Natasha: Hi, Bob, thank you for the interview. Can you tell our readers about yourself and how long have you been a writer?
Bob: First of all, I am grateful for this conversation with a publisher I respect, namely, you, Natasha. Now, about your initial question, like most artists, I am a self-absorbed individual who is obsessed with his craft. Don’t get me wrong. Deeply, from each cell to my soul, I care about people. Therefore, I am concerned about the world and its struggles. Nonetheless, upon waking until I sleep, my mind is preoccupied with creative expression through words and images.
Answering your next question about writing is difficult. Back in the 1600s, after meeting a bearded guy named Edward de Vere, aka Will Shakespeare, I began my writing career. OK, let me give you a serious answer. No joke, in the first grade, I wrote poems and stories. By age 21, I received my first honorarium for a story. All these years later, I still follow my Muse.
Natasha: When it comes to writing, do you have a certain routine or writing process that allows the ideas to flow better?
Bob: Writers are not automatons or cogs in an assembly line. So, following a strict schedule for the creative process is more detrimental than healthy. Such adherence to a timetable produces formulaic work. Creative ideas never follow an employment schedule. I do, however, have one criterion. Quite simply, once the dilatory details of my daily life conclude, I write either a little or a lot. Although this next analogy seems trite, it is true. No different than a muscle, the writing process requires exercise.
Ideas move with the fluidity of streams when I listen to music. Initially, I seek familiar songs with clever lyrics. Groups such as TV on the Radio and Gnarls Barclay always endear themselves to my ears. Then, when my mental shuttlecraft gets fueled up, I put on instrumental music.
Natasha: Back in October 2019, you posted a call for submissions. Can you tell us about that book and what it is about?
Bob: Throughout the years, I read numerous poems about young love. In stark contrast, verses about middle-aged people or senior citizens having relationships were as rare as UFO sightings. Realizing that, I wanted to cull poems about the aging process. Upon working on the anthology, I requested explicit depictions of an older person's existence.
Presently, because of the recent pandemic and its effect on the aged, the anthology, Lyrics of Mature Hearts, resonates with renewed importance. All of the contributors are venerable people. Their poems are testaments to wisdom and strength.
Natasha: What kind of stories do you enjoy writing? Bob: Of all your questions, this one is challenging. By nature, I am a multifarious person. I create sociopolitical stories or poems as well as escapist sci-fi, horror, and erotica. Each genre is a different train for my trip through self-expression. I transfer a lot.
Natasha: If you could have one of your stories turned into a film, what story would that be and why?
Bob: Movie theaters in New York City raised me. On weekends, when I was in public school, my high-school-aged brother took me matinees. There, in the front row, with a bag composed of various snacks, my eyes married the images on the screen each time. For somewhere under five dollars, I saw at least three films and a cartoon.
Consequently, because of that inundation, I write like a cinephile. Deep within my cerebrum's omnium gatherum, screenplays play out from the introduction to the denouement. As vivid as a mirror, I see each character and scene long before my fingers type on my laptop. Making readers perceive these images is crucial. Obsessively, I want my descriptions in a story to give the blind a sense of a sunrise and the deaf an understanding of symphonies.
Filmed on the set in my fantasies, each of my stories is an embryonic movie. So, someone smarter than I, who has a better sense of the medium, should choose one of my tales. I cannot make such a decision.
Natasha: Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time to relax?
Bob: Nerd alert: Exhibiting the devotion that zealots feel about worship, I watch Jeopardy. Furthermore, I always traverse prose and verses in books. And once again, classic movies to flicks about superheroes provide a sojourn from my existence.
Natasha: Can you share with our readers any future projects that you are working on?
Bob: Each day, as long as I have a danceable beat in my chest, there will always be a future project. However, in this world, my humble existence is as needed as an airplane for a bird, or a sailboat for a fish. Nonetheless, creativity gives my blood a reason to flow.
Natasha: How can our readers learn more about you and your books?
Bob: Of all my recent projects, I am proudest of Lyrics of Mature Hearts. The anthology is available on this site: https://www.amazon.com/Lyrics-Mature-Hearts-Poetry-Anthology/dp/1708365354/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=lyrics+of+mature+hearts&qid=1588199472&sr=8-1. To obtain further information about my other work, kindly refer to these links: http://www.subterraneanbluepoetry.com/Archives.BobMcNeil.html,
https://youtu.be/m5uEdZBo_q0, and https://www.bing.com/search?q=Bob+McNeil%2C+poet&cvid=001b72b3074d46df807a4945323c069f&FORM=ANAB01&PC=HCTS.
Before the conclusion of this interview, I must praise you, Natasha. Consistently, you maintain a publication that discusses adult relationships. While conservatives and reactionaries mute voices, Bare Back Magazine turns up the volume and lets everyone hear uncensored voices.
About Bob McNeil:
Bob McNeil, writer, editor, and spoken word artist, is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, a Queens Poet Laureate, called the book “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” Among Bob’s recent accomplishments, he found working on Lyrics of Mature Hearts to be a humbling experience because of the anthology’s talented contributors. Copies of that collection are available here: https://www.amazon.com/Lyrics-Mature-Hearts-Poetry-Anthology/dp/1708365354/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=lyrics+of+mature+hearts&qid=1588199472&sr=8-1.