Friday Feature: Interview with Jamie Davey
Each week, the editors of Jenny Magazine sit down with either fellow literary magazine editors or past Jenny contributors for short interviews. This week’s interview is with Jamie Davey, a past contributor of Jenny Magazine.
Describe your first publication. Where was it, when, and what was the piece about? How old were you at the time and how did it feel?
My first official publication was actually in Jenny Magazine, in the Spring Issue of 2012. I was 21 at the time, and up until that moment, aside from winning several creative writing contests at my high school in the past, I had only ever wrote for myself and by assignment in creative writing workshops. So the publication of “Blueberry Pie with Jet-Puffed Cream,” a short story I wrote about the freedom found in hallucinations, was exciting to part away with.
What inspired your piece in the Jenny?
There are two pieces, actually. The first one, Blueberry Pie with Jet-Puffed Cream, was inspired by my grandfather’s delirium while hospital bound. There was a period of time where he would constantly mumble on and on about riding horses, and exploring open fields. All of this was news to my mom and aunts at the time. He was very persistent. So whether it was a real memory from his childhood in Italy that he never shared, the medicine, or the illness itself that brought it about, we’ll never know. Regardless of the answer, I decided to capture and explore that moment in fiction.
My creative nonfiction piece, “Veins in Metal Frames,” which was published in the Fall 2013 issue, was inspired by the demolition of the Paramount Theatre in downtown Youngstown, and the bystanders I stumbled past that night. Ruins hold stories, and so do people. Combine the two and I couldn’t not write about it.
What got you into writing?
Childhood boredom, believe it or not. My younger brother and I were scouring our brains for something new to do, lying on the floor beside my bed, a place I had then deemed my “thinking chair.” I couldn’t have been no older than 12, my brother 10. Growing up with only brothers gave me a slight competitive nature. I wanted a competition, something I had a chance in. So I decided, hey, let’s have a writing competition. Best story wins, as judged by our parents. I think the goal was to fill an entire notebook which was extremely daunting at the time. Eventually my brother gave up and I didn’t. I was instantly hooked in the world I created. It was a wonderful feeling.
What do you like writing the most? Is there a certain style you prefer?
Honestly anything. I jump around a lot, which is probably why I never get anything done. If it’s not fiction I’m writing, it’s nonfiction, or a cross hybrid between the two. Did I mention screenwriting? I do that occasionally as well. And most recently it’s been poetry, which I found bleeds a lot into all three. The style I choose in the end just depends on the story that’s trying to be told, which is almost always dark and psychological in nature.
What are your influences? Who are your favorite writers?
I don’t really have a favorite writer, or one who influences me per se. I’ve always enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath and Poe, Hawthorne even. I like Chuck Palahniuk and John Green, to add a couple non-classic writers to the mix. In terms of influences on my writing, however, I think music influences my writing more than any author ever has.
What’s your proudest moment as an author?
My proudest moment wasn’t landing a publication or winning a writing competition. It was finding an old short story I wrote entitled “Memories We Left Behind” stashed in my grandparent’s closet shortly after they had both passed away. It was hole punched and pinned. I even put a silly colorful frame on the cover page. The fact that they had kept it after all these years really meant a lot to me, especially considering its less than polished ways.
How has your writing developed over time?
Greatly, I’d like to think. Looking back at the things I wrote in the past, back before I had the slightest clue as to what the hell I was doing, makes me want to gag. There should be construction cones and crime scene tape all over it. Creative writing workshops have helped tremendously. While my fiction classes opened my eyes to the errors of my ways, my poetry workshops were the ones that really spoke to me the most. I credit them for the poetic flavor that has since taken over and shaped my writing into what it is today.
Are you currently working on anything?
Yes, a few poems and a novel — or rather I’m entertaining the idea of a novel. I’m constantly reworking ideas for it. I have yet to actually take the plunge.
What’s your writing process?
Six parts coffee, four parts staring off into space while my mind obsesses over the current object of its affection. It’s almost always a powerful image that comes to mind and I toy with it repeatedly. Sometimes it’s just a heavy line in the case of poetry, one that sings and demands closure. From then on things tend to get scary because I’m a perfectionist that, dare I say, edits as I go. So it’s often a slow, grueling process. But I find that if I’m ever stuck, re-obsessing over the image or the situation that first initially drew me in — while potentially unhealthy — helps.
What are you currently reading?
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water: A Memoir.
Are you a past Jenny contributor or an editor at a literary magazine and interested in an interview? Send us an email.