Thursday, December 06, 2007

Writer's Corner

"I would love to love the world again... For the very first time." --Nobius Black

Nobius Black

The idea of having a life's work is one that has always challenged me, pushed me, tapped me on the shoulder and then punched me in the face. Sitting in a cubicle and completing tasks is not a life's work. A life's work is amassed when you follow your passion regardless of what you are being told. When you know what you should be doing in life taking even the smallest step towards your vision can turn into a major contributions to your life's work.

One man who encourages writer's to take that first step is Nobius Black. He is the editor of literary zine Calliope Nerve, and he is allowing this current contribution to literary world to expand and lead into something bigger. Through fourteen compact issues, Nobius has shared his vision for the literary world, and has been able to publish the words of many great writers, including himself. A project like this takes courage, patience, and above all time, and as a father of four he most definitely possess the first two, but must compromise greatly on the last. I wanted to feature Nobius to not only shed light on his wonderful zine, but to give credit to a man and writer who is actively adding a unique chapter to his life's work.

Nobius was recently kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): What was your intention when starting Calliope Nerve? What are your thoughts on what it has become?
Nobius Black (NB): I created Calliope Nerve because I was tired of all the snobbery and b*llsh*t in lit and poetry mags and websites. Nothing irritates me more than the stink of "I'm better than you." It's how I feel about my religion, my martial arts teaching, and really my whole life in general. I've ran work from professional writers, to a retired pest exterminator, to a seventeen year old cheerleader... and in my eyes all the pieces were amazing. There are so may amazing creators out there in all shapes and forms and I'm blessed to have been able to share some of them with the world as well as sharing my own work through the magazine.

The idea of the two page format per issue actually came from an "internet and zine" friend of mine James who publishes Non-Creative Garbage . He let me edit an issue and I was hooked. I'm also a member of the zine club and amateur publishing association APA Centauri, Calliope helps keep my membership there by keeping up my page count. :)

As for what the zine has become, I'm simply awestruck. I never in my wildest dreams would of thought that in just fourteen issues I'd have circulated copies of it to well over ten thousand people. I consider Calliope Nerve as part of my life's work now.

OA: What do you typically look for in a submission? On average, how many submissions do you receive in a month?
NB: I receive anywhere from ten to fifty submissions a month. Right now I have so many good submission I'm doing my first ever supersized issue of the magazine which is at over ten pages and only about 3/4 done. And though the change in format will be fun, I don't plan to permanently change it, a lot of people like the quick read feeling to the magazine as do I. You know --a little poetry to go with your cup of Joe.

I look for originality in content as my primary motivation to running something in the magazine. My own style is primarily dark and sur-real but I believe I've ran nearly every type of poetry in it by now including a sonnet, Robert Frost/classical type work, EE Cummings type work, experimental, and even some sci-fi themed poetry. Plus I've ran some short lit. Nothing is off the table as long as it's good, as long as it's something I feel my readers (and myself) will want to read again and again. I'm looking for soul on the page.

OA: In one of your bios you mention that you are working on a collection of your work. How is that coming along? When might that be available?
NB: Thanks for mentioning that Jason. I am compiling and writing my first collection One Nite Pig (Poems: New, Selected, Remastered) and have been for several months now. I'm a bit self conscious about my work, I keep trying to make the collection perfect which is what has delayed it. I need to get over that, it's a personal flaw. I'd like to see the book published in 2008.

OA: Why do you think poetry is not more marketable?
NB: Poetry is one of those things either you get it or you don't. Either you like it or you hate it. There are very few fence sitters when it comes to poetics. I don't think most people think of poetry as "escapism" which is a primary motivation for entertainment. I don't know about you but it's been a long time since Jackie Chan or Julia Roberts came jumping out of a poem I was reading. (However both Rita Hayworth and God {as themselves} make an appearance in one of my pieces.) Ha ha. Oh yea, and no explosions. People like blown up stuff.

OA: As a father of four, how have you tried to pass along your enthusiasm for the written word to your children?
NB: By example. My wife and I are both avid readers, and I'm an avid writer as well. We encourage the kids to write their own books, keep journals, and tell stories. And visits to the comic shop (another passion of mine) doesn't hurt either. My oldest daughter Kayla (who is 12) reads at a college level already. When she grows up and becomes a millionaire I've asked her to please support Daddy into the lifestyle he'd like to become accustom to.

OA: What's next for Nobius Black?
NB: I've got many fires going. I'm working on my next black belt and trying to grow my brother's and my martial arts school. The book. Lots more Calliope Nerve. I've got the beginning of an online business going. I'm hoping to be chosen as the editor/central mailer for APA Centauri this year. I started outlining a comic book proposal. And I just want to keep giving back to this world (for example many of my students I don't charge for lessons because of their financial situations) because it's not only what Jesus would do, it's the right thing to do.

Bonus Questions:
: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
NB: Years ago they turned my favorite coffee house outside Kent State University into a "Starbucks" so I've not gone to many since that time. I can't even remember the name of the place now but my wife and I had our first date there. I loved all the hippies, and intelletcuals, and just regular folks, hanging out drinking coffee, smoking cigs (can't do that anymore either due to a new law), reading books, studying, writing, playing checkers. It was cool. They even had a small library. I love Mawell House and Lipton tea, just regular, no fancy flavors, with milk and sugar. I'm definitely a caffeine addict. In fact, I'm drinking a cup of hot Lipton tea now.

OA: I love the music lyrics you occasionally quote as part of Calliope Nerve. How else does music affect what you do? Who are some of your favorites?
NB: Well Jason, I love quotes in general but especially lyrics. I actually collect quotes in my journal. Someday I may just create a book or website full of them. Words are so wonderful, so powerful, like magic. From the response I've gotten from my readers, seems you're not alone a lot of people really enjoy the quotes and wonder where I get them. I was once told you can't mix Megadeth with Lit. But you can. Some of the most profound thoughts I've ever heard have came from that group and they've been my favorite band for over twenty years now. Like I said, I can't stand close mindedness. I'm not only a metal head, most of the non-metal type music I listen to is dark. Favorite artists of mine include The Melvins, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Seether, Slayer, and Tori Amos. In recent writing projects I've quoted all of them and I've quoted John Lennon, The Sugar Cubes, The Matthew Good Band (I'm listening to them now), Depeche Mode, Real Life, and Jefferson Airplane. Music always sets my mood. It's a part of the writing process. I find it hard to write without a sound track.

You can find more information on Nobius Black at his website White Rabbit-*Black Hole*.


Nobius said...

Thanks again Jason.

Nobius said...

Jason, you rule. Thanks again. The interview is now up at the online version of Calliope.

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David Erlewine said...

great interview.

i'm trying to make the jump from coffee to tea but not so much yet.

nobius, you are very busy and that's really impressive how you keep it all going. i should take note.

Nobius said...



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