The Writing Life with Joseph Davida, author of ‘Traveling High and Tripping Hard’
What got you into writing?
I’ve always been writing something. Whether it be music, lyrics, or poetry, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Maybe it’s something in my blood. My father was a writer, my grandfather was a writer… I’m even related to Stephen Crane. A bit of misery seems to be the common thread.
What do you like best about being an author?
Not much. Unless you are doing it for purely cathartic reasons, it’s a pretty terrible thing to try and pursue.
When do you hate it?
During the editing process. There are just a million ways to write the same sentence, and being a little obsessive, I usually try to explore them all. (Even though I usually just wind up back where I started anyway.) But sometimes, hating what you write pushes you to keep writing, and to try and write something even better.
What is a regular writing day like for you?
It depends. If it’s creative writing, they are not really regular, and usually contingent upon what substances I have ingested. If it’s an editing day, I’ll generally try to stay sharp. No matter what day it is, I usually like to start it with a bagel. With lots of butter. If my heart feels like it won’t give out, then I might even have some bacon. If the writing is going really bad, I deep fry the bagels in the bacon grease, and hope I have a heart attack to put me out of my misery so I won’t have to write anymore.
Do you think authors have big egos?
Of course. To think anyone should care about what you have to say, is about the most egotistical thing someone can do. But the truth is all writers are fragile beings, who just want to be loved. If your mother gave you attention as a child, it is doubtful you would want to bother with the whole writing thing in the first place.
How do you handle negative reviews?
I haven’t really had any yet, but I’ll probably be getting some soon. When it happens I’m sure I’ll pretend like it doesn’t bother me, and then will obsess over them until I question every aspect of my life and every decision I’ve ever made. My handlers have been instructed to remove all sharp objects from my vicinity once the book is released.
How do you handle positive reviews?
Haven’t had many of those either, but I’m sure I will receive them with suspicion. My doctor says I am a glutton for self-punishment.
What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
I don’t bother. I assume if they don’t know that on their own, there is probably a good reason for it. Where I live in Nashville, every person you meet is a writer or a musician. The only thing people generally care about is if you can get them a discount at the restaurant or store you work at.
What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
It depends where the vodka takes me. If I find a good Neil DeGrasse Tyson podcast on Youtube, you can assume I will not be doing any more writing that day.
Any writing quirks?
Em dashes—and ellipses…
What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
I’d sic my dog on them, and then ask if they feel like taking me more seriously now… Sadly, he’d probably just wind up licking their face, so it is unlikely they’d wind up taking me very seriously anyway.
Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
Sure. You can’t be passionate about anything unless you love and hate it. Most people don’t write because it makes them feel good. They write until the demons in their heads get so exhausted, they can only taunt you with whispers.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Hopefully lots of free drugs, adoration, and writing groupies.
Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process or about being a writer.
I’m not sure if I’m very wise, or a good writer…but if there is anything that matters to me, it is honest writing. I’d always rather read something true and from the heart, then something technically perfect, flowery, or full of shit.
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