Hi Kurt, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about who you are and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?
I’m a lifelong resident of Connecticut. I grew up on a country road. As a kid, I rode my bike and played in the woods. I had three older siblings but remember spending a lot of time alone exploring, daydreaming. Life was a mystery and I felt it was my mission to try and figure it all out. At an early age I was fascinated by the inner workings of things. I used to take old radios apart and never be able to get them back together again. My dad was a machinist, so I think I picked up a little of his DNA in that respect. My mom was a stay-at-home artist—which means when she got married she put aside her artistic dreams to raise a family. But she channeled her creativity into the way she decorated the house or planted the garden or even in the clothes and jewelry she wore. She was a dreamer, so I think I picked up a little of her DNA in that respect.
Of course, this all leads to how and why I became a writer, and why most of my writing tends to focus on the darker side of things. Homelife wasn’t the ideal it might appear. My dad was a functioning alcoholic with a cruel streak. My mom was prone to depression. As a constant observer, I was more aware of the silences and the things unsaid. There was a whole world that existed behind my mother’s eyes and in the unexplained nightmares my father had that woke him out of a sound sleep and threw him onto the floor gasping for breath. Like I said, it became my mission to try and understand it all. I guess you could say I’m still trying to do that to this day.
Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Over the past twenty-five years I’ve had two novels, two short story collections and nine collections of poetry published by various small press publishers. All are currently out of print and can only be found on secondary markets. I recently sold a collection of short stories called BRUISES to Lycan Valley Press. It’s scheduled to appear in 2021. A short story in which I’m particularly proud of called “The Hole that Swallowed the World” appeared in a recent issue of Space & Time Magazine. I have a story in this year’s Nightscript called “The Death Bodies of Kanggye.” And the biggie is a nightmarish tale called “The Spring Burn” which will appear in an upcoming issue of Vastarien. I have a couple more story collections and a novel looking for publishers. And this year alone, I wrote five collections of poetry on topics and themes ranging from literary mainstream to science fiction to Lovecraftian horror to a surreal take on the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year has presented a lot of challenges for many of us. Instead of discussing those, what are some of your 2020 highlights?
Thankfully, my work wasn’t affected by the pandemic. I work for a small radiation safety company and we were considered essential. So, not much changed in my day-to-day life. I still went to work every day, except now two days of the week I have my son, who is five, with me. (Our school system is still teaching remotely.) We had an empty office, and my boss was kind enough to give the okay, so I set him up in there. He’s got a desk and a couch and his all-important tablet. For lunch, we get McDonald’s french fries and slushie one day, pizza the other day. It’s created a pretty close bond between the two of us—something I never really had with my own father. So that’s a plus.
Thank you, Louise! And thanks again for letting this non-Aussie take part in Trickster’s Treats.
Thank you, Kurt! It’s been a pleasure to have you. Also thanks for chatting with me and sharing a bit about your personal journey. That’s a challenging start to life. It has no doubt added the level of depth of your work. It’s great to hear something so lovely is coming out of this current time and you are building such a warm relationship with your son. And five collections in 2020! That’s a pretty massive effort! Kurt’s poems “The Garden,” “The Crowes of Las Cruces” and “The Toddling” appear in Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! , a charity anthology in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.