Have you ever sat around at a bar with your friends laughing about things like The Dirty Sanchez, The Cleveland Steamer or The Donkey Punch and thought, “Man, I’d love to have a drink with the dirty bastard who thought up all this shit!” Well, Travis is actually that guy.
The beautiful chaos of Travis’ mind transfers to page almost effortlessly, as in Harnessing The Spark, he takes us into a world on the brink of the zombie apocalypse. After being only eight chapters into the story, I’m still having nightmares about being trapped in my garage while zombie’s ransack my house. Travis is able to take subject matter from the far-reaches of the imagination and make it feel real in a way that most writers only think they can.
Even his short works are gripping. You can’t read Taking a Shot and not only identify with the characters, but also feel as though you are one of them. While Travis can make even the furthest fantasy of zombies seem real, when he writes about reality it seems to become hyper-reality; it’s like you’ve been in that situation before, you know these people, you know what they’re feeling before they even feel it and you feel it just as strongly as they do.
Travis is more than just a writer; he’s more than someone who crafts words into a self-contained story. He crafts entire realities and seamlessly superimposes them onto our pre-existing one. Whether they be love stories or apocalyptic war stories, if you read them closely enough, with an open imagination, you too, will be questioning which reality is real.
QI: Inquiring minds want to know who you are—what makes you tick, what grinds you gears, and what inspires you.
Whoa, that’s a question and a half… I’ll do my best. I’m a 35 year old Industrial Designer who grew up too fast and was forced to make adult decisions at an early age. I had no childhood.
I started attending High School when I was 9, able to graduate when I was 14 and started college at 15. I got married at 20. Graduated from college at 21 and have been working for the same company ever since. It’s all very boring really.
I’ve always been heavily involved in art, whether it be music, painting, performance or writing. It’s what fuels me. I also believe that being an Apeirophobic has influenced my creativity more than any single factor. It’s my own internal muse.
QII: Continuing along that train of thought, are many of your writings based on reality? Do you imbue your pieces with memories and parts of yourself; are they entirely fiction, or a hybrid?
Depending upon the piece, most of my fiction is based on my own experiences. Using truth and my own history puts honesty into the work. Sometimes, the inspiration is real, but the plot is too far out there to have any solid footing in reality. Other times, what feels like fiction is closer to the truth than I’d care to admit.
QIII: You’ve submitted several pieces to Tumblr Fiction, how long have you been writing for and do you see yourself having a career in the writing field, or do you simply do it for pleasure or therapeutic reasons?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. Playing a story out in my head has always kept me busy. My brain works constantly. It never stops. I must keep it occupied. When I’m alone or trying to shut down from the world around me, I tend to build a perfect world in my mind.
As a child, battling insomnia, I’d spend hours in a dark room, living out a fantasy of being trapped in a quarantined town. I could go anywhere and do anything I wanted. I could go to the mall and play with any toy I wanted. As I got older, I’d borrow cars. Eventually girls miraculously appeared in my quarantined town… we won’t elaborate on that though.
Point being, spending hours every day in a dream world, I decided it would be nice to start recording the stories. Reading them back to myself turned them into films in my head… At that early age, I preferred to read a story the way I wanted it to unfold instead of someone else’s fantasy. This led me to creative writing.
I’ve never intended to make a living from writing. I still enjoy it, but my motivation is to purge my brain. Getting it out of my head and onto paper is a release. I’d compare it to ripping off a band-aid and letting the wound breathe.
QIV: Are you surrounded by other creative beings? Do any of them in particular fuel your writing?
I am always surrounded by creative beings, it’s part of my job. I’m the Director of Design for a consortium. My hands are in all sorts of products and services. Everything from architecture to advertising to medical equipment. Part of the responsibilities includes dealing with artists and designers fluent in all avenues of commercial creativity.
Artists, by nature, are the most interesting souls a person can interact with. They’ll drag you to rock bottom or sit you on a pedestal. They never disappoint when you’re looking for inspiration (good or bad). I think it’d be best to direct you to a post
I wrote about working with artists…
QV: What other avenues of creativity do you embark upon?
Other avenues? Being an Industrial Designer, my hands are in everything. Architecture, product design, copy-writing, graphic design, photography, digital design, web design, etc etc. Figure in GetOffended.com and everything that goes with it, and you can say I lead a fairly busy work life.
Spending 12 - 15 hours a day wrapped in art, I tend to find solace in writing, twitter, tumblr, playing piano, and watching movies. Being a chronic insomniac, I’m awake 20 - 22 hours every day. You have to find many different things to keep yourself occupied and busy. Relaxing leads to thinking. Thinking leads to worrying. Worrying leads to less sleep. Keeping busy actually keeps me sane.
QVI: What are your greatest challenges in writing? Do you struggle with certain aspects of transferring an idea from your mind to the page?
Greatest challenges… If I’m being honest it’s finding the time to write. My life is pretty full at this point. Working 15 hour work days, coaching soccer 9 months out of the year, I barely have the time to devote to personal ventures. I’ve actually taken the route of audio dictation on my 3 hour total daily commute, then emailing it to myself to clean up and post in the evening. I’ve considered quite seriously, taking a week or two, heading to our condo and just shutting myself off from the world to finish a few things. That would be perfect, but alas, the best laid plans and all.
My biggest struggle transferring certain ideas from my mind to the page comes from being most interested and creative when I’m most vulnerable to my fears and insomnia. This in turn, leads to long rambling diatribes that repeat over and over. There’s usually a good idea in there somewhere, but I have to allow my coherent brain to decipher and clean up at a later date. Often there’s too much pointless blather to sift through and I delete it all, like flushing a dying fish. Sometimes, I say fuck it, and post it no matter what. Then end up pulling the trigger on it down the road, after I find my way to a recharge sleep and spend the next 24 hours cleaning up my own messes.
QVII: When your kids grow up, would you let them buy and wear a “Welcome to America, Now Speak the Damn Language” t-shirt, which you’ve said you’d burn the entire stock of, if given the chance?
This is an awesome question. I have two boys, 6 and 10. I’m not going to go into how they’re smart and all that, every parent thinks they have the smartest kids in the world. I can confirm that my kids live a life oblivious to my exploits. When the time comes when they’re making their own decisions more so than they are now, I, as a parent can only hope that I guided them well enough to make the correct and appropriate decisions.
I’d never wear one of those shirts. I’d never wear half our shirts. I’ll admit there’s a few that I do wear that I probably shouldn’t but that’s another story. Would I let them buy the shirt and wear it? Yes, I would. Would I be happy about it? No, I would not. I see parenting as caring and dictating at an early age. Then moving to protecting and guiding at a middle age. Finally supporting and appreciating as they reach adulthood. So far this strategy has worked out. If it does, I shouldn’t have to worry about what they buy and wear. I’ll just be glad they’re doing what they want and not what I told them to do.
QVIII: Anything else you’d like to add?
The only thing I’d like to add is that I’m by no means a writer. I’m only someone who uses it as a way to change my brain’s oil. It’s like spring cleaning for my psyche. Being an Apeirophobic means that my brain never slows. If it slows I dwell on the fear and can’t function properly at all. Keeping myself occupied with writing is a great personal escape from the things that plague me. It’s my own private Idaho. It may all be shit, that’s kind of beside the point. For me, it’s therapy. It’s a means to tomorrow by working through today.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Savage Imaginations Interview 9/2011
Link: Savage Imaginations Interview 9/2011