Interview with Joni Bour, whose nonfictional personal essay, ‘Duct-Taped Boots,’ can be found in Issue One of Into The Void.
Why do you write, and what do you want to achieve in doing it?
I know it sounds lame, but I write in order to live in a society that often allows me to feel like I don’t fit in because of the way I look, or feel, or think. Writing gives me the opportunity to express the thoughts or feelings that aren’t so easy to just toss out into the air without first thinking about them. I hope that when I have completed a work and someone reads it, they remember something from it–be it something profound, or weird, or aggravating, or funny. It isn’t important so much what they take away, as it is that they have a small gift from me, that they can think about later on, or maybe even share with a friend.
What are the major themes in your work, and why?
The major themes in ‘Duct-Taped Boots’ is the same theme that you might find in much of my work. It always seems I am trying to say, ‘Hey come on, let’s not be assholes.’ I love writing about people I have known, or things I have seen, stuff that feels way down in the guts and won’t get out of my head until I put it on paper; Homelessness, power hungry governments, world suck. I hate bullies, whether it is a group of kids picking on another, or a boss looking down on his or her employees, or a nation sticking its governmental snoot where it doesn’t belong. I am quite sure I am a Henry Rollins ranter (as if), and once titled a story, ‘Fuck the Suck,’ but even though there is anger spread like glitter everywhere in my stories, there is also a staunch belief that kindness and empathy and acceptance can solve 99% of all problems. The other 1% probably just needs a good punch to the face, with a chair.
Why is art important?
Art and words in all forms–on canvas, with metal, in clay, in stories,or poems, or songs, are an expression of everything that goes on inside our hearts, and minds, and souls–what is more important than that?
Who are some of your favourite writers/artists?
Ok, I know this sounds completely ridiculous, but I love Grant Wood’s American Gothic. I just do. I also love Picasso’s the Guitarist and anything Vincent van Gogh, partly because it is beautiful and partly because I appreciate the need to either create or lose your sense of place in the universe. My favorite authors are the Dalai Lama, whom I deem to be the kindest and funniest human on the planet, and Vonnegut who is both hysterically funny and really quite profound.
What are you currently reading/read last?
I am reading Stephen King’s book on being a good writer, and I also have a copy of As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, I read it for a Literary Theory class and this story has just driven itself into my heart. I like both authors and books a lot and admire them immensely.
What’s your favourite piece in Issue One?
Hmmm, my favorite piece in issue one must be. . . everything inside the covers, and the cover too; it is awesome.
Where else can we find your work?
I have written many, many book reviews for a website referencing books about the Vietnam War, I am also published in an anthology titled Destination Elsewhere and in a literary journal titled, Oregon East along with three or four stories at storyhouse.org and countless articles in newspapers.
What’s on the horizon for you with your writing?
I am hoping my horizon involves writing about interesting people and places and things that will inspire other people to think something new, or act to change the world in some way to something better than it was.