H. V. Cramond
MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t know if I could call writing a career because it’s not necessarily lucrative without comprising in ways that I’m not really comfortable. I’d be terrible at marketing or journalism because I’m boycotting practically everything. There are exceptions to this of course, but most poets and fiction writers I know primarily make their money teaching. That was my official career up until recently, and I’m trying to sort out what to do next. For me, writing is closer to a spiritual thing, or a compulsion. It’s something you have to do in order to be in the world in a conscious way. So I try to do it as much as I can and still make enough money to eat.
Tell us about your work in Crack the Spine.
“Lifetime” and “Sometimes Soaking is the Solution” were written as a part of a poetry postcard project that Brendan McBreen organized in July 2013. At that time I was recovering from wounds both physical and spiritual, and I had moved in with family in rural McHenry. I ate a lot and watched a lot of TV, as one does when at mom & dad’s house, and these poems came from that experience. I found that the only way I could write was with the TV actually on, acting as a barrier between me and the depression that was threatening to overwhelm me at the time. It was probably not the best way to process what I went to the country to process, but my writing life was really productive at that time with my mind swinging as it was between noise and despair.
Tell us about another project you are currently working on.
I have a piece coming out this week actually, in BlazeVox (Spring 2014). It’s the script for a performance text that I did with Robin Morrissey as a part of the Red Rover reading series. Another writer and I wanted to explore the idea of will versus other factors such as biology, socialization, and chaos; Robin jumped in to help me complete the project. So the first part uses a 10-sided die to determine the order of prose poems based on fairy tales. Dungeons & Dragons for life! The second part uses a paper fortune-teller to assign characters (based on archetypes), and the audience volunteers improvise using the lines and character traits given them. Also, I wrote Tenure Track: The Musical with Cayenne Sullivan over this past year.” You can’t see it in full yet, but you will because it’s awesome.
How do you react to rejections of your work?
You know an acquaintance of mine, who is also an editor that recently accepted my work, started posting his rejections on Facebook. I think we have to get past this notion that failure makes you a bad writer or a bad person. If you don’t fail, you’re doing something you’re already good at. That’s OK, but I’d love to grow so much as a writer that when I’m in my 50s, I can look at what I did in my 30s and think it was written by a stranger. A charming, egotistical stranger.
What are your thoughts on writing on a computer vs. writing longhand?
I’ve been composing on the computer lately. For some reason, paper feels too precious, and I think too much. I just want to get the zero draft barfed onto the page as fast as I can then revise. Sure, there’s something to be said for writing slowly, but once it’s on paper, I’m loathe to change it because my journals are for posterity, obviously.
What is your favorite book?
Mommy loves you all the same (how could you even ask that?)
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Neck strain from working in bed. Writing in bed. What?
What’s in that cup on your desk?
Rain or Sunshine?
Beach or Mountains?
Beer or Wine?
Additional Reading on H.V.