The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version: Jared Carter

(Interview consists of 15 pre-set questions. Authors have published at least one novel or short story/poetry collection.)

1) Why did you begin writing, and how long have you been doing so?

I began hearing literature almost as soon as I could talk, at about the age of two. My mother and grandmother both read aloud to me. Swift, Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Poe, the brothers Grimm, James Whitcomb Riley, Stevenson, Eugene Field, Andrew Lang’s Blue and Green Fairy Books. An older cousin told me stories from classical mythology. From him I learned about Pandora, Persephone, Jason and the Argonauts, the Minotaur, Daedelus and Icarus, Odysseus and Polyphemus, and so on.

But writing begins in school, or thereabouts – for those of us who are fortunate enough to attend a school. First you must learn your letters. Within a few years, for some of us, writing becomes a serious undertaking, and we continue to work at it for the rest of our lives.

2) What does your writing routine consist of?

By my freshman year in college, in the mid-50s, I was composing directly on a manual typewriter. Compared to which, word-processing, when it came along in the early 1980s, was like warp drive.

3) Have specific events ever flung you into an extended and productive period of creativity?

They have not. I am a tortoise, not a hare. Also, I am a hedgehog, and not a fox. See my essay, “Autopsy”, which considers the world of the hedge.

4) What are common sources of inspiration?

I don’t know. It’s always a surprise.

5) What does a book need to do to get you to read it from beginning to end?

Auden said that good writing should be fresh and inevitable. I agree.

6) Who are some of the authors you most admire?

I am particularly moved by Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Notebook, and by a book it influenced, Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs. Twain was never better than in Life on the Mississippi. My favorite novellas are The Aspern Papers and Un Coeur Simple.

7) How familiar are you with the literary canon?

During a long life I have been able to read a considerable number of books.

8) What's your take on politics and literary endeavor?

Sometimes you can shake oil and water until they seem to come together, but usually you cannot.

9) What are your feelings about formal vs. free verse?

I’ve always admired Bo Jackson for doing well at both football and baseball. And Benny Goodman and Wynton Marsalis for playing both jazz and classical.

10) Do you feel "flash" fiction (300 words or less) is a viable form, or nothing more than a writing exercise?

I regret that I am not familiar with the term, and must plead ignorance.

11) When not writing, what do you do for amusement?

In my youth I was an amateur pianist. I developed a special interest in ragtime and what is called “novelty piano.” I was quite fond of the work of Zez Confrey and other keyboard composers of his era.

At present I am re-habbing a couple of old houses in my neighborhood. Such work has its entertaining moments – as when you discover strange drawings on the plaster walls, beneath the layers of old wallpaper. Or when you retrieve an iron tool or a shard of pottery from an abandoned cistern.

12) What's one of the most annoying things you can think of?

The cell phone, in the hands of an inconsiderate boob, is probably the most annoying device ever invented. But my pet peeve is reserved for people who stand and talk in front of busy doorways, utterly oblivious to others who need to get through.

13) Briefly describe what you consider to be one of your standout childhood pranks.

As an adolescent, I was not very inventive in this respect. It was only when I left home and went out into the world that I really started getting into trouble.

14) What are your upcoming projects/works in progress?

Putting together a fifth book of poems. Adding new material to my web site,

15) Care to conclude with a sweeping philosophical statement?

This may not be directly from Gurdjieff, but at least it comes from P. L. Travers. She said it in an interview in Parabola many years ago, and I have always remembered it: “The way is not difficult. Only cease to cherish opinion.”


The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version
© 2006 by Robert Scott Leyse

Jared Carter Responses
© 2006 by
Jared Carter


About the Author

Jared Carter is a Midwesterner from Indiana. His poems and stories appear online at Archipelago, Centrifugal Eye, The New Formalist, Poetry X, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His fourth book of poems, Cross this Bridge at a Walk, was published in 2006 by Wind Publications in Kentucky.


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