Profile; David Elias

Our Writer-In-Residence David Elias is an invaluable asset to emerging writers at RRC. I met with him on Monday, November 28, and I found his notes and comments both constructive and illuminating. I can honestly say Elias showed me things about my own work that I hadn't fully noticed. I would recommend that all who put pen to paper in fabricating flourishes meet with this man, share words with him.

1. What are some of your literary works? What is it about them you enjoy?
DE: I have a fondness for American novels and short stories. There is an honesty about them I value. The writing of people like William Saroyan, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinback, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

2. What persuaded you to choose writing as a career, considering success is much easier achieved in other fields?
DE: Things always came easy to me, and this was the first really hard thing I decided to try and do. I needed the challenge.

3. How do you differentiate between ideas you wish to pursue and ideas you discard?
DE: Good question. Trial and error, mostly. Instinct plays a big part. And cowardice. Also practical consideration. But mostly it comes down to passion.

4. What are your published works, and those you have in progress?
DE: Four books (Crossing The Line, 1992; Places of Grace, 1997; Sunday Afternoon, 2004; Waiting For Elvis, 2008), lots of other stuff.

Right now I'm working on a novel that's a combination of historical fiction and post-Freudian thought.

5. What other creative arts do you dabble in?
DE: I sing bass in a large chorus and perform regularly with the symphony orchestra. I have a small recording studio I use to sing and play various types of music.

6. What future ambitions have you for your writing?
DE: The Nobel Prize. What else?!

7. What recommendations would you make to writers who see no avenue for their passion but don't want to relinquish it?
DE: Make sacrifices. Big and little. Just do it. If you want to be a writer you must write - a lot and often. There's no other way.

8. How do you feel about the apparent fact that writing isn't presented often as an occupational pursuit?
DE: That's okay. Neither is the idea of becoming a brain surgeon, which is a lot easier!

9. What has your latest inspiration been?
DE: The music of Tobias Hume. A fascinating seventeenth century composer and soldier - a combination I've not come across before.

10. What life experiences bleed into your writing?
DE: Pretty much all of it. Someone once said it's easy to write - you just need to sit down at your desk and open a vein.
- Walter Wellesley 'Red' Smith said that.

11. Where do your characters come from? Do they ever reappear?
DE: Real life. History. The movies. Dreams. Imagination. Desire. Fear. And yes, some of them insist on making their way into my writing again and again.

12. How vicious of a self-editor are you?
DE: A pit bull with a mood disorder that hasn't eaten for three days! It's necessary.


Adam said...
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Dylan H. said...

David Elias is a smart, smart man.

It's great to see how big of a role music plays in his life and writing. I also spoke to him about some of my writing and he made a reference to The Doors' song, "People are Strange."

I've always thought Jim Morrison was the Tobias Hume of the 20th century.

Adam said...

I always thought Tobias Hume was the Genghis Khan of the 17th century.

TerrynS said...

Fascinating Chuka, thanks for posting this.

Kenton Larsen said...

Awesome! I always thought Adam Campbell was the Tobias Hume of the 21st Century.

Thanks for a rollicking semester one!

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