How does inspiration strike you? Mostly by jotting down every inane thought and figuring out which ones don't go away. I think this story started with something like "A tree. But teeth?" That's pretty standard. I've started to find the ideas I can't seem to let go: summer camp, scared little boys, men and the ways we hurt. Reading seems to help. Writing's even better. Writing often is ideal. For what purpose do you write?
I have questions that I don't know how to ask and I certainly don't know how to answer. Writing is the only way I've found to put those questions into words without feeling like a complete doofus. Writing is so hard, but the joy of it. I mean—there's such joy. How else do you find that and people to share in it? Is there a certain process you go through while writing?
Often my writing process goes something like this: An idea! Brilliant! No, that's terrible. Unless... Usually an image comes first. Sometimes a first line or (miracle of miracles) a title. Sometimes, I don't even know what I've said or started until it's over, if then. Practically speaking, I like to start longhand and migrate to digital. Most important, I've glommed onto a group of brilliant and honest writers who make me feel much smarter than I am. And, of course - where do you see magic in everyday life?
Teeth--obviously--but also summer camp, obscenely large snowflakes, phlegm, discarded cat claws, my partner, robot vacuums, near and distant stars, the lies we tell ourselves, skin, geodes, terrible puns, the taste of hose water...Is it too cliché to say everywhere? I think it is probably, but there's some magic in that too.
Mike Keller-Wilson lives, writes, and teaches in Iowa City, Iowa. He received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has been published in Arcturus Magazine. In his day job, he teaches writing and dad jokes to a captive audience of 7th graders. You can find him on Twitter @Mike3Stars.