By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

The ability to write well is a gift, much like the ability to hold a tune, draw, shoot hoops or execute a perfect roundhouse kick. And like a muscle writing is something that demands practice, experimentation and reflection in order to improve. This drive to better my craft is why I write.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Bitter Punch is my second book of poems. This collection extends and expands on themes in my first book Transparent Strangers, such as the experience of urban living and the breakdown of human and spatial relationships. Bitter Punch is a collection hardened by age and well aware of what it seeks to accomplish through writing.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Accessibility. Poetry, as with any art form, is artifice. Let’s not kid ourselves: poetry is difficult, pointless even, to most readers due to its abstract, technical nature. Poetry puts people off because that pretty pile of words they see/hear is hard to get into, not to mention the misinformed notion that poets are weirdoes. But we are not—not all of us, at least. Poetry can be relatable without obtuse technicality getting in the way of conveying experience.

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because writing is fun.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Thomas Harris, Ira Levin, Herbert Lieberman, Stephen King, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Shirley Jackson, Terry Bisson, Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes, Patricia Russo, Bruce Boston, Dan Chaon, Matt Bell, Brian Evenson, plus many contemporary writers, mostly poets. Recent fiction addictions include those authored by Damien Angelica Walters and Nalo Hopkinson.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

My planned first novel, which I aim to finish by the end of this year. It is challenging because if it sucked then I will have a hard time selling my next one.

Singapore journalist Clara Chow will launch a collection of short stories put togther in a book titled Dream Storeys on November 6, during the Singapore Writers Festival 2016.

The book is a result of interviews and interactions with 12 prominent and emerging local architects – such as President’s Design Award winner Tan Kok Hiang, National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment senior lecturer Nirmal Kishnani, and Genome Architects principal Yen Yen Wu – that gave Clara an insight in to what were the imaginary structures they longed to construct. The author, then wrote short stories set in these dream buildings.

 

Dream Storey’s nine genre-bending stories include a touching tale in a prelapsarian tree house that is both old folks’ home and orphanage, an almost-love story set in an underground city, and a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style fable revolving around a serum that changes human behaviour. An action-packed epilogue reimagines the Singapore Flyer as a political prison.