Are you looking to find poetry? Good poetry, like that raw, dirty kind of poetry that can hit you and make you question everything with just a few words? Well, I'm glad you've stumbled upon this blog!
This segment of my Author Blog Series will be a little different! For the first time, I will have video of the interview as well as--drumroll, please--recordings of our LIVE reading! Whoop! I'm so very excited for you to meet the talented Gume Laurel III, learn more about him, his beliefs, and his story, as well as hear his work.
Gume and I grabbed our cheap beer and seltzers and went LIVE on Instagram for a poetry reading! The videos you will be seeing and the interview questions you'll read are all from that night. We hope you enjoy!
Let's Meet Our Author!
Gume Laurel III is a Texas native, originating from the Rio Grande Valley. Over the past several years, Laurel has dedicated himself to releasing a number of literary works that highlight diverse characters and settings, specifically representative of the Latinx and LGBTQA+ communities. He currently resides in San Antonio, TX and continues to write fictional stories and poetry that is both timely and relevant.
Author Interview and Poetry Readings
1.) Why, out of everything in the world, did you choose poetry?
I feel like everyone has a way that they just naturally express themselves whether they realize it or not.
I think poetry, writing, the arts are generally a very easy way to express yourself. People that are in sports, that's how they express themselves; they're expressing their energy, who they are, what they're into, and what they're capable of--their talents.
This is just a matter of how I communicate to the world. I can write better than I can speak! This is how I take in the information around me--everything I'm experiencing--and make sense of it.
2.) What challenges do you face as a published author?
I feel like every writer struggles with the discipline factor. Half of it is naturally creating because it's just what you do, but being consistent about it is challenging. I have to set deadlines for myself to set a fire under my ass.
And then there's practical things. For example, I hate self-marketing. I'm always like, Don't look at me! I'm not a spotlight person, so it's hard to self market.
3.) What advice do you have for poets and authors who are afraid to take the first step?
It's just a matter of doing it.
Everyone has this shyness about expressing themselves. There's different ways to look at it and I think the most humbling way is that it's a very self-centered thing to think that everyone is looking at you. Nobody gives a f*ck. If you have a slip-up, they don't give a f*ck. They're worried about their own slip-ups, everyone is worried about themselves--even you, too, are worried about yourself.
People are not going to be thinking about you from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep. Don't worry because people aren't that worried. People are not as worried about you as you are about yourself.
4.) What do you want to see more of in books that you read?
What I want to see more of is the direction the industry is starting to go down. It's going there, but taking longer to get there in regards to representation. Yes, there's more, but it's still so disproportionate.
Publishers get excited like, Look! We have diversity! Look at the diverse characters, this diverse author!
Well, cool, but what about the other 49 your publisher released that aren't [diverse]? Yes, that one book can make a difference, but there are so many [non-diverse] books that are taking the spots of others that could have a greater reach. Two hands can do more than one. I think the industry is going in that direction, but still has a ways to go.
It's still a big who-knows-who club. All the people who know each and have been knowing each other . . . it's just not as diverse as they may say it is.
Gume went on to say that the industry is going in a poor direction with representation in the way that, for example, you can just have gay characters. A gay character doesn't have to have a gay storyline; they can just be gay. We don't focus on "straightness" or the "whiteness" of white characters. While there is room for the struggle and the experiences of minority groups, it doesn't need to be the focus of every story.
5.) What's one thing you wish authors would stop doing?
Gume and I began talking about how important people's voices are, especially voices of those in the public eye, so one has to be careful about how and what one says. He highlighted the fiasco of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins controversy and agreed with the uproar, but hated what he saw from it:
I saw a low of people putting her down, and then being like, Now read me! People do that a lot, especially right now, to get their platform, like what they're doing with J.K. Rowling (f*ck her). So many people are saying, J.K. Rowling sucks. Now go read me instead!
"We don't need to lower anyone to raise ourselves up."
Your work should present itself and be strong enough to stand for itself, not only by standing on someone else. I agree we need to speak out and make it known when an author makes themselves an illegitimate voice, like J.K. Rowling, but we don't need to make that what's raising us.
6.) What do you know now about writing or publishing that you wish you would have known in the beginning?
I didn't know that self-published books cannot be submitted as manuscripts to publishers.
Sometimes it feels like when you're fresh out of college and trying to look for a job. They tell you you need experience and the credentials. Well, you have the credentials, but what about the experience? Though, you can't get the experience if you don't get the job, so . . . I feel like it's the same thing with agents and publishers. They ask what platform you've built for yourself, but you can't build much of a platform for yourself until you get your work out there.
It's a lot. You have to self-publish, you have to do book events, you have to market yourself to have something, essentially a resume, to submit a manuscript.
I did that with 3 novels, so maybe now my fourth one will be the one!
It's just a lot of work. I wish I would have known more about it in the beginning, so I could know what's ahead and plan for it. Perhaps not have sent out my knock-outs immediately, maybe have sat on them for longer while building a platform.
Discover Game Laurel III
Browse his website: gumelaurel.com
Find all of his works right here on Amazon!
Follow him on Instagram: @tx.author
For more on the writing process from our author interviews, you can subscribe to my website: click here.