts?
That’s interesting! Now I love a good hamburger and a hardboiled egg! Still, a whole month dedicated to an egg speaks volumes about our society. I don’t know, perhaps labeling the month of May as National Hamburger Month and National Egg Month is simply a way to promote nutrition (although these are not the most nutritious products). Or perhaps it is just a clever way for the meat and poultry industries to promote their products and boost sales. Regardless, we should always put more focus on more civic-minded and important observances during May, such as Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage, Jewish-American Heritage Month, National Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Month, National Mental Health Month, or National Physical Fitness & Sports Month. If not, then it is an unfortunate example of how far we have come as a society – and how much value people put into certain causes (i.e. egg vs. human health).
Thank you for highlighting many much more important national observances in May, Leon. I feel like ‘egg vs. human health’ would be a good title for something. Come out to Charmingtons on Tuesday, May 9th and hear Leon read his poetry at Writers & Words!