with Igor Goldkind:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Igor: I started writing things down that wasn’t school work when I was still in grade school. I had a teacher Mrs. Atkins, in the 5th grade who has her class write a story as an assignment one morning for an hour. I kept writing and she saw I was caught up in the story and let me keep writing for most of the day until the story was finished while the rest of the class moved onto other subjects. I think I realized that there was something special, something important about writing things down that my teacher considered more important than following the curriculum schedule.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Igor: Everyone I meet. Every conversation I overhear. The turn of phrase I hear someone using in their everyday life. Literature is not sanctified, language doesn’t come from heaven, it comes from the lives we are living, it comes from what happens to us and our need to account for our experience and the truth of that experience.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Igor: I grew up in San Diego, California where I find myself again after returning in 2016 to see my mother out. I couldn’t wait to get out of San Diego and get to the rest of the world I had been reading about. I graduated from high school a year early just to get out of San Diego which was and to a great extent still is a creatively oppressive place to live. I went to UC Santa Cruz where I studied philosophy and phenomenology and then San Francisco Stay where I lived a couple of blocks from the corner of Haight & Ashbury, studied poetry and went to poetry readings with whichever beat poets were still alive. After college I wound up living in Paris, France working as a journalist and intentionally rented a room in the house that Henry Miller once lived in. Later moving to England, my first sold work were for British publications, The London Review of Books, The Oxford Poetry Journal, The Guardian etc.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
Igor: I try to generate meaning for the reader in every work that has been published. More importantly, I strive to invite the reader into the apprehension of the meaning of the words I write at the moment that they are read. Reading is an experience that occurs in the moment and all meaning derives from our experience of the moment we rediscover ourselves in.
Q5: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Igor: Every time I got fired from a straight job, or made redundant or had to cope with endemic, systematic injustice on an organizational level, I wanted to stop following order without meaning or conscience and work at what I was good at without doing any harm to others.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Igor: I’m a biker currently riding a Triumph Thunderbird 1600. It’s a large sturdy vehicle that I like to ride long distances. Riding a motorcycle requires a completely different focus than a protected vehicle. On a bike you are ultimately vulnerable and must pay attention to everything that is going on 360 degrees as well as be able to anticipate any potential event to a mortal degree. If you are distracted, you might die, if you lose focus, you might die, if you zone out, you might die So you can’t do any of those things if you want to stay alive. You must maintain full mindful consciousness of where you are, who are and what is all around you or you may die. I like to think of it as coercive mediation. Pay attention or you might die. That’s how I relax.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you would like to promote?
My latest work Take a Deep Breath – Living With Uncertainty was written during the pandemic lockdown about the pandemic lock down from a first person, experiential point of view.
It is the first work I’ve done in which the intention is overt: to use words as remedies for suffering.
The sciences provide remedies, but so do the arts. The ancient Egyptians wrote curative words on fragments of papyrus to feed their burnt ashes to the afflicted. Lacking morphine, Walt Whitman read verses to fallen soldiers on the battlefields of the first Civil War. At their best, the right words are more than therapeutic, they can be curative. Take a Deep Breath emulates this ritual here in administrating remedies for living in these times of crisis, in living with uncertainty.
“…in dark and mendacious times we need poetry because its careful, precise way with language is a form of truth-telling.”
– Amit Majmudar, The New Yorker
“Igor takes you into the guts of the pandemic and gives you a tour of the struggles and trials of the everyday environment of the virus that is stalking this dystopian pandemic world of the year 2020. Wide-ranging, he takes you from trans-global to the nightly news of the day that is rocketing past at roller coaster speed, pure emotive emotions so personal that it makes you sit back and wonder at the writing here and what you have just read”.
– Chris Vannoy – US Beat Poet Laureate 2019
A unique collage of fully illustrated poetry, fables, and philosophies, Take a Deep Breath, Living With Uncertainty, is a book aimed at the pandemic of crisis anxiety so many of us are living through.
222 Pages, Fully illustrated in Color, High-Quality Paperback edition.
• ISBN: 9798563450462
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Igor: Impossible to choose just once line, much less piece.
I suppose off the top of my head, I’ve always found the line that resonates with many people is “Fate is nothing personal”. That’s the level of ontological insight and understanding I attempt to prompt with my words.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Igor: Too many. Of those who I knew while they were still living… Ray Bradbury, who gave me my first advice on being a writer when I was 14. Then friends, Theodor Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, David Halliwell, Jeremy and then Eleanor Brooks, my first editor and Alan Moore who told me once that an artist doesn’t give the public what it wants, he or she gives the public what it needs.