Poet Interview: B. Diehl

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a neurotic twentysomething and somewhat of a recluse. Seeing me out in public is like seeing a mythical creature or something. I have a 9-to-5 job, but other than that, I tend to stay inside to read and write. That actually sounds kind of depressing, but I love it. Isolation is where a lot of my inspiration comes from.

When did you first discover your passion for writing?

I actually discovered it around age four or five. It’s awesome: I used to hand-write these short stories on computer paper. I’d write a story, scribble in some artwork with crayons, and staple the pages together. I still have a lot of them. One is called “The Big Bubble That Floated to Florida.” It’s just funny. I didn’t really get into poetry until 2013, but that is what I stick to now.

When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

It’s hard to say when I write, but I write in my bedroom at my parents’ house. It’s the room I grew up in and it’s associated with tons of memories, which really triggers creative thought for me. When you’re a writer, it’s hard to have a set-in-stone schedule because inspiration isn’t usually consistent. I do write at least a little bit on a daily basis, but hardly ever at the same hour. It seems so random. Oftentimes, poems pop into my head at my job. I have to stop what I’m doing to write them down on sticky notes and my co-workers give me weird looks. I never sit down at my computer and say, “Ah, time to get creative.” The poems find me; I don’t find them.

How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your advice?

Some days, I feel like I can write through the blocks. Willpower, at times, can help you surpass it. Other times, not so much. My advice would be to take a walk, read stuff by other poets, and participate in mundane tasks: do laundry or watch some golf on TV. Your brain will be so bored that it’ll start turning absolutely nothing into creative poetry material.

What is your favorite poem that you have written and why?

Probably “Car Trouble.”

What inspired you to write this poem?

I spent most of 2014 being absolutely torn up inside over some girl. I’m a stereotypical Pisces and still a teenager at heart. I could lose my job and my bank account could be drained of everything in it and I’ll get over all of that in a week. But I don’t handle breakups well. When I lose someone, I feel like the world is ending –– and I do mean that literally. “Car Trouble” was the poem I wrote after telling myself, “Just let it all out.” It was painful to write, obviously, but I felt a lot better afterwards.

Where do you get your ideas for your poems?

Personal experience. None of my poems are exactly fictional. The narrator in almost every poem I’ve written is myself. For me, writing poetry is just like keeping a diary, but its more artsy.

Which do you enjoy more: poetry or fiction?

I definitely enjoy both, but I’d say I enjoy poetry more. I have a short attention span.

Do you have plans for a book?

Yeah, I do! It’s being proofread as we speak, by a good friend of mine. And then I’ll be doing some editing and maybe trimming the fat (removing the poems that suck). I’ll be making an official announcement soon.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Like I said, some topics are painful to write about. But you do it anyway for relief and because you know it’ll make for some great literary material. It’s always worth it.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

I’d say the best part about being a writer is this: when something terrible happens, I can at least say, “Well, this is unfortunate, but thanks, universe. I can now write an immortal poem.” The best poetry always comes out during my darkest days.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I promote my writing, read work by others writers, hang out with my cats, and eat food.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d say Charles Bukowski because his book, Love is a Dog From Hell, is what initially got me obsessed with poetry. But Bukowski hated everyone, so maybe I’d pick Billy Collins. I mean, Billy Collins is great and he’s also still alive, so that would probably make more sense anyway.

What books are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading Evidence by Mary Oliver. That probably sounds funny because her poetry is so optimistic, whereas mine tends to come off as pessimistic (and, at times, even nihilistic). But I like to cleanse my palate when I can. Mary Oliver is very talented.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Well, even though my first book is a collection of poems, most of them are about my life. My book is called Zeller’s Alley.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I’d probably be a vocalist in a hardcore punk band. I live for self-expression and I believe that business is the Devil’s work, for the most part. Art is godlike.

Have you attending any poetry readings or writing workshops in your community? If so, can you please describe your experience?

There are so many incredible things always happening in the Lehigh Valley. For anyone who lives nearby, I’d highly recommend checking out Connexions Gallery. I love small places like that. To me, they just make every experience more personal. You feel connected, in a way, to everyone there because the crowds aren’t particularly huge. For a more theatrical experience, you might want to go to Philadelphia.

What motto, quote, or saying do you live by? Why?

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – Charles Bukowski. I mean, think about it. How much more meaning could a single sentence possibly have? That quote is fantastic.

Do you have any upcoming projects, tours, events, or announcements that you would like to share with our readers?

I’m still figuring out the details of a few upcoming events. To anyone reading, I’d just like to say…please keep in touch with me via social media if you’re interested. I post updates as often as I can.

Can you tell us where people can find you? Website, social media, blog, etc.

My official website will be launched within the next month or two. But I am a total social media addict. Here are my links: facebook.com/B.DiehlPoetry, goodreads.com/iambrandondiehl, twitter.com/iambrandondiehl, instagram.com/iambrandondiehl, & iambrandondiehl.tumblr.com!

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. What final thought and/or message would you like to leave with our readers?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Stay awesome. I will see you soon.

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