Interview – Caleb James tells us about Drunken Pen Writing
Drunken Pen Writing is a nonprofit collective created to share unknown writers and artist’s work with the world. DPW gives them a platform in which they can showcase original content in the form of essays, short stories, and reviews. Caleb James is the creator and Editor in Chief and he agreed to tell us more about Drunken Pen Writing and more.
First and foremost, thank you so much for accepting to do this interview. Can you please tell us more about you?
Well, I’d like to think I’m one of the most interesting boring people you’ll meet. I’m the type of person who is the life of the party (I never shy away from making a fool of myself for entertainment sake) yet is more likely to be found in the other room, drinking fine whiskey and watching documentaries on YouTube. Of course, I’m much calmer these days compared to when I was younger.
My main focus now is absorbing as much knowledge as possible while perfecting my writing abilities. I’m an avid reader and will take on anything set before me. I’m pretty stubborn too—I hate giving up on a book; even if it’s bad or unreadable (Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake). This love for reading really helps with the creative process and figuring out different writing styles to incorporate into my own work.
My life is pretty settled now. I have a normal 9-5 job outside of my paid writing gigs. I live with my wonderful girlfriend Mindy and our awesome Siberian husky Nitro; I don’t know what I’d do without them (especially Mindy as she keeps the dog entertained long enough for me to get some writing done in the evenings). And for those who don’t know, I’m the creator of Drunken Pen Writing—and so far I love everything about it.
Can you tell us more about Drunken Pen Writing, the team and where the idea came from?
DPW itself only has one real purpose; to showcase the talent of little to unknown creators. We are nonprofit so we don’t make any money. This means you will never see advertisements, promoted post, or any of the other bothersome things you might see on similar sites. We simply exist for the love of literature and art.
We now have three in house writers: Spencer Church, LG Rogers, and myself. Spencer has been with us from the start as him and I have known each other for around ten years. LG is a new acquisition who actually started as a featured writer of the week, but her work impressed us enough that we brought her on board as our resident poet.
Now, the idea for the theme to Drunken Pen Writing came about for two main reasons: my love for the romanticized idea of an author putting their heart and soul into their work while mistakenly taking to the bottle for creativity, and the fact that I’ve worked in the alcohol distribution business for the last 6 years (I’ve seen enough things to write endless stories). The concept itself focuses more on the sophisticated end of drinking and writing (think of the work of Poe or Hemingway but ignore their rampant alcoholism).
The one thing though that really inspired me to create DPW was reading all of the snobby, pompous, boring pieces that are often times published in literary magazines.Everything seems so cookie cutter and unimaginative. I wanted a place where unique authors can have a voice too. A place where they can show off work that might be a little more experimental and unlikely to be published elsewhere.
You seem to be working on a few upcoming Group Projects. Can you tell us more about it?
Our current project is an untitled short horror story collection set to release by the end of November. Originally it was just a novella I had finished called Darkness and the Miner, and I brought Spencer on board just to do some cover art. But we ended up having so much fun with it we decided to turn it into a whole collection. This will be my first experience with self publishing so I think it will be a good learning experience.
I also have a novel I will be writing called Tomato Can that I hope will be done by the end of next year. It’s about a young boxer in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania who struggles with a poor upbringing and being surrounded by constant drug use. All of the storyboards and character outlines are finished, so I just need the time to write the damn thing now haha.
On top of offering writing tips, Drunken Pen Writing also features short stories. What can a writer do to get featured on your site? What are your requirements?
As of now DPW has open submissions for flash fiction under 500 words, essays, and short stories under 10,000 words. Depending on the volume of submissions we get, we hope to have one main featured writer of the week, as well as individual post with bio’s and a Q&A for authors of other work we enjoy. Again, our whole purpose is to give creators a place to showcase their work and make it so they get the attention they deserve.
The only requirements are that you make sure your work is fully edited and unpublished anywhere else. These requirements may change in the future as volume of submissions increase, but as of now it’s free to submit and guaranteed that we will read your work.
If you had an advice for writers, what would it be?
Keep it simple, always write from the heart, and for the love of God, EDIT EDIT EDIT! Proofread your work multiple times and make sure it’s exactly how you want it before sending it out to publishers.
For more information, visit the DPW’s website – www.drunkenpenwriting.com. You can also contact DPW by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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