Lit.Org It's been a while since our last interview much longer than the two months we planned for the follow up. I know It's been quite a time for me, How have things gone for you since last we talked?
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Julian Well, let's see. Three years ago, we had just revived Candelabra after a three-year absence. Since then, I've left the theater for greener pastures, found the love of my life, and we just bought a beautiful house. Candelabra released 34 consecutive packs between the resurrection and my departure, and I'm pretty proud of that. I launched Fusion with fellow Ex-Candelabra Senior Leigh Brady, and we're putting a lot of energy into that.
Lit.Org You recently left Candelabra and started a new project "Fusion", why did you decide to leave after all this time, and what's different about this new project?
Julian Ooh, touchy subject. I guess that since there was never any statement made as to why Leigh and I up and quit such an established project, I'll take the opportunity to set the record straight.
Quality Control and Politics. Those where the two main reasons that I left the group. In the initial inception of Candelabra back in '95-96, there was some strict quality control. We had The Alienist there to review the work and offer his input to develop the talent we had, and I know that I for one benefited from that. In the later stages of the group, TA was either absent or not in a position to handle the workload, so the work was simply released as is. There was no real development (and now I'm speaking about my work in particular) other than what I did on my own. I constantly called for more QC, because the work was seriously going down hill. It was really nailed home when one of the writers decided to come up with an alter ego (something that had been done before within the group), and was rejected because the rest of the seniors didn't like the work. The fact that said member was then allowed to release the material that was voted down was pretty bad too. There was just no protocol for saying 'that sucks, make it better or nix it.' That's where the Politics issue comes in. The fact that all the Senior Staff knew each other and were in relationships was bound to have consequences. Some of those relationships went south, and the group suffered. By the end, it was difficult to have a meeting without an argument starting over unrelated issues. Getting all four of us in a room together was like throwing gas on a fire. Leigh and I had been getting the short end of a number of issues in the group, and had been individually targeted on a number of occasions, and were just fed up with it. We waited until after out 6 year party (because I'd put a lot of time into it), and then we called it quits. We took two months to organize Fusion, and haven't looked back since.
To answer the second part of the question, Fusion is a beast of a different nature than Candelabra. We've altered the typical format, basically in an effort to distinguish ourselves. Using a web based medium offers more options than a DOS format pack from 1995 did. Instead of releasing packs and then cataloging them, we've chosen to archive the work by the writers. That eliminates the searching through however many releases to find one particular work. We're also not claiming a genre. I've written some hard-core gothic erotic stuff, but my poetry for the group so far has been anything but. I wrote a 17 part poem about an alcoholic's love affair. Not the work that has defined my writing for the past six or seven years, to be sure. Leigh has been writing a lovely religious satire serial that originally premiered in Candelabra, but didn't really fit the mold. We don't want labels, because that would limit us. It's poetry, prose, short fiction, and whatever else happens along.
Lit.Org As a web developer by trade, the web is always on my mind. How it changes, where it's heading, these things often plague my thoughts. Now that you've already done one project on the web and recently started Fusion, how has the web changed things for you as a writer and publisher? What impact has this medium had versus previous methods like sending out zip files and loaders?
Julian I just touched on this a bit. After being so resistant to the web back in '96, I find myself lost without it. My original objection to The Alienist's push to the internet was that he was the only member of the group that actually had internet, so I didn't see the point. I actually begged people to courier the pack over the internet back then. I just didn't see it as feasible for the group, because we wouldn't be able to see the fruits of our labors. Now that it's the only way I do business (because I haven't called a BBS since 1997), I've embraced it as not just an option, but the only choice. The web has really simplified things for us. Sure, we have to code it, but then I was coding Oblivion/2 boards for years. It's not a big shift. I'm not an expert code-slinger yet, but together with Leigh's more formidable skills, we've managed to put up a decent looking page. My audience is also larger. I don't have to worry about only getting my work to 15 boards in the area and then hoping it gets moved around after that. I can put it out there, and suddenly people from Australia are reading my work. Six years ago, that would never happened without someone racking up some serious phone charges (or felonies).
Lit.Org I've noticed your work at Fusion Web is quite a bit different that the stuff done with CND, is this a reflection of a change in your life? Or is this just a place where you can stretch out of the boundries that were set by CND?
Julian I wrote dark and dreary goth stuff for years, and I can still come up with it. I noticed that as my talent level grew, my work started to delve into themes other than what was in my head. I have poems upon poems about feeling depressed or just general strangeness, because I suffered from chronic depression for a long time. I'm past that now, and the energy I channeled into writing about that goes into different areas. I've begun writing outside myself. Granted, I still write a lot about what's going on with me, but I've become more experimental. Around September of last year I started working in a new style, a more minimalistic style. I've done a number of pieces like that, and I'm pretty pleased with it. I still put out the older style, though, because it's taken me this far. I'm not going to fix what's not broken. The lack of boundaries with writing has set me free, too. The gothic mold is restrictive, especially now that Goth itself has changed so much. There's so much diversity out there that I can't justify writing to one small audience. I want to world to relate to me.
Lit.Org What inspires you to write? You mentioned that at points you let the things in your life come out into your work, but you also said your taking on different perspectives. What inspires you to write? Why do you write at all and where do you see your writing taking you?
Julian Inspiration for my writing comes from many different sources. Back from May through October of 2001 I had it really had for this girl, and wound up writing something like 16 poems about her. The fact that we finally started going out and just bought a house didn't do much to stop the flow of poetry about her. She's become a muse of sorts for me. I've also begun writing more experimental stuff, like One Year Under The Influence (Fusion 02/02). It has nothing to do with me, or anything I've experienced. It was just something I wanted to write about, and out it came. As for why I write, well, for the most part it's a catharsis. When I write from a personal standpoint, it's generally stuff that I need to get off my chest. I've been expanding my field of view in terms of what I'm writing in an attempt to better express myself when I write about me.
Lit.Org Last time we spoke you said you didn't really read all that much poetry? Do you read much of anything?
Julian I am a voracious reader. I'll tear through a 500-page novel in two days. I don't get the chance to read alot anymore, but I have just read three Dean Koontz books recently. Not to offend anyone's tastes, but those were the first and last of his books I'll read. I wasn't very impressed. I love fiction of just about any bent. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, suspense, whatever. I grab and devour books. I'm a huge Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance fan, and I've read most of the core sagas five or six times at least. I tend to read so fast that I'll go back and re-read a book a few months later and get a whole new perspective. I read like most people watch movies. You see it once, and then you see it again and it's like 'Oooh! I missed that the first time!'. But I still hate reading poetry. I can't explain it. There are very few poets I've read and enjoyed. I liked some of Poe's works, and the epic poets like Homer. I'm not widely read in terms of poets because it just annoys me to read the work. As for my peers, Leigh Brady, The Alienist and The Stranger are about the only people I read every month.
Lit.Org You've been a fixture in the scene for quite a while. Where do you see the writing community going next? The web has opened all sorts of doors to writers. Where do you think it's heading? Any predictions?
Julian I think in terms of the Lit Scene and the web, the scene is dead. Not to say that it's gone, but when I look back at the groups that were and what exists now, there's very little left. I think a real sign of the times in the fact that there is only one person from both Candelabra and Fusion that has any real scene experience (that being Myself and The Alienist). The rest of the groups had limited or no contact with what we described as the scene. However, the web has opened up a venue for millions of people. Just because our little corner of the world is gone dosen not mean that the whole idea has been taken away. I had dim realizations six years ago that the scene was fading because of the internet, but when you consider the new options you have, the audience that you can reach is so much broader. Where the old movers and shakers brought forth a great idea with the scene, so will new visionaries take up the reins and run with what's available. It's just a progression.
Lit.Org Most people get writers block from time to time. You said last time you write in spurts. I'm the same way. Can you call it up on demand? Or do you have to be inspired? Do you have any tricks to break the block?
Julian Writers block has been my bane on a number of occasions. I tend to write four to six poems at a shot once a month or so. Generally it comes out on demand. I sit down to write, and if I have one poem within five minutes, the rest usually fall into place. If not, I generally stop and come back to it later. I used to write on demand for BBSs. Everyone else was doing ANSIs for boards to get their work out there. If you were good enough, sysops came to you. I had big-name artists and sysops coming to me for poems for their boards, and I'd take the board name and hack out a poem in five minutes. As long as I have a topic in mind, I can generally hack something out if I'm in the right mood. As for the block, well, it comes and goes. I've had five-month blocks. I don't really have a way to stop it, though. I just let it run its course. My blocks ususally end with a huge outpouring of work. My last block was long, but I found a lot of old unreleased work to keep me going, but when it ended, I cranked out something like sixteen poems in just over a month. So I let it happen. Blocks tend to reward themselves.
Lit.Org Now that Fusion is running smoothly, what's next for you? Where do you see Fusion in say, a year?
Julian We're toying with the idea of expanding our media to include more photography and other visual arts. All three of us have been painting lately, so that's another concept. I'm very pleased with what we've done so far along those lines. The last two releases have featured artwork by myself and Leigh, respectively. I thought that added a great deal of life to the work we presented. I am very satisfied with what we've done so far, and it's really what I was looking for. Candelabra had become a much larger beast than I was willing to handle, regardless of any personal feelings towards members. I was instrumental in building it up so far only to find that it was much beyond the scope of what we had originally dreamed, yet somehow still unfulfilling. I just want to create, and if Fusion allows me to keep doing that the way it is, so be it.
Lit.Org If you could be any writer, past or present, who would you be?
Julian That's a tough one. There are a wealth of writers out there that I'm very fond of, but I can't really say I'd like to be any of them. I'm very content being myself and writing what I feel I need to write. I can't imagine being anyone else.
Lit.Org My dream job is coming up with ideas for things and people pay me for them. I'm not talking about a slacker job, I'm talking real ideas. What's your dream job?
Julian Creating something for someone who appreciates it. I've just recently been told that I've got the job of designing a website for Carfax Abbey (a local philly band) when they get signed and go on the road. That's a great feeling. Their webmaster is currently in the band, but when they go out, they want me to do it. As these guys are about three breaths and a sneeze away from getting signed, I'm ready to take the reigns when it happens. But that's it. My dream job involves working for someone who gives a damn. Throw in a lot of money, and it gets a lot better, too. But the money isn't everything. I'd willingly take a pay cut to work in a better environment.
Lit.Org If you could only get paid to write one thing, what would that be?
Julian Hahaha. That's a good one. Let's see. Considering I haven't made a cent off anything I've ever written, that's an easy answer: anything. However, if I had a choice of only one thing ever to write and get paid for it, it would be a collection of my best poetry. May as well get it all out there while getting paid for it.
Lit.Org I'm a web surfing beast. I surf way more than my fair share of sites. I always like to hear about other people's favorite sites. What are some of your favorite sites that you visit frequently or just can't live without?
Julian My start page is www.nhl.com. I'm a hockey nut. Everyday when I log on, it's right there, so I don't have to go searching for it. Another one is www.sinfest.net. It's a small online comic that deals with god, the devil, horny teenagers, and sickeningly-bubbly cute angels. Loads of hilarity. http://sinfest.net/d/20010312.html is the address for my personal favorite of the whole comic. Check it out, you'll know why.
Lit.Org And to wrap things up, I like to leave the last question open for you to promote your projects and just generally tell us anything you like. So, any last words?
Julian I don't really have anything major on the horizon other than what Fusion does to surprise everyone (especially us). We just won an award, so that's pretty cool. My first award as a webmaster. It may not be much, but it's a validation. Someone liked my work (well, the current revision is mostly mine, but there's no way I can take all the credit) enough to recognize it in an award. That's just cool. I'm content to let things happen as they will. If it makes me wealthy beyond my wildest imagination, great. If I never make a cent and do nothing with it besides write a few poems every month, I'd be just as happy. But you never know.
Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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