“May the lord have mercy upon each of our misled souls.”
Jim Miller’s new collection, Ghost in the Reflection: Letters to Erin, muses on the perils of modern life and the hope that the world will become a better place for our future children.This frank and bold collection doesn’t shy away from difficult topics.
Jim started his adult life in the music industry. He was a sound engineer for many tours, festivals and events before retreating to the indie side of the coin where he became a promoter and manager of several bands over a decade. He walked away from the dream an addict. To this day Jim is a huge indie music scene supporter. He is very pro- environment and lives for long backpacking expeditions where he can be unplugged for a duration.
I spoke with Jim about his writing process and his new collection.
Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I wish there was any kind of a pattern that helped usher in my writing, instead it hits me at the most inopportune moments: at work, driving, sleeping, etc.. So I’ve learned to carry a pen and notepad (preferred a composition pad, without removable pages) or use my notepad on my phone to try to capture as much of the initial wave of idea as humanly possible. The revisiting of those notes requires a substantial amount of silence, incense and meditation to try to get back into that original mindset of the moment or the idea dissipates into nothingness, which happens far too often.
How do you collate ideas for your collections?
Usually my collections jump out at me when I am reading back through my notebooks. I associate the process to be much like making a mix tape, that first song just stands out so much that you can’t let it go and you play with others to see which is the perfect fit to the puzzle, and grow it out to be a playlist. I’ve tried to go reverse, have a theme and write to fill it but it loses it’s organic spark, the words fall to the paper lifeless and feel too mundane and forced. Those would be the pages of the notebooks that are scribbled or bear deep dark xs etched into them.
There’s a great deal of ghost imagery. Have you ever had a supernatural encounter?
I’ve had my share of odd and bizarre things, but I’m no expert as to be able to conclude a supernatural phenomenon or an acid flashback or side effect combination of imagination, excitement and/or the influence of some kind of mind altering substance or after effect of such a thing. Regardless I seem to be a magnet for the odd and bizarre, be it encounters, experiences or people and places.
Social Media use features in many of your poems. You have social media accounts yourself. How do you maintain your sanity on them?
I distance myself from them as much as I can. I had deleted every social media account up until I released my first book. Sadly, as I realized, social media is necessary for promotional purposes. Reluctantly, I reopened all my accounts, and expanded further. I’ve found the only way I can tolerate them is with great distance. I resist technology and these kinds of things because they lessen the human experience. So when I feel I’ve been pulled too much into social media I begin feeling for the back door so I can escape even if only momentarily.
The relationship in the ‘Letters to Erin’ section is one that many people will find relatable. Has this been written from your own experience?
Some of it yes, some of it is doodle of others experiences that I had the misfortune of witnessing or having to have been the ears that would listen to allow those others to have a chance to vent. I was taught in college to avoid writing about love, no one wants to read about your joys or sorrows, so I was very hesitant to add such a section to the collection, but when I read the pieces I had gathered for Letters it became apparent in my mind that there was definitely a strong similarity to Ghost thus the section needed to be conceived.
The collections discuss the problems with the modern world. If you had the power, what would you change to make the world a better place for us all?
I’d erase the greed and envy that accompany our materialistic conditioned behaviours.
Thanks to Jim for his time and Isabelle Kenyon at Fly on the Wall Poetry for arranging the blog tour. You can purchase paperback copies or eBook copies of Ghost in Reflection: Letters to Erin from Amazon (£7.99) or Book Patch ($9.99). On sale 14th February 2020.
You can find out more about Jim and his writing on his blog at: https://www.poetryofjamesfmillerii.com/blog