Happy Sunday, Earthlings! We are excited to introduce you to one of our favorite poets and story tellers! This kind gentleman is a great friend to the #writerscommunity and his podcast keeps us on the edge of our seats. His stories, as well as others which he shares, are often mind bending, funny and light hearted. His take on embracing your weirdness is refreshing and inspiring!
Introducing York Campbell!
RL: So, you write poetry and short stories. Do you feel that you prefer one or the other?
YC: These categories are fluid, they are not set in stone. I venture between poetry and stories.
There's an episode that I wrote for my podcast, the main character is a Poet who happens to be a homicide detective he said the following.
"My job was to go in takes pictures and be objective, they didn't hire me to be a poet, however I find it hard to suppress my nature."
I feel the same way when it comes to writing stories, it's hard for me to suppress my Poetic nature.
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
YC: I have been writing for over 25 years but I started taking it seriously two years ago when I launched the podcast, Poetic Earthlings.
RL: You write Sci-Fi. What led you to that genre?
YC: I have never been a Syfy geek. Never been to a Star Wars convention or pontificated about the inner working of the Deathstar. However I'm always curious and enjoy asking the 'what if' questions.
Syfy is the breeding ground at reexamining mundane existence and challenging your basic beliefs.
RL: How does your writing rebel against the status quo in that genre?
YC: I try not to be held captive by the genre rather I focus on the spirit of the story.
A while back I tried to write a horror story, however the plot and the characters had a mind of their own, you could say they were rebelling against the author and wanted to tell their own story.
Rather than whipping my characters into submission I allowed them the freedom to take the story where they wanted it to go.
RL: Tell me about your podcast! How did the idea first come to you?
YC: My wife said something two years ago that I will never forget, "Lean into your weirdness, you Earthling."
I wasn't offended, I've been called a lot worse.
For a while I thought of hosting a podcast but I couldn't find a topic that would motivate me. When she said, "lean into your weirdness," I instinctually thought about my stories. Also when she said the word, "Earthling" it got me moving in a creative direction.
My show is about bringing people together from all walks of life, to recognize we have more things in common than the stuff that divides us.
RL: How do you find material for the show?
YC: Transit rides. Doctors offices. Warm showers. These are the three main areas.
On the bus I like to examine people: their mannerism, their accents, their dress styles.
Don't worry it's not as creepy as it sounds.
For example I saw an older lady on the bus clutching a King James bible and wearing a large decorative church hat. Immediately an idea came to me and I started writing things down before she exited the bus.
My best ideas comes from those moments, like the young couple making out in the bus shelter, or the homeless lady at the train station begging for two dollars.
Ideas are strange, beautiful and elusive. You always have to be out in center field with your glove open waiting to catch one.
RL: What is your process for getting the show ready for listeners?
YC: It takes 4 days to write the episode. Two days to practice it, and two days to edit and fix the recording. Before it's published I listen to it in all environments, the way my listeners would.
On the bus. In an Uber. Shopping. In bed, and even in the shower. Yes, there's some oddballs like me who listens to podcasts in the shower.
If there's issues with the sound effects, music or my voice then I will edit it again. On average it takes 5 versions of the episode to arrive at the master copy.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in book publishing.
YC: My book, Universe Splendor, was released by a small publishing company in Quebec Canada.
Here is the juicy part.
A group of senior ladies in a mall was chatting about their love for books. The Canadian thing to do is to mind your own business and keep your head down. But not this Canadian.
I walked over, introduced myself and said I'm a writer. One of ladies wanted to read my manuscript so I brought it to the mall the next day. She read it, fell in love with the stories and introduced me to a publisher. You could say I was in the right place, at the right time.
RL: How do you manage writing time? Authors often complain about not having enough time to write. Is this an issue for you, especially with the podcast?
YC: I have two jobs and my son has special needs. Thankfully I work overnight, when it's not busy I have the time to work on my stories and edit the podcast.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going from here? Do you think you will focus more on releasing books or on the podcast?
YC: My Podcast, Poetic Earthlings, will be made into a book with the same title.
For now I see myself recording more episodes and showcasing other writers. My goal for the podcast is to expand it into a community of writers.
RL: What can listeners and readers expect from you in the future?
YC: Expect me to lean more into my weirdness, to go deeper into the rabbit hole.