Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Discussion with Uvi Poznansky - Come Join Us; You are Welcome!

Uvi! Always busy, I see! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit Book Readers Heaven...It's a delight for me and I am sure it will be for all readers... 

Oh, it’s my pleasure, Glenda! I am so grateful to you for opening the discussion about The David Chronicles. This epic story stirs up a lot of ideas.

Indeed! The entire set of books is extraordinary in the continuity, the additional exploration of related works by leading artists and the movement out of the original Biblical story into a broader literary fictional tale of the total life of David.

Uvi, your creative talent is superior...artistic, does your background bring those to you? heritage?, perhaps, by certain family members? or was it from your personal interests and work to reach the place where you now are?

My creative drive, in poetry, story telling, and art, started early in life. Before I knew how to hold a pen in my hand, I would tell stories that my father (a poet, writer and artist himself) would write down for me. He would also ask me to help him rhyme his lines, which introduced me to the music of words and the intricacies of writing.

That's a delightful memory of your father asking you to help rhyme--what a wonderful start to your life's work...

After going through your Gallery, I was wondering if most artists work in various mediums as you do...that is, sculpture, watercolor and painting?

I believe that creativity expresses itself in many ways in each individual, and all of us go through phases of trying out different outlets for our imagination. This is true of most artists. You will find that Picasso has changed styles more that any of us changed shoes... But sometimes we tend to repeat a ‘formula’ that succeeds commercially. This is exactly what I try to avoid, because to stop exploring different ways to express what’s in my mind and heart would end up in me boring myself.

Escape to Higher Grounds I

Seeing the diversity of your work, it is hard for me to imagine you ever becoming bored...Here again, your breadth of topics are wide...your styles different as opposed to a steady vision such as those who do nature watercolors. Do you consider each choice or are you inspired and then move immediately into your latest vision?

I think that my signature style emerges from my entire body of work, so I don’t worry about it at all, quite the opposite: I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In art, I use different mediums, which enriches my designs: I sculpt (in bronze, clay, and paper); I draw in charcoal, ink, and pencils; I paint in watercolor and oils; and I create animations. Similarly, in my literary work I write in different genres, which enriches my thinking: My novel Apart From Love is contemporary fiction; my book Home is poetry; my book Twisted is fantasy; and my book A Favorite Son is historical fiction and biblical fiction.


Most of my involvement with your work has been related to the David Chronicles. But, could you share more about those parts of your work that first, have been most fulfilling for you, and, second, those that have been the most popular as judged by your followers...

What I enjoy, particularly when writing historical fiction, is the combination of right and left brain: learning about the era in great detail through research, and then immersing in it with all my senses.

I collect every detail about the time and the setting. But then, I choose where to take my departure from the reference material. In this series, I chose to let the character speak in modern language. This is a design decision, meant to bring the reader into the realization that this is a universal story, happening here and now, rather than an old fairy tale.

It is essential to anchor fiction in the real setting of the plot. You can do it in a myriad  of ways: visit the place, read about it, and look at art and photographs that depict it. 

For example, in my novel Rise to Power, David described the Valley of Elah, where he will soon face his enemy. I had visited this place when I was a child, and at the time it surprised me that the valley is so shallow and well, boring. I imagined that perhaps it used to have dramatically sloped walls, as befits the scene of an iconic battle. I told myself that perhaps over the generations dust has settled over it and covered the rocky slopes, hiding the drama. 

Before writing the scene, I also looked at a lot of paintings in the history of art, Then I set it all aside, and wrote the scene from imagination:

“There, with their backs to me, they are: three silhouettes, drawn sharply against the gray, gloomy landscape. The horsemen in the center is the one I am watching with keen interest. He is tall, formidable, and cloaked. A ray of morning light reaches hesitantly for his crown, sets it afire, and then pulls back.
Ahead of him, the valley opens like a fresh cut. Thin, muddy streams are washing over its rocks, oozing in and out of its cracks, and bleeding into its soil. Layers upon layers of moist, fleshy earth are pouring from one end to another, then halting on a slant, about to slip off. And from down below, somewhere under the heavy mist that hides the bottom of the valley from sight, stir some unexpected sounds. 
I wish I could ignore them. For a moment I am tempted to stick my fingers in my ears—but to do so I would have to let go of my lyre. Let go I cannot, because its strings may tremble in the air. My music may betray me, I mean, it may betray the place of my hideout. 
So I go on cowering, trying to imagine silence—only to be startled once more: in place of the first birdsongs of the day, there rise the shrieks of vultures.”

Being an artist, I find my inspiration also by artwork depicting the story. In each era, the artists did not shy away from staging David in garments that belongs to their time, and surrounding him with a contemporary scene. I take my cues from them. Here, for example, is a modern painting by Chagall, depicting David and Bathsheba. Compare it to this excerpt from the book:
(See More on Uvi's Blog of this Topic)

And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.”

You have a wide diversity in your writing. Do you prefer one genre more than others? What does it take; that is, what creates the spark for you to decide you want to write a specific book. And, once you've decided on the topic, how do you proceed?

I love historical fiction because I find it the most demanding of all the genres. You have to know a lot about the time and place, you cannot simply make stuff up. But what I bring with me from my poetry is something different: it is the attention to the music of words, the rhythms of our thoughts. 

The classification to genres is only one method available to you to discern the subject of a book. This method can be rigid. I trust that you use it in combination with reading the book description, and taking a peek at the first few pages, which gives you a true taste of the writing style.

I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In writing all of my books, I often break the confines of the particular genre, because life as we know it–and my art, which mirrors it– constantly changes from one genre to the next. One moment it is humorous; the next, it is erotic; then, it might be a tragedy.

Are there other writers, artists, who have inspired you more than others?

Surprisingly, I find poetry to be the greatest influence on my writing: I appreciate the nuances, the overloading of words, and the musical rhythms used in the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets by Shakespeare, and the lyrical descriptions of Virginia Wolfe, to name but a few. 

I love American authors as well as authors from around the world, for example The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and  Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, for their expressive use of ‘stream of consciousness’. 

Playwrights have a great impact on my writing., for example The Price by Arthur Miller, because they teach me to listen to dialog, and identify emotions and motives through the speech patterns of the characters.

Continued...Watch for Next Post!

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