If you have ever been anywhere near a writing group or book festival of any kind, you will know that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from big, robust circles, to tiny, stabby stars. They come in different flavours too, from cool, classic vanilla, to eyeball-exploding, triple-hot chilli sauce.
Thrillers With Attitude is on a mission to find out what makes these weirdly-shaped and strangely-flavoured writers tick.
My guest this week is poet and radio presenter, Ross Beattie.
Hi Ross, thank you for agreeing to take part in the Literary Smorgasbord. Please tell us a little about yourself – what were you like at school?
I’d given up on school by the time I was 14 as other more important things in my life took over.
When did you start writing?
If I’m going to be completely honest in this interview I best start now. I began writing while on a flight from London to San Francisco during a time in my life when I was taking a lot of drugs and the 12 hour flight was a struggle so I started writing that struggle down.
Do you define yourself as a writer, and if so, at what moment did this first happen?
I only define myself as a writer when I write.
Why do you write?
I mainly write as a form of therapy and in a hope I’ll write something I’m happy with.
How deep do you dig when you are writing – how much of yourself do you expose?
I’m more exposed in my writing than at any other time.
You publish your poems online – how do you feel about the response you get?
Honestly it’s a really nice feeling if someone “Gets” my work. To receive a message from a complete stranger telling me that I’ve helped them feel less alone makes me feel like my writing matters.
Are you inspired by any writers in particular?
Camus and Bukowski
Best writing moment so far?
The next one hopefully.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got hundreds of unfinished poems so I’m always kinda working on them. Plus all the new lines that creep up on me unexpectedly. You can find some of my poetry at Black Poem Blues although it’s a bit of a mess as I’m not good at keeping on top of things.
What are your ambitions, writing wise?
Just to be proud of my own art.
What is your writing routine – do you have a favourite time of day for writing?
Didn’t a great man once say “Write drunk, edit sober” ?
Do you have a set amount of writing to do each day – if so, how is it measured – pages, words, lines, time…?
I write when I can’t not.
How do you write – longhand, laptop, typewriter, quill and ink?
Black pen in note books or on my phone if I’m out.
Any writing habits – music, particular place to work?
Music always helps everything so music is never not playing in my house.
What inspires you to write?
Music, reading, memories and pain.
Any advice for aspiring poets?
Keep writing and write what you know.
If there was one person, contemporary or historical, you could spend a day with, who would you choose and why? How would you spend the day?
Neil Young because he is a God and we’d hopefully spend the day getting stoned on his ranch. If I was in complete control of everything we get to do I’d ask him to play me all the tracks from his album, On The Beach.
A few quick questions to finish with. What is your favourite book?
The Outsider, Albert Camus.
Endless amounts as I’m a huge film fan !
I’m gonna be a wanker and say Too Rare To Die on Lochbroom FM 102.2 or 96.8 on Thursday nights at 9:30pm or listen again on Mixcloud. This is my radio show.
So much music! I only play stuff from my record collection on my show so go listen!
What are you reading right now?
Journals Mid 50s (1954-1958) by Allen Ginsberg
It’s been a real pleasure having you on the Literary Smorgasbord, Ross.
You can follow Ross on Twitter and Facebook and read his poems at Black Poem Blues.
Confession time – I’m a fan of Too Rare To Die, the programme Ross produces and presents for Lochbroom Radio. If you have any music in your soul you will love it, so treat yourself to a listen on Mixcloud.
LG Thomson is the author of Boyle’s Law, Each New Morn, and Erosion.