Here is a quick Q&A with poet and publisher Edward Vidaurre on writing in the age of COVID-19.

GEMINI INK: What role do you think writing plays in life and how is that role revealing itself as you shelter-in-place during this pandemic?

Writing, if you’re a writer, plays a significant role in how you move through life and how we put a historical marker on the adversity we face with change. Our role is to leave an honest portrayal of our NOW for tomorrow. I have worked through the shelter in place as an essential worker, so it’s been challenging to write through uncertainty.

GEMINI INK: Do you have any rituals you perform before you get started writing–tics, habits, even special ceremonies?  How important is it to you to have a sense of sameness about your writing routine?

If anything, because I am also a publisher, I first look through emails and look at what projects need attention before I sit for my own writing. But for both, It has been early morning, with coffee and meditation. Sometimes, a cigarette and watering plants before sitting down to write.

GEMINI INK: What is your favorite piece of writing advice?

Reading helps me write. It ignites the writing bug for me. Sometimes it takes a chapter, sometimes a sentence. Open up to opportunity, be vulnerable to the spirit of the muse and definitely never let your duende escape. Pay attention to your surroundings, something or someone is always whispering in your ear.

GEMINI INK: During these times of shelter-in-place, has your writing routine or habits changed in any way?

Some habits have changed, I am edgier nowadays, so I try to calm down by dismantling the noise around me. No music, no TV, just the sound of scribbling or typing.

GEMINI INK: What theme or symbol often emerges in your work? Do you have any new images or themes that are surfacing as you write during this pandemic?

My father appears a lot, nature and jazz, death. You know, poetry. Birds are appearing a lot now, and dreams.

GEMINI INK: Describe your first writing desk. How is this different (or not) from your current writing desk?

Kitchen table and now a kitchen table. But I am looking at getting a new desk now that my wife bought me a nice leather chair for Father’s Day.

GEMINI INK: Can you name a source you return to for ongoing or periodic creative inspiration?

Nature, Lorca, lately… Roque Dalton.

GEMINI INK: Do you have a favorite writing tool?

Right now, because I’m always doing research on many topics, it’s been my $30 laptop I got from La Pulga.

GEMINI INK: Does good writing result from best practices, magic, or a bit of both? Or does effective writing stem from something else not mentioned here?

From writing and reading. From talking about writing. I notice that when I get into conversations about writing that I sometimes bring up things I’ve learned while reading and then put them into practice. Especially in editing.

GEMINI INK: What is your next project?

Pandemia and Other Poems forthcoming from Aztlan Libre Press in August 2020 for myself. As publisher of FlowerSong Press, maybe working on about 10 books to end the year, one being Juan Felipe Herrera, alurista, and a children’s book by Regina Moya and Carmen Tafolla early 2021 amongst about 15 other titles. Busy.

Edward Vidaurre is the 2018-2019 McAllen, Texas Poet Laureate and author of six collections of poetry, including JAZzHOUSE (Prickly Pear Publishing, 2019). Pandemia and Other Poems is forthcoming from Aztlan Libre Press in August 2020. He writes from the front lines of the Mexican-American borderlands of El Valle in south Tejas and is Publisher/Editor of FlowerSong Press.

Anisa Onofre

Author Anisa Onofre

More posts by Anisa Onofre

Leave a Reply