We feature local literary star Paul Edward Costa in this installment of our Modern Artist series.
He's been nominated for a MARTY, has a strong collection of published work, is active within the community and part of the arts community in Peel region, to name a few.
How long have you been writing for?
I’ve been writing as I currently am for about six years, but I wrote a lot of poetry and song lyrics (when I was in a band) before that. If I include that time period, it’s about 12 years.
What's your method to overcome writer's block?
I almost always have a big enough backlog of ideas that “what am I going to write next?” is never really a question. Second, I view writing consistently and always reading works by other writers like athletic training. Also, if I do not have the energy or focus levels to write something new, I will revise and do re-writes on a piece that needs editing.
When were you first published and what was the piece?
My first published poem was “Revenants of the Ocean’s Hourglass” in a free arts magazine at York University called “MacMedia”. My first published piece of prose was “The Chronicle of Everything” in the magazine “Timber Journal”, which is put out by the University of Colorado.
You're very active in the literary scene. How has being active helped you grow as a writer/artist?
I think it’s an artist’s duty to support and promote other artists, particularly the local grassroots artisans that are often overlooked, or who may not have the confidence yet to fully express themselves. Being active in this world helps me because it connects me with opportunities, it regularly exposes me to viewpoints other than my own, and (sorry I have no other term to express this) it keeps my head from disappearing up my own a**.
Who are three of your artistic influences and why?
Samuel Beckett was a huge influence in how he emphasized minimalism and reduction, the late Harlan Ellison (R.I.P.) was an influence in how passionately he believed in the integrity of the craft, and Tom Clancy influenced me by showing the visceral, thrilling benefits of popular genre fiction such as techno-thrillers.
What's been the most challenging aspect of your career?
The most challenging aspect of my writing career is probably enduring the levels of rejection that come with the territory, and how oversaturated the market generally is.
What specific advice to you have for other up and coming writers/artists?
My advice is to take your craft seriously, remember that there’s always room to grow, and that, as Rocky said, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
Were you/are you ever anxious about performing in public?
I played in bands on stage for many years, so the live spoken word aspect wasn’t something that gave me nerves.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on new short stories and putting my work into book-length collections for submission to publishers.
Fill in the blank: Success as a writer comes when _______?
Success as a writer comes when…you achieve the literary goals you set for yourself when you started writing.
What does the balance of 2018 hold for you?
I am thinking of writing more non-fiction in the second half of 2018. Other than that, I’ll keep writing new stories/poetry, doing spoken word readings, and I’ll be teaching Gr. 10 English come September.
How can people connect with you?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can find me on Facebook by searching Paul Edward Costa, on Instagram by looking up paul.edward.costa, and on Twitter using the handle @paul_e_costa.