Tag: theadversarysgoodnews

The Monday Poem – A Straight Line Runs Through It All

The Monday Poem – A Straight Line Runs Through It All

A Straight Line Runs Through It All

by Israfel Sivad

 

When first I looked upon the morning in its light,
I noticed the sky lit bright with your solar flare –
All that remains of the passion you sacrificed.

When, at a later date, I once more looked again,
you transformed, transmogrified into the demon
waiting patiently in my corner as I slept
alone awakening only unto nightmares.

You are one and the same, no matter what your form –
a trick learned in the ethereal heights of hell.
As a devil yourself, you cast the demons out
with your words like angelic palms caressing my pain.
You have hurt. You have healed. You have killed. You have judged.
When I lay on my side beneath the Temple Mount,
I gazed beyond through a crack in the masonry
to see you revealed in your holy glory
and know in truth… We are forever only One.

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A Straight Line Runs Through It All is from Israfel Sivad’s upcoming collection We Are The Underground. This is the first publication of the poem, so thank you very much to Israfel for sharing with Examining the Odd readers!

Check out my reviews of Israfel Sivad’s poetry collections and of his novel, The Adversary’s Good News. He also took part in a great author interview!

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Author Interview: Israfel Sivad

Author Interview: Israfel Sivad

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What cultural value do you see in writing?

In my opinion, writing is the foundation of human culture. As one of the earliest means human beings created to launch their thoughts into the future, there would be no cultures on this planet today without writing. However, writing is no longer the sole means of spreading stories and knowledge. With the 20th century advent of film and television, the idea of telling stories through writing is perhaps even the most archaic form of writing today. However, there’s a magic that still exists, for me at least, in a written story. I remember as a younger man thinking that I wanted to develop a form of writing that couldn’t translate to film, that had to be read to be understood. I wanted to expose what language alone is capable of being. It’s an internal experience rather than an external experience. That’s what I want to capitalize on in the stories I tell: the fact that they exist solely in the space between my mind and the reader’s. And therein, for me, lies the current cultural value of writing—that space between the writer’s mind and the reader’s and how it allows one person to comprehend another’s unmediated, unadulterated thoughts. There’s no actor to interpret. There’s no vision to see. There’s only one mind reaching out to another.

Well said, Israfel. I love a good film, but nothing beats the connection we get to a book and its author.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your books?

The hardest part of writing my books has always been getting the words to form themselves right on the paper. Stories come to me quite often and quite easily and relatively fully-formed. The act of sitting down to write is something I enjoy. I often put on music to keep myself still and simply stare at a blank computer screen or piece of paper until the words come out. However, getting those words shaped into the vision I want others to see, that’s a painstaking process. As I wrote many years ago in my poem “Break Through” published in my collection At the Side of the Road—“Words come too hard to mean nothing.”

Quite. I get a little put off when I read that an author has released seven books in a year. I want to read a craft, not a formula.

 

What inspires you?

My greatest inspiration over the years has always been my own memories. My muse is an internal one. I look back over my life and wonder if all the twists and turns really lead back to here, to this theme that recurs, that creeps into my head, that plays its twisted chords of gunfights and shootouts, of falling, laughing back into bed with someone I love tight in my arms. That’s from a poem of mine as well, “Saint Annie” in The Tree Outside My Window. I never thought of it as being a simple synopsis of what inspires me, but as I contemplate this question, I’m coming to believe it is.

I loved The Tree Outside My Window. Read my review here.

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How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I prefer reading physical books. They’re comforting. They remind me of childhood and running away from my daily cares, hiding in my bedroom from the rain outside. For me, ebooks don’t carry that nostalgia, but I believe they very well could for future generations. I also prefer my books to be read in print form for two reasons. First, I love the new covers coming out for the second editions of my works (and future first editions)—I only have three second editions currently available: The Tree Outside My Window, Indigo Glow and The Adversary’s Good News. I want these books to exist physically for people to hold and see. Second, a physical copy of my book is launched into the world. Who knows where it will land. Who knows who will discover it. As far as alternative vs. conventional publishing. I’ve never gone the conventional route. I’ve always enjoyed the control I exert over my product as a self-publisher. Friends of mine who have entered the traditional publishing world have rapidly lost control of their words. I’m very afraid of that. However, I’m also aware certain avenues are closed to me for marketing as a result. Personally, I feel it’s the writer’s choice how she wishes to proceed. Neither seems to me to be inherently superior to the other.

I agree, Israfel. I think it’s the author’s choice to publish in their preferred format(s). But, I love that I can lend a finished paperback to someone. I can read it in the bath without fear of the financial consequences. I can donate it to a charity shop and wonder where it will end up and who it will influence.

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What is your role in the writing community?

That’s an interesting question. As a young man, I would have said my role was to be the greatest writer in the English language of this day and age (laughs). However, today, I believe my role in the writing community is simply to expand genres, to push others to see that there is more we can do as authors. We don’t have to follow existing conventions. We can create new ones, new stories, new languages. To quote myself yet again, from the story “Catatonia” in Psychedelicizations, I want to write stories that a giant can fit in, to challenge artistic barriers and reveal how they can be overcome.

I’m surprised by this answer! I know that Israfel is active in the poetry community and works hard to promote/work with others, so I thought this would be his answer. I’m inspired by his big dreams though.

 

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

I think the most interesting book I’ve ever read is Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. It tells a powerful story in a fascinating manner. It’s thoroughly intriguing to me. I don’t understand it, and I don’t want to. I simply want to experience it again and again. I love the ideas of this book, the tone of this book and the language of this book.

Oo, I will look out for this.

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Where can we learn more about you?

The easiest place to learn more about me is by reading the books I’ve written. It’s the only place I’m truly comfortable revealing myself. And in reality, my books reveal more about me than I ever intended.

 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

The shortest amount of time I’ve ever worked on a book was a year. The longest was ten years. I don’t know if there’s an average amount of time. Different projects require different investments.

I think this comes across in the author‘s writing. It’s honed, it’s considered. It changes as a person changes over a period of years.

 

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

Well, since I’ve never made a living as an author, I’ve done a number of things to make money, everything from construction to copywriting. I think if I could choose any one thing to do for a living other than writing, it would be teaching philosophy, which I was setting myself up to do at one point in time. However, life didn’t unfold in that direction for me.

I hope that life allows Israfel to dedicate more time to his writing. The world needs authors like this!

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I like writing with the lights off.

Enough said.


I have reviewed Israfel Sivad‘s poetry books and his excellent novel, The Adversary’s Good News. View all of his books here.

Review: The Adversary’s Good News by Israfel Sivad

Review: The Adversary’s Good News by Israfel Sivad

I’ve just finished the amazingly exciting adventure that is Israfel Sivad’s fantasy horror, The Adversary’s Good News. This considerably fascinating book is about death. And more death. It exceeded my expectations.

This extraordinarily original novel follows Christian Michael Anderson, a suicidal alcoholic and addict, as he goes on the trip of his (after)life. He travels with his guide, Evius (also the possessor of many other names), an extremely cool and laid back guy with enough substances to lead Christian on his way.

This novel is based on their journey, where they discover highly beautiful women (of all colours, including blue), incontinent old men, terrifyingly well-hung demons, torn-out hearts (both literal and poetic), dog food, damaged young girls and giant spiders.

Considering how radically outrageous this book is, the story is totally convincing. What I liked best were the remarkably powerful scenes, full of bright colours, tempting textures and overpowering stench. I’m actually not a fan of over-description, but this book is much steeped in it and it works. There may be the occasional sentence that I wish was totally different or omitted, but the read is a crazy roller-coaster, so it really doesn’t matter.

The Adversary’s Good News is a truly powerful novel by Israfel Sivad and I really enjoyed it from beginning to end. It’s an intelligent and utterly thought-provoking read, but it’s also fun and un-put-down-able.

The Adversary’s Good News is rich and detailed in plot; a feast for all the senses and I really felt involved in so many crazy and vivid situations. The character I like best is Evius, a genuinely shady guy with a possible heart of gold… but probably not.

Christian is very well presented to the reader, making him an easy protagonist to identify with. The story has a dramatic and tragic ending (an ending which begins about a fifth of the way in to the book) and there are twists and turns at every door, tunnel, corridor and bridge.

The Adversary’s Good News is a highly entertaining must-read and I really want to talk to other fans of the book. You need to go out and get a copy. I highly recommend it and place it in the top three books of 2017. It will change the way you see dog food.

The Adversary's Good News by Israfel Sivad
The Adversary’s Good News by Israfel Sivad