I hope you enjoy this interview with blogger Vincent Santino Smarra! As always feel free to leave your comments below telling us what you thought about the interview or simply stop by and say hi!
1. Thank you so much for being a part of this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself, your blog and what it is about.
I’m Vincent Santino Smarra, better known as ‘Who?’, or Sonny, to my friends. I always enjoyed language, I’m a prose person that considers writing art. Love it all, except grammar, which I accept like a good-intentioned yet annoying family member. My online platform is my way of sharing my work with the world.
Sometime in my childhood, this idea popped into my head that I’m meant to be a writer, and never left. So I write because I have to, but my blog, portfolio, whatever the proper term, was another step entirely. I started regularly sharing my work online about 7 years ago when I first felt confident enough that a stranger who might stumble across my writing would enjoy it. I was an idiot for thinking that back then, an overconfident 18 year old – unique, right – but I’m glad I made the decision.
I never considered how categorically scattered my content is, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I can see you’re right. For me, the main focus is the flow of the writing; I share prose I think has merit, simply because of the way it’s written. The writing style I enjoy the most though, maybe spontaneous prose, Kerouac’s stream of consciousness
style. Sometimes I can post the pieces whole, sometimes I chop them up to use piecemeal, and regardless of their practical use, it’s always cathartic to get it onto the page.
I never feel overwhelmed by writing because no one asked me to do this. It is a weight with undeniable presence but it being there makes me, me. If I run out of ideas, I write about what I see. If I don’t like what I see, I write about nothing; it’s never as pointless as it sounds, though. I think.
I put a lot of myself into what I write, and the best part about sharing my work online is knowing I have the chance to communicate my innermost thoughts with complete strangers. Whenever I read good writing my brain absorbs the essence, not an intentional remembrance like when studying, more of a ‘Oh, I already knew that, didn’t I?’ I might not remember the words verbatim but their impact is certain, and the chance to provide that for another person means a lot to me.
So far as literal writers go, my top 3 inspirations in no order (yes I’m afraid of offending dead men) are Jack Kerouac, Herman Hesse, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. I draw a lot of inspiration from other places too though, especially music: Bob Dylan, Mac Miller, King Fantastic, to name a few.
A couple years back I put my pen down and end up with My Mixtape, stories based on songs split into sections by scrapbook poems made of song lyrics. I put it aside, not knowing what to do with it. A couple weeks later I forgot to do an assignment for a class, and turned it in hoping for the professor’s mercy as it didn’t quite satisfy the project parameters. Fast forward again, I have to meet him during office hours to get it back; he wants to talk. Like a good teacher he let me know it was rough and needed work then passed me with a very generous ‘B’ because he’d never seen anything like it. Proffesor Branscum said he saw potential in the form, and encouraged me to keep developing it. Meant a lot to me. Since then I’ve released 3 additional projects of the same ilk: Jam Session, Ringtones From The Radio, and Music From The Microcosm. The stories, named after songs, are meant to be read before, during, or after listening to the namesake music, and song lyric scrapbook poems serve as thematic breaks, all in the name of communicating the usually impossible to verbalize feeling music can provide. Symphonic Prose is my answer to people’s question of, ‘Why do you like that song?’ And since metatextual games like this are present in almost all other mediums today, I figured, why not literature?
8. What is your favourite food?
Raw onions, garlic, and pickled pepperoncini peppers. Taste and smell.
9. What is the weirdest situation you have ever been in?
One time in the bar some dude made eye contact with me, and I was convinced he was coming to fight, so I made the first move; smashed a plastic cup full of long island across dude’s face. It was a crowded night so the splash hit more than just him. Two guys plus the one I hit start pummeling me and I’m against a wall, I don’t fall but I don’t move either, they just hitting, hitting – I get two black eyes and a busted lip before my friends tackle them off of me. Then, the bouncers come, and decide I was the only person that needed to be kicked out. They were probably right.
10. If you had to live in only one country for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
It’d be America, which is boring because that’s where I’m from, but if I knew I couldn’t leave I’d make it a point to travel and take the whole thing in. This place is big enough to be a few countries; sometimes it seems like it is.
11. What is one of your favourite memories?
Our high-school graduation was outside, and afterwards, me and a friend snuck into the building. We were on the top floor, looking out on the roof, and we’d always talked about wanting to go out onto it; then we realized we could and no one could say anything. So we did. I smile every time I think about that view.
12. Thanks again and please feel free to share anything you would like to add or share with the readers.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Pooja. These were good questions, I had fun
answering them. If Symphonic Prose piqued anyone’s interest, it’s free to read: