Hello Dearies. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so first off, I want to wish you all the thanks for following my blog, giving me encouragement and your lovely comments. It’s so helpful to know people are enjoying and reading my blog. It makes it worthwhile to know that you are enjoying things.
As part of Writing 101’s assignments for day 19, we were to collaborate or interview another blogger or someone we admire. I ‘sat down’ with Jesse Villarreal from the blog And Another Thing. Jesse, who turns 23 tomorrow ̶ Happy Birthday, Jesse! ̶ has a sharp wit and his poems are tangy, smart and pointed. A bit dicey, in a good way. No holds barred writing. His blog just turned one year old after rattling around on a couple other blogging platforms. You can see some of his other sharp work on his Tumblr titled the same, And Another Thing . . .
Jesse has now added in sections on poems, short stories, journal, and photography. Jesse hails from Texas, so we have an honest to goodness southern boy here. Jesse dreams of being a journalist, or tackling journalism at some point, and photography is another big thing in his life. He was born on Thanksgiving, is nervous about the coming year,sometimes worries about sharing his writing (don’t we all), and doesn’t take good selfies. For which I say, thank goodness. There are enough selfies out there. But I do think this is a pretty snazzy photo, if you ask me. He’s got the poet/writer look, I think. He has also taken to reciting his poetry on his blog. I really think you should all check it out because there is nothing quite like hearing poetry versus reading it.
KB: When did you start writing? What do you like to write best?
JV: It’s interesting because I’ve explored writing for different types of media like film, theater, and print. I’ve recently been exploring radio. It’s hard to pick one because I’ve enjoyed writing stories for each different form. But if I had to pick I would have to say short stories, which is funny because I haven’t written one in a while. The reason being, after I wrote my first short story back in college, I considered it as my official start as a writer.
KB: Where do you get your inspiration? And what is your favorite form of inspiration?
JV: I get my inspiration from love and tragedy. It hurts me to say this but my favorite form of inspiration is tragedy. I’m at my best, I feel, when I go through a tragedy. A hurricane of emotion just washes over me and I feel like the only way I can express it is through writing.
KB: Okay, so you get a lot of your inspiration from tragedy. Has there been anything specific recently that has inspired or struck you as a reason to write?
JV: There hasn’t been a tragedy that has affected me directly, in the recent days. I guess the biggest tragedy that still lingers with me, and that I use to get in that mindset to write, is the death of my great grandma. She passed away 2 years ago and I never really talked about it with anyone, not even my family or friends, so I still have a lot of grief there. Instead of talking about it I just write about it.
KB: So the proverbial question must be asked since you are a writer. Do you ever want to be published? Everyone asks it, everyone is thinking of it… So I have to ask.
JV: Funny. I have been talking to my friends, recently, about writing a book. The main question they ask me is “what will it be about?” I have a few ideas kicking around in a notebook the struggle is picking one. But the answer is yes. I would love to get published someday.
KB: When you are not writing, what is another hobby you have? Does it relate to your writing?
JV: A hobby of mine, when I’m not writing or thinking about writing, is playing video games. It helps sometimes with my writing, depending on the type of game. The world of the game I’m playing would sometimes inspire me to write a story. For example, I’m currently playing a game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic word, where everything has been nuked. During my journey, I see two people dead in bed holding each other. Automatically my mind starts to wonder what their life was like before they died, you know? Like what were their last words to each other before dying? Stuff like that.
KB: Who inspires you?
JV: Who inspires me? Hmmm… I would have to say anybody that has read my stuff. My friends, family, teachers, and strangers. I don’t think I would have continued to write as long as I have without their moral support. My favorite type of comment to see when I post something is somewhere between the lines of “I can relate.” Because that was one of the reasons I started sharing my writing publicly. It used to be I would only get comments from strangers online, but recently people I use to go to high school with would come up to me at a social event and talk to me about my writing. Which is both great and terrifying at the same time.
KB: Could you say what you are thankful for right now?
JV: I’m thankful for my friends. I have no idea how insane I would be right now without them. Ha.
KB: What is one thing you are terrified of, but willing to share with the audience?
JV: My depression and the things that go through my head when I go through the emotion. It’s one of the reasons why I started writing. It’s therapeutic.
KB: So your writing is therapeutic for your. Is there something specific that really helps with that? What really gets the vibe more uplifting?
JV: For me, writing usually calms me down, but it never removes the feeling. What I would do to change the mood is just lay in bed, with headphones over my head, listening to music, and just sulk until the feeling passes. It’s almost an emotional journey for me, and when I return I sometimes have something to say about it.
KB: Now onto the fun questions. What is the one food you could never give up? And along with a food you could never give up, what ethic food would you choose over any other if you had to pick one for the rest of your life?
JV: I think the one food I could never give up would have to be burgers. I love burgers. As for ethic food, I wouldn’t mind eating Mexican food for the rest of my life. It’s part of my culture and I really miss my grandma’s mole sauce.
KB: What is the first movie that terrified you and left you in tears, or holy terror, or made you afraid of the dark?
JV: First movie to actually terrify me would have to be The Exorcist, and it still does to this day. Every time I walk into a dark room after watching that movie, I get goosebumps.
KB: You are stranded on a deserted island… first, would you want it tropical or colder up north….. and second, what 5 things would you not want to be without? And we are not talking survival things, but fun things, or things you can’t live without.
JV:The island would defiantly have to be tropical, as for the 5 items…
- Pen and an unlimited supply of paper is a must.
- A guitar. I don’t know how to play but given the amount of time I would have on island I could learn.
- A volleyball to make my own custom Wilson and name him Jerry.
- And finally a bike. For no real reason. Just to have a bike.
KB: The doorbell has just rung. You open the door and there on the step is a box filled with a kitten, a bunny, a dog, and a bird. Which animal do you keep?
JV: Damn this question could make me or break me. Ha. I would take the dog. I’ve always been a dog person. The only pet I’ve ever owned besides a dog was a turtle.
KB: So you choose to keep a dog. What is your favorite kinds of dogs, or are they all favorites? Personally, I am a serious dog person as well. I have mine, and then my parents have theirs, and I love them both. You do realize we are a minority within the writing community, right? Most writers seem to be cat people.
JV: Ha. I love all dogs. I even love my friend’s dog. My mom never liked cats, so growing up a cat was never an option as a pet for me. I don’t know how to react around cats honestly.
KB: You have just been given tickets to see someone in concert. Who would it/they be?
JV: I’ve wanted to see Brand New for the longest now. (KB: I had to look them up, but not bad, not bad at all)
KB: If you could meet anyone in history, or currently, who would it be? Or if you can’t pick one, pick three.
JV: I don’t know really. I think maybe I would like to meet someone who wants to meet me.
KB: Give me five things you are in to right now. IE. TV shows, music, books, films, hobbies, etc.
JV: The things I’ve been into a lot lately are…
- Creepypastas. I listen to one every night before going to bed.
- Coffee shops. I want to work at one again.
- Photography. I need to take more photos.
- Poetry. I’ve been reading a lot more poetry and even started reciting poetry out loud in front of a camera.
- Journalism. It’s something I really want to do.
KB: Okay, what is Creepypastas?
JV: Creepypastas are scary stories. I like to think of them as scary campfire stories but told through the Internet.
KB: What was the best part about working at a coffee shop? I’d love to inhabit one. I have this coffee addiction myself.
JV: The best part was making lattes. It almost feels artistic.
KB: So you are reading a lot of poetry right now. Anyone specific you think really speaks to you? And do you have plans to record more poetry for your blog? (by the way, I love listening to it. I think how a writer writes poetry can be understood so much better when they read it. Then you really get what they are thinking)
JV: I’ve been reading a lot of Shel Silverstein and I love his poems because of its wit and meaningful message they carry. The poem ‘Mask’ is one of my personal favorites.
As for reciting poetry, I actually started doing it again this week. Last week, I had this terrible fever and couldn’t get out of bed, but I’m back at it now.
I’ve been rethinking the format of it all. I originally did it for Instagram, but Instagram only allows for 15 second videos. There are times were I want to preform longer poems and don’t want to speed read a poem just to fit the limit.
I also want to get more involved with the WordPress community, so I’m even considering reading poems by poets on WordPress.
And I agree with you, poetry is meant to be heard aloud.
So, there you have it. I want to thank Jesse for taking the time for all my questions. It was an interesting experience because while I enjoyed doing this interview and I’m not one to do ‘journalism’, Jesse actually wants to go in to it and enjoys a lot of aspects of it. So it was a flipside thing. Plus I learned a lot of really cool things about another writer/blogger whom I think you all should check out.
Thank you, Jesse, for taking the to answer all my questions. It was so much fun, learned a lot, and decided that while I liked doing this, journalism isn’t quite for me all the time. Occasionally, maybe.