PASTOR DAVID PARRY
- GUEST AUTHOR -
Here is my interview with a charming author who just happens to be a pastor as well.
Welcome, David ...
Gosh, this form of literary “confession” is always embarrassing, since I am never sure of the parameters, or proprieties, surrounding personal disclosure. Either way, I am a nascent Swedenborgian, albeit one ordained and consecrated as a Valentinian bishop. Equally, I am a rather well-known “theatrical poet” with pronounced Pagan tendencies, a lifelong LGBTQ activist and ardent Libertarian currently living in Clapham, South London.
However, I am a country boy at heart. A man who was born in Portsmouth, while being raised in Fareham, Hampshire. Phrased differently, I grew up in a small market town between the British cities of Southampton and Portsmouth in a rustic and occasionally idyllic environment: a landscape suited to the sensibilities of a fledgling poet. Indeed, as a continuous truant from school, I recall taking books of Roman poetry to the water meadows near my grandmother’s house and reading them with an increasingly voracious appetite for global literature.
So recalled, I started to write my own “poetic notes” by the age of seven, even though I hadn’t composed anything of aesthetic worth until my late teens. Overall, a questing adolescent period wherein I developed a passion for Russian novels, along with an infrequent addiction for the staggeringly evocative verse originating from Central Asia. With hindsight, each influence inspiring steps on a long literary journey.
As William Burroughs once said, “a writer just writes”. And as such, I can’t really say I was following any type of plan, or for that matter aiming to achieve a goal. Rather, I simply kept detailed notes of concepts and images from other authors, as well as describing to myself what I would like to eventually accomplish on a stage – in terms of character, script, plot, colours, sets and atmosphere. Oddly, it was a number of years before I could see the connection between our British boards and native lyricism. Anyway, I owe my “when” and “how” to notebook after notebook after notebook.
I am old school. So, I plan everything in meticulous detail before I commit to composition. That stated, I have tried to experiment with spontaneous penmanship for the last few years, although I know myself well enough to spot the subtle, preconceived, designs inside my own “impulsive” encounters with the subconscious. Yet, this is just me. There are no hard and fast rules.
I hate every single minute of the writing process. Nonetheless, if I do not do it, I am not David. In which case, the only point I truly enjoy is reaching a deadline, or finishing a project.
For me, authorship is analogous to an unpleasant regurgitation, or a necessary, but uncomfortable, purgation. It is the need to express, or expel, concepts, while thereafter feeling a sense of temporary relief. Hence, these agitations, accompanied by the loneliness (not to mention the distress attendant on any release of text into an insensitive world), prove the most disagreeable experiences for me.
Being honest, there never was a time before I became a writer. Authorship, like my struggle with a homophobic, sexist, elitist and racist Church, was something I always did in parallel with my other duties. Therefore, in a manner similar to the Beatniks, I have been employed in an endless number of positions including: Postman, Paper-keeper, Security Guard, Gardener, Office Clerk and English language (Academic IELTS) Teacher.
My dream as a writer was to collaborate with Central Asian poets and dramatists. So, being elected as the first Chairman of Eurasian Creative Guild (slightly before this organisation subdivided into various national associations), allowed me to realise my ambition and travel across a number of the “Stans” to meet with colleagues from these magical terrains. Thus, incorporating each encounter into my own authorship is the greatest attainment.
Currently, I am working on another collection of essays. A challenging, albeit genuinely satisfying genre I am hoping to help revive due to its unique resonance with travel writing in theory and practice. Instead of a geographical location, however, this time I will be examining the arts and mysticism of Nicholas Roerich – a Russian author, painter, writer, theosophist, archaeologist and probable spy.
Art, Nature, Christ, Transcendentalists, Eurasia.
Almost everything I compose is in prose-poetry. Unless, of course, I am forced into mere prose for an assignment of some sort.
Don’t embark on this path unless the rest of life is impossible without it. If, however, this bilious route proves inescapable, always have a notebook to hand and explore concepts and situations from every imaginable angle.
Thinking back, I never really understand what people are implying when they claim these types of hurdle to their work. However, I can sympathise with the pain caused by endless delays, as well as financial stress.
Nowadays, I am a morning person. I used to be a night owl, but recently nothing is doable without my coffee and almond croissant first thing; along with the renewed vigour of a fresh day to tackle text.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Sadly, yes. I tend to be at my least neurotic and creative when writing in the front room of my tiny ground floor flat. I must be completely alone during these hours, with my notebooks nearby and my laptop immediately in front of me.
Finishing the final page with an openly lyrical note.
Shakespeare, since as Wittgenstein (a close second) claimed, he gives his admirers the world.
I was once told that my versicles are vibrant, spiritually transformative and genuinely beautiful.
An accusation of wilful obscurity was once thrown at me. Obviously, the perpetrator did not survive in one piece.
All in all, I am never sure that every type of text is not some kind of biographical assertion. However, my childhood and isolated adolescence in Hampshire still exert a potent power across my work.
Travelling to Central Asia and physically walking in the footsteps of Abai, Aladdin and Chinghiz Aitmatov are thrilling experiences for me to this day. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, the food is fresh and flavoursome, while the people’s are naturally friendly. Indeed, the admixture of Turkish and Chinese cultures seems to bring out the best features of both worlds.
As the very worst proof reader for my own work in this or any other possible world, I always ask one of my contacts (usually Daniele-Hadi Irandoost) to edit my work. He has an immense skill, at the same time as knowing me personally. Overall, this admitted, I would not trust my materials to someone I do not know no matter how experienced.
My fantasy is to breakfast on hot chocolate and pastries among the blue tiles and turrets of Samarkand. Following this, to take afternoon minted tea with friends discussing Eurasian poetry, before banqueting in the evening amidst books, endless dishes of local cuisine (including Plov) and respected colleagues.
Provided he is naked and prohibited from wearing any clothes whatsoever for the duration of our incarceration, it must be Tom Hardy. He pushes all of the “thug with a brain” buttons.
As someone who has contacts in our British Parliament and has had a scene from a play of mine premiered in the House of Lords (making history), I would love to say just one thing – please try to remember there are living, sentient and breathing, people outside the political classes.
To have more of my work dramatized and staged. As someone who occasionally acts, I would additionally like to play some of the peripheral, but vital, characters in one of these productions.
I do not really have an opinion on this topic, but as Malcolm X said “by all means necessary”.
Caliban was the emotional protagonist in my two volumes of prose-poetry. In one sense, (as a nascent misfit) I am him, even though in another he is very far from my etheric shape and astral form.
The so-called publishing industry is run by self-seeking simpletons who will never understand the real nature of serious literature – and do not really care about that fact. Apart, that is, from Gwendolyn Taunton and Manticore Press in Australia.
No, although I frequently think of relocating to the continent of Europe. My only troubles being that France and Italy are too perfect, while my beloved Spain is too hot in the summer months.
Without doubt, my unpublished manuscript on Andy Warhol and the theology of banality has become my favourite project to date.
They should know how much they don’t know, along with intuiting how much I do not know. I suppose I want them to feel philosophically frustrated, as well as aware of natural aesthetics in the world around us, accompanied by the potentials inherent in every transcendental form of artistry.
Annoyingly, a great deal of time and energy goes into the designs of my book covers. In this regard, I have been fortunate enough to find good friends in the artistic community who have collaborated with me in an attempt to signal the core concepts within a specific work.