How old are you and where are you from?
I am now 67, meaning I’m late to the game of writing and publishing. As to where
I’m from, that gets a bit tricky:
Although I grew up in New York city, I was born in Norfolk, Virginia while my father
was serving on submarines out of there and went to high school near
Philadelphia. After serving in the Navy myself, I continued working on ships for
about 15 years after that, a job that took me all over the place. One job took me
to Florida, and that was where I returned to school where my classmates called
me the “blue collar poet” because of my former experiences.
At any rate, I ended up relocating to Puerto Rico after graduating but met my wife
while there, so once we decided to marry, I moved to Glendale, California and
have been here for 23 years.
Tell us more about your book!
Music Speaks was the winning chapbook from last April’s San Gabriel Valley
Poetry Festival competition, but I was so happy with how it turned out, I wanted
to revisit it and make it into a more polished version. I came up with its design
and even ended up adding a few pieces that were written after the award.
I did get an offer from a London publisher for the book, but when I read their
contract, I wasn’t happy with a few details that I found key—most especially that
they wanted complete creative control over its cosmetics. I figured I’d rather take
the chance and publish it myself since I knew how I wanted it to look.
You’re sharing an elevator with a big-name publisher. Pitch your book using 20
words or less!
Music Speaks is a poetry collection delving into music with artwork that can also
serve as a coffee table book.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
Any place I have paper and pen! I write everywhere: in bed, while eating,
between other work, even in traffic (which I guess I shouldn’t admit).
If your book was turned into a movie, who would play your main characters?
Since the bulk of the work focuses on actual musical artists, I’d incorporate
footage of their performances.
You’re stranded on an island, and only one character from any book can save
you. Who are you picking?
That’s a good one, but I think I’d go with the guy I was named for, William Barker
Cushing. He was a Civil War naval hero who has had several biographies written
about him, so he qualifies as a “character” (which he definitely was that as well).
The reason I’d point to him was his daring, bravery, and resourcefulness.
Besides being a writer, what else do you enjoy?
I grew up on the water and love sailing, something I do as much as I can.
However, my wife and I both enjoy spending time at movies, art museums, the
theater, and concerts of all sorts as well as opera or musicals.
Do you have any upcoming book promotions?
I am also involved in promoting a full-length book of poetry that was just
published by Finishing Line Press last June titled A Former Life. I have several area
readings coming up for that with other poets also published by Finishing Line.
Post your social media usernames!
My Facebook name is “William P Cushing,” but the best bet for my literary work is
“Notes and Letters,” a collaboration I am involved with that includes an old New
York neighbor who is now a musician in Los Angeles. We perform periodically in
the area and have both a Facebook page and a youtube channel.
Check out his book, available on amazon!
Visit the submission page to book your spotlight feature!