1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood? Or If you have a blog or project please describe the concept of your project, blog, website
Simon: In The Downtime is my second poetry collection, released two years after Death of the Suburb, in September 2020. It is a selection of poems written during that period. Whereas my first collection was an amalgam of all previous writings, reflecting Brexit, austerity , political turmoil, becoming a parent, living and loving but also the death of my mother, this collection travels a less angry path. The decline of my slowly dementing and widowed father and the conflict and emotions that brings as I reflect at my own role as a father. The imminent upheaval of Brexit and then the start of a pandemic. It looks at the thoughts and musings of a middle aged, middle class, middle of the road poet.
2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?
Simon: I write for therapy. To help me process the world around me. To see the world and try and put into a short, resonating collection of words. I spit my poems after they have bubbled around my head for a few days. Maybe I have seen a thing of beauty, or a nice phrase has popped into my head. I see it, I write it, it is released into the wild.
3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
Simon: I have always tried to be a writer, from failed novels, failed film scripts to less failed poetry. Now I am older I feel I have enough self realisation to recognise the merits or foolishness of my words. But ask me in five years, I’ll see how pretentious I am being now.
4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
Simon: Henry Normal is a brilliant poet, his work can have you laughing out loud to in tears within two poems. Brian Bilston is a black belt in poetry, his clever use of form and structure combined with humour is so impressive. He has become a more political creature in lockdown and still maintaining his wit. Within my local poetry circle in Sussex i know and perform regularly with a real diverse bunch of great poets, from Liam the Goth Poet, Meg, Kate, Maz and Liz and Chris. We meet monthly (on zoom nowadays) and to be in their presence inspires to write something new and keeps me on my toes
5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
Simon: Before lockdown myself and 4 friends would meet each week to create music. They are a talented bunch of musicians and we keep trying to create new music. Hanging with them frees up my chance to write lyrics and stick to a structure, form, rhyme and rhythm which i do not possess in my poetry
6) What is your favorite or preferred style of writing?
Simon: I have no real defined or clear poetry style, it has been pointed out that there is always some form of repetition within my poems, but apart from that I very rarely rhyme. I do not work to structure or form.
7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?
Simon: The world around me is my inspiration. Be it my family, the political situation, the environmentI find if i am away from home, on holiday or just sitting quietly i can be my most creative. My friends own a remote cottage in somerset with no electricity. If i could live there i would happily sit and write for the rest of my life
8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
Simon: I find writing highly therapeutic. If i am upset or need to process any issues, writing it out and putting it in a poem often will ease the situation tenfold. I hate the editing process. Having to check for spelling mistakes and punctuating something is very tedious!
9) How has the current times affected your work?
Simon: Hugely during the first lockdown i was creating daily. As time wore on i preferred to write less but of a higher quality. In the dark times is where we find the inspiration and in the downtime between the bad bits are where we find solace. As the world struggles they turn to poets and creatives to help them understand what is happening. It is our responsibility to show the light and offer hope and beauty.
10) Please give us any links, social media info, upcoming events, etc for your work.
Simon: You can find me on Facebook as Simon Zec: Steyning’s Poet Laureate or just find me as Simon Zec i’m more active as myself! Twitter at: @SimonZec23 Insta: @SimonZecPoet
I don’t have a website but you can buy my books from http://www.therealpress.co.uk or amazon