The HCR Local: An Interview with Eight Writers

Q: What lucky totem or creative good luck charm do you keep with you or at your writing desk for inspiration?

Frank Reardon: Well, even though I am not religious I have my grandmother's old rosary beads. They stay in my writing area and go in my pocket if i am away from the computer and am out with a little notebook. I don't know why I use them, but they are the one thing I find that's always around me when I write.

David M Morton: I am superstitious so I have lots of protection devices. In front of me is a pine cone that I brought back with me from a trip to Shawnee State Park in Southern Ohio, along with two buckeyes (not because of OSU but because I like them and they are luck), a quartz rock that I found when I busted my ass swinging from a grapevine, a plastic red bull (nothing to do with the drink), a smiling fat Chinaman, a tooth from my dead dog, two deer antlers, a wooden noisemaker, and a tiny birdhouse with my head on it drawn by my grandpa.

Charles Clifford Brooks III: Without question, there are two things that accompany any composition I tear out of the ether: 1) A moleskine filled with notes and sketches, 2) My iPod. I don't have a set time or location for writing. The urge hits me, and immediately I get it out of my crowded skull. I have a moleskine in virtually every jacket I own with another I fit into the back pocket of my jeans. I choose a notebook at random then sit down to tap it into my laptop. Music is essential for any creative breath I take. Music is mention more in my work that anything else. There are unscripted, practical reasons for both these instruments being responsible for me being able to get the ball rolling.

Taylor Copeland: I have a pink coffee mug that has taken residence on my desk. I use it all the time, but especially when I'm writing. It could just be my Linus blanket. I'm not sure I could write without it nearby.

Steven Gowin: Marie Laveau's great great granddaughter gave me a monkey's paw thirteen years ago on a French Quarter backstreet. I carry it over my left ear at all times ... Well, anyway, I wish it were something like that.

Rae Bryant: My writing totems depend on what I'm writing. They change. I don’t have a necessary item. My Australian Shepherd, Benny, is always close by so I guess he’s probably the closest to a totem. When I need to move about, Benny moves with me.

Years back, I found this handy little lap desk at Office Depot. It’s become my friend. It has a rich wood top and a black, velvety cushion on the bottom that sits comfortably on my lap. There’s a little dent out of the edge of it now. Scratched on top. I keep it close. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until one day, I couldn’t find it and I couldn’t write until I did find it. I tried sitting my MacBook Air on my thighs or on a pillow over crossed legs but it didn’t work. I didn’t know I would one day need a lap desk to write. I imagined I would be a writer at a beautiful mahogany desk. Stacks of manuscripts on the corner. A perfect cup of pencils and pens. My favorite coffee mug. Something witty written on the side. But it’s not about totems for me. It’s about body and movement. I’m a nomadic writer. Desk to couch to dining room table, etcetera. Sometimes I hop in the car and head off Washington State Park and find a quiet spot, roll down the windows and write with the sun shining on me.

Tracy E. Hieatt: I collect pieces of paper and cards with art or special meaning to me, and make a collage of them on the wall by my desk. I also have David's pictures and cards he's given me there too, as reminders of good times, love, and inspiration when I need it.

James H Duncan: I keep two items around my desk: a sparkling flat stone I plucked from the rocky coast of Maine and a piece of driftwood from the beaches at the Padre Island National Seashore, in Texas. I found that piece of twisted driftwood on my last trip down there with my father and we had the entire beach to ourselves, and it still has some sand buried in the grooves. It reminds me of going there as a child with many relatives that are long gone. A lot of my writing hints at a common human mourning for a lost past, and that piece of driftwood unintentionally ties into that, I think. It’s a reminder of beauty and loss, of joy and the dried remains of what could have been.


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The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!