Please tell us a little bit about your most recent work.
I published my first novel as an e-book last year. The concept started as a poem I wrote in jail called, Everything at Once. It was conceived as an ode to pantheism and everything that inspired me, art, music, movies, etc. I then started writing a series of loosely related vignettes. Upon release from jail I started making a story out of these routines. It centered on a character named Dance Harley, who was doing time in solitary confinement. He's learns to read and write in jail and eventually becomes quite verbally adroit. He spends his days staring into the mirror where he sees visions of an alternate cosmology and is led on a spiritual journey by character he conjours from his imagination. The whole novel actually takes place in a jail cell in Dance's head in my head in a jail cell. It's a very playful work and hopefully humorous enough to temper the heavy philosophical issues bandied about in the text.
What draws you to poetry?
Though I write fiction mainly, I feel like a poet at heart. I do mainly free verse and a kind of poetic fiction. My current project is called, Jump Cut, and it's a series of short pieces, poems, filmic routines. I'm trying to subvert artificial narrative structure and break free into new forms.
Are you currently working on any side projects such as short stories, essays, etc?
I wake up every morning and write something. I can always use it later if it fits with another piece. Sometimes I'll text a friend a routine off the top of my head and then save it for future use. I like to make YouTube videos with music, spoken word and various theatrical devices. I haven't done one in a while. Maybe it's time.
Which topics interest you the most and why?
I'm quite interested in Zen and Tao. After years of reading Lao Tzu, Alan Watts and others, I realized in jail that I was just treating it as intellectual pornography. The thing is, you have to do the work. So I really got into doing mediation, yoga and various mental exercises. Mind analyzing mind. One of the themes in my novel is that humans made up almost everything we perceive as being important. The calender. The monetary system. Politics. Religion. Sexual and social mores. Also language can be very deceptive. People constantly confuse the word with the thing and want to impose their semantic hallucinations on other. Eastern religion, ontology, humor, music. All these things I'm into are a search for meaning in my life. Maybe there is no meaning, but if "they" can make it up, so can I.
Do you have any unique rituals.
I listen to jazz and drink ginger tea when I write. I try to write like Miles and Coltrane play. I start with a simple modal theme and improvise within that context. Then it's edit, edit, edit.
One artist more people should know: Who is it?
It's hard to pick one. I'd say philosophically, Robert Anton Wilson has influenced me the most. He turned me on to so many other sources; Nietzsche, Gurjieff, Leary, Crowley, etc. I dig the playfulness of his writing and of course he's not above the occasional mindfuck or two. Check out his fiction works, Illuminatus and Schrodinger's Cat. His non-fiction work Prometheus Rising presents a fascinating eight circuit model of the brain based on the ideas of Timothy Leary.
Do you find it difficult to get your work out there?
Yes. I'm not particularly adept at marketing. I've been trying to network online and find people who are interested in similar ideas. I probably need to be more assertive. My stuff isn't exactly bestseller material, but I'm just happy if a few people dig it.
Tell us about your day job or your daily activities.
I'm currently not working besides writing and the occasional odd job. So it's read, write, meditate, workout and network online.
When it comes to your work, where do you find your inspiration?
I can find inspiration anywhere, a smell, a sound, some vague memory, a joke, a song, a friend. It could be the visceral ghetto poetry of Curtis Mayfield, the scathingly vertiginous sax solos of John Coltrane or the quirky character driven films of Wes Anderson. It could be anything...or everything at once.
What would you like to tell your followers/fans?
In the face of all the horrors of the world, the pernicious Machiavellian schemes of the corporate oligarchy and the international banking cartels, and the charades of the ridiculous politicians and religious leaders across the globe, embrace life, create your own mythology and always come armed with a sense of humour, a boundless imagination and a touch of compassion. And to quote Dance Harley, "Keep Dancing, Keep Singing."
This is what Stephen C. Gatling wants us to know about him:
I'm a self taught writer of post-modern, slipstream, non-linnear, mind-fuck fiction. I honed my skills and found my narrative voice in a jail cell. The seeds for my E-book, "Everything at Once", were sewn in that jail cell. I studied the masters, emulated the masters and then killed the masters. Left to my own devices in solitary, I had no choice but to write my way out of the prison of my mind.
The novel, "Everything at Once; A Hyperkinetic Ode to Pantheism" has been described as a series of nonlinear, multi-perspective stream of consciousness slices of strife, flashbacks, flashforwards and present tense Zen comedy, featuring several narrators of a dissolute pastiche of seemingly disparate vignettes fused together into an eclectic sprawling opus, where fiction trumps fact and effect brazenly mocks cause. Our hero, Dance Harley, enemy of mundane existence and literal meanings, castigates a nation addicted to clichés, attempts to slay the nefarious sorcerers of the pernicious Corporate Oligarchy, as he invokes a host of characters from his jail cell, to help guide him through the terrifyingly hilarious halls of Chapel Perilous and champions those of us in search of profundity in our daily lives. Co-stars include, God’s Poet Laureate, the shape shifting deity Proteus, God’s PR man Levi, the ersatz Prince of Darkness Lucifer, the Goddess Eternal Mary-Mary, with special cameos by the grand sage Lao Tzu and the artist formerly known as God. The narrative emulates by turns, a transreal neo-noir film, an LSD trip, self-induced psychosis and the highly improvised virtuosity of post-bop modal jazz. Consider that fair warning.
Purchase his book HERE