Neal Smith

Featured:  January 12, 2024

  • Who are your influences?

    I've read such a variety of authors over the years, and everything becomes an intertextual background to all my writing. Starting with R. A. Salvatore Dungeons & Dragons novels in high school informing my love of fantasy fiction, to Haruki Murakami instilling an interest in magical realism, to philosophy and critical theory texts in university (e.g. Roland Barthes), and children's authors like Jane Yolen for their beautiful words and adaptability to oral form.
  • Describe your artistic style.

    I like to write in flowing sentences, with plenty of commas (and parenthetical asides), constructing an admittedly lengthy and potentially run-on structure that leads on like, perhaps, a musical score. Sometimes not. I'm not drawn to firm conclusions, hedging my assertions, but like to give people something to think about. I tend to shy away from the autobiographical 'I' in poetry, as I'm (usually) more interested in painting a portrait of words, of a concept or a situation. In fiction, I tend to the magical, sometimes creating fictional worlds and sometimes writing on the magic of the real world, literal or otherwise.
  • In your free time, what do you like to do?

    In what free time I have, I focus on relaxation and peace. There's reading and writing, but also going for walks or sinking myself into the narrative of a good video game. Time with friends is well spent, and time spent with the self is vital to body and mind.
  • What advice would you give aspiring artists?

    There is time. You have the opportunity to try, the opportunity to learn, and the opportunity to thrive. The ideas of success and failure are important when you need to be able to afford to eat and sleep under a solid roof, but for the art itself they aren't really helpful. Distance yourself from judgement as much as possible and accept your own work (and that of others) for what it is and not what it could be. If writing is a goal in life, remember that it only becomes better with time and practice. Done is better than perfect.