Q: When did you start writing?
A: I started writing when I was 16. I’d sit in my room and listen to bands like The Smiths or Depeche Mode and write about my inner thoughts and conflicts. But these were just ramblings of a teen, I didn’t start writing seriously until about 30 after a long dramatic relationship.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?
A: Women and the struggles of daily existence are my biggest inspirations. As far as writers, early on I was influenced by JD Salinger, his rawness and matter-of-factness got my attention. He wrote like he was talking to you, I liked that. Later I discovered Bukowski which had the same vibe, then Brautigan, Hemingway, Kerouac and John Berryman. I’m also heavily influenced by music, the mood a song creates can produce words in me.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: Anytime I’m inspired. There’s no magic time. If I do sit down to write, it is usually in the morning. Sometimes at night when I am drinking and listening to music words will come to me.
Q: Why do you write?
A; Because I am an introvert with an extroverted soul. Writing is a way to connect with people, reach out to them. I think as humans we all have a basic need to connect.
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
A: There’s a Henry Miller quote that says, “A moment of inspiration is better than hours and hours of push and pull” or something to that effect. What that tells me is, as writers, we need to let it come. Don’t force it. If it doesn’t come, that does not mean you’re not a writer. It just means you need to refuel, get turned on again. Live life, travel, love. Let it come.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: Are you experienced? In my opinion, the best writing comes from experience, not from hours in a class room or burying your head in a ton of books. Although, these things can be helpful and supplemental, they are no replacement for the actual food of experience.
Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?
A: Black-Listed Poems (2007) All Beautiful Things Travel Alone (2009) Black-Listed Thoughts (2011) Watching It Burn (2012) 43 (2013) She Poems (2015) I am currently working on a new collection which should be out later this year.
Mike Meraz lives and writes in Whittier, Ca.