David Feela, retired from a 27 year teaching career, works as a poet, freelance columnist, and thrift store book collector. He earned an MFA from Vermont College, with undergraduate degrees from St. Cloud State University. His writing has appeared in hundreds of regional and national publications, including syndication by the High Country News "Writers on the Range," and The Denver Post. Writing has appeared in Mountain Gazette, Small Farmer's Journal, Utne Reader, the Santa Fe Literary Review, to name a few. For eleven years Feela served as a contributing editor for the former Inside/Outside Southwest magazine. He currently writes monthly columns for the Four Corners Free Press and the Durango Telegraph.
Feela has authored one poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments (Maverick Press, 1998), winner of the Southwest Poet Series, a full length poetry edition, The Home Atlas (WordTech, 2009), and a collection of essays, How Delicate These Arches (Raven’s Eye Press, 2012) which was chosen as a creative non-fiction finalist for the Colorado Book Award. A selection of his poetry is forthcoming in volume 2, The Geography of Hope: Poets of Colorado’s Western Slope, through Conundrum Press. He resides in Cortez, Colorado.
If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
I’d love to cook dinner for Russell Edson, mostly because I don’t cook and I just know from reading his work that he wouldn’t care, that he’d make something interesting out of the encounter. Edson surprised me over and over with his ingenious, surreal word inventions. Whatever I cooked, however badly the meal turned out, it would be my chance to surprise him back.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
I worry most that I’ll lose the sense of timing and poetic suggestion required for putting meaningful ideas down on the page, the ability to notice the metaphor or image as it surfaces and entice it into staying instead of wandering off the page. I’m afraid of becoming pedestrian in my choice of language and not noticing it, settling for the mundane. I fear losing my sense of humor. The only way I know to face these fears is to keep on writing.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
William Stafford’s work evokes a literary passion for me. I read and reread that poet.
What books are on your nightstand?
I always have at least one poetry book, often an author I haven’t read that caught my attention after reading the opening and closing poems. Essays and travel nonfiction interest me, as well as tales of adventure in the natural world.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
When I sit down to write, I usually don’t have a clear idea of where I’m heading,
but I spend time reviewing in my head the smallest details of the day I just lived through. Usually I find a path to follow. If nothing compelling surfaces, I go to my list of strange inspirations collected whenever they occur to me, usually at the most inconvenient moments, which is why I always carry a notepad. I am inspired by small things that grow in significance as I unravel the puzzle of shaping them on the page rather than subjects that are supposed to be poetic or praiseworthy.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
I like the colon. It reminds me that a possible pun lurks inside many words.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
I really don’t remember my high school reading assignments anymore, but having taught
high school for 27 years, I know I avoided James Joyce’s Ulysses, as teacher and probably as student.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
I would like to thank the sun for rising every single day, even if it didn’t want to.
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
Surprises, puzzling, memory, composting, empathy
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
Stop staring at the mirror. Write!