Please join me with thanking Artist, Author, and Poet Extraordinaire, Marge Simon, for participating in this interview series! Without further ado. . .
Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your daily writing and creative rituals? How do you prepare your space for these activities?
Marge Simon: First, I gather twigs and the scales of newborn dragons. Then I weave them into a nest bound with dazzling strands of golden hair of She Who Lives in the Secret Caverns of X’anth.
If I don’t have time to do that, I probably won’t write more than emails. And I don’t write fantasy. I was only joshing. In truth, I just get up like anyone else and make my coffee. Turn on the computer and my day begins. It often is correspondence, or involves work for the Horror Writers Association. Also, for edification. I usually break for at least 30 minutes to read the book I’m currently into.
If I have a collection I’m working on, I may play with some poems. If I have illustration work on the board, that’s for the afternoon work time.
Other: I generally get a little more writing done after 9 pm. (Also after my husband and I watch our evening movie. We don’t turn on TV during the day.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer and artist? If so, what (if any) challenges do you face? How do you rise to those challenges?
MS: I used to be an art teacher. I’d get home about 4 pm and then my real “day” began. But I didn’t bring school stuff home with me, an advantage of teaching art.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers and artists? This could be anything from a time-management strategy to an inspirational quote.
MS: You can always make time to do what you really aspire/need to do. Faulkner nails it best: “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”
Another is read, read, read. Read the good stuff, read for entertainment or elevation. Here’s the best summation I can think of pertaining to reading by Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines, The Shore and Willy.
As an adolescent, I read purely for entertainment, like most of us, everything from mystery and science fiction and fantasy to horror and adventure stories. This is natural at that age. It’s also natural that as an adult I have more sophisticated and complex tastes and expectations. Aesthetic pleasure is complicated. I read for inspiration as well as for stimulation. I read to understand, to grow, to appreciate. Art offers nuances and rewards: I read to comprehend, to honor, to explore. To be ennobled. Enriched. Elevated. I read to think. To encounter “otherness.” I read for passion and enlightenment. I yearn to admire – to marvel at the depth of feeling – and to experience something like religious awe at the powers of expression wielded by truly great writers. I read more evolved works, as opposed to best-selling tripe, for the same reason I choose classical music over pop songs. I read to transcend my own limitations. To experience the lives of others. To achieve epiphany. There’s pleasure in knowing. . .and excitement in curiosity about the human condition. I read to develop as a person. I read to live.
TLR: Is there anything else about your creative process that you would like to share?
MS: Once you develop a taste for literature, the rest will follow. Or so I’d like to think. Works for me! Many brilliant artists were/are also avid readers; don’t let their charisma fool you!
TLR: What about upcoming publications?
MS: My poems will be in an HWA collection to be published by Simon & Schuster, a Y/A collection called It’s Scary Out There, in 2015. Among the authors featured are R.L. Stine and Joyce Carol Oates (brand new stories!)
TLR: Thank you so much for creating the time to participate in this interview!
Marge Simon’s works appear in publications such as Strange Horizons, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal, Dreams & Nightmares. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, 2010, and the SFPA’s Dwarf Stars Award, 2012. In addition to her poetry, she has published two prose collections: Christina’s World, Sam’s Dot Publications, 2008 and Like Birds in the Rain, Sam’s Dot, 2007. She has won three Bram Stoker Awards ® for Superior Work in Poetry.
Photo of Marge Simon courtesy of
David G. Hartwell.