An old interview

Cover Art by Selena Howard

Cover Art by Selena Howard

The End of the Road Interview

With Charles Banks, Jr.

Part One

What has driven CURIOSITY to the end of the road?

Charles: The book was set on the premise of Sophia, who is Curiosity’s love interest, breaking up with him abruptly; and the emotional aftermath from his perspective. He isn’t sure why she has decided to leave. He experiences anger, guilt, sorrow, and understanding while trying to make sense of what has happened. In essence, he really tackles his unresolved issues with abandonment.

The reader will notice that CURIOSITY goes back and forth between writing what seems to be very autobiographical accounts and generalized statements to depict a story of heartbreak and loss. How did you balance this?

Charles: At some points it was difficult to balance. On one end, I think it is in a writer’s nature to draw from his/her own experiences. But I wanted this project to be accessible to a diverse range of readers. So I worked with very concrete ideas that I knew were relatable to the average person. In the first portion of the book, the poetry is very compact, short, with generalized references and thoughts. Purposely, I did this because I wanted the reader to recollect on their own accounts (if any) with break-ups. As the book reads on, it becomes more and more autobiographical; probably beginning with the poem From Afar. There are other poems like America’s Next Top Model and Rich Girl that also make reference to my own personal experiences. It just so happens that those are some of the more impressionable pieces in the book.

Does the book have a deeper, more hidden meaning?

Charles: Yes, I think it does. On the surface, the book deals with an abrupt break-up and the emotional fall-out. But when one examines deeper, I think this book deals with the loss of inspiration, the loss of hope. As I read through the finished version of this project, I started thinking about it. I really think Curiosity doesn’t quite know how to react to this disturbance in his life.

Disturbance?

Charles: Yes, it’s like being used to a certain routine, or used to certain people being around, and all of a sudden, they’re gone, without reason. They just leave. I think it’s a very real way to react.

The End of the Road Interview

With Charles Banks, Jr.

Part Two

You mentioned Curiosity’s issues with abandonment. Are they still unresolved?

Charles: Did you read the book? I’d say that they are unresolved. Even if you become accustomed to the feeling, the reactions may be very different.

It is fair to note that your mother left you when you were two years old. How has this affected you personally and in your writing?

Charles: Good question. I remember as a child going through various feelings. I remember being mad at the world. And then around age eight or so, I began blaming myself. You know, I questioned if my birth somehow triggered some kind of cosmic plan to go into fruition (laughs). In my writing, I’ve captured my childhood emotions in poems.

Have those emotions calmed over the years? I mean, that was twenty-one years ago?

Charles: They have. You know, luckily for me. I’ve had some great people in my life, who have (pause). I don’t want to say have taken that spot, or filled that necessary void—because that void can never be totally filled. But certain people have come into my life and taught me certain lessons. I have a step-mother who loves me in spite of our bumpy road. I have numerous aunts who offer “motherly” advice.

Your poem “A Mother’s Abandon” was published last October, and the reader is placed into the mind of a mother who is contemplating abandoning her infant child. Would you have been able to write that poem ten years ago? Two years ago?

Charles: I actually began writing that poem three years ago (2009). It wasn’t until September of last year that I finished writing a draft of it that I felt comfortable with submitting to a contest. But to answer your question, no, I don’t think so. There was a great deal of objectivity that went into that piece, which is why it took so long to finish the poem. I tried to put myself into the shoes of a mother with that kind of thought process. I tried to examine the situation from her perspective. It was unnerving. I don’t judge my mother as harshly as I once did. I’m just honored that The Audio Zine published it on their website.

The End of the Road Interview

With Charles Banks, Jr.

Part Three

What is next from you? Can we expect more poetry from you soon? Or will you punish us all by waiting two more years to publish another project?

Charles: (laughs) I have a couple of other things I am working on at the moment. I have a chapbook in the works now where I write as Black Angel. At this time, the running title is Sinking into Unsettled Waters. I have a smaller piece of work as Black Angel as well.

Will you be self-publishing with Lulu.com?

Charles: I have not made up my mind yet. Lulu is very user-friendly, and I’ve been acquainted with the site since 2007. But I’d like to explore my options. Amazon has some attributes that I like. I would love for my next book to go directly to the Kindle.

– Dave Morgan for

Caution Tape Poetry

“Step beyond the caution tape at your own peril!

Just remember, you were forewarned.”

For more information about Charles’ new collection of poetry, END OF THE ROAD, please visit his blog at charlesbanksjr.wordpress.com or Lulu.com now! Charles has been gracious enough to allow us to attach an excerpt from his fourth book! Enjoy:

PROMISES BROKEN

You said that you would always love me.

Don’t you remember? By the cheesy romance

section at Barnes&Noble, you pulled me

to the side and whispered the sweet nothing.

You said that you would always be here.

Don’t you remember? You promised to be

near when my inspiration dried and I woke

to cold sweats and soaked tank tops.

You said that you would never leave me.

Don’t you remember? At Gate 142 on that

rainy day when you rushed a goodbye kiss

upon my lips, then ran to catch your flight.

You said that you would never give up.

Don’t you remember? You made me swear

to flush my colorful depression down

the toilet and fight for our love.

You said that you would never cheat on me.

Don’t you remember? But you’re probably

cuddled up with some other man right now,

manifesting into his dirtiest fantasies, I bet.

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