William Christofides, whose poem ‘The Ascent of Idris’ is published in the second issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a literary historian based in Cardiff, currently researching the intellectual heritage of British Idealism at university. His love for literature began at age 14, listening to Bob Dylan and reading dangerous poetry anthologies in a school cupboard. Since then he has filled several notebooks with scribbled verse and song lyrics. Previous publications include articles for EMW Magazine. As a Christian, he believes poetry to be a gift from the Logos of the speaking God. Read our interview with William below where we find out about the mythic (and sometimes commonplace) inspiration behind his writing.
What inspired your piece, ‘The Ascent of Idris’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?
The poem had its immediate origins in an actual walk up Cadair Idris back in January 2016. In a strange way, the actual events are of little importance to the poem itself. I found that the events took on a mysterious symbolic significance in my memory. Cadair Idris is a location loaded with symbolisms and myths, my personal favourite being that if you spend a night alone on its summit, you either become a madman or a poet!
In my poem, the mountain climb becomes an allegory of human life. We all find ourselves surmounting these strange and unfamiliar crags and rockscapes, and no one living has reached the top! However, we clamber upwards following the paths of ‘previous pilgrims’, following the advice and teachings they have left behind, ‘our ancient weathered guides’. Following the Christian faith, I believe in One who has gone before us, ‘a figure of a man’, who now lives to guide and carry us to the top, ‘Holding his staff / above the snowline’.
I came across Lucent Dreaming through social media. I find it to be a magazine with a noble and generous ethos: to encourage the ‘beautiful, strange and surreal’. Believing in that ethos I submitted the poem, and I am delighted to have been accepted for publication.
What does writing mean to you?
For me, writing is a means of gaining more clarity. By writing down what I think, I am able to have a more objective assessment of my beliefs and ideas, and am able to reflect upon myself as if I were a stranger. I am currently going through a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, where such practices of self-assessment are actively encouraged.
What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
Currently I am making music with an indie-folk trio called The Nth Degree. We recently released our first EP Consilience, which is available now on Bandcamp.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future?
Life is full of excitement at the moment. Within the space of several months I got engaged, was accepted to do a PhD in Cardiff University, and became a part of a folk-trio. My wonderful fiancée and I are both eager academics ready to plunge ourselves into the galaxy of academia, searching for a star system to call our own. We aim to get married late-summer 2019.
How and where do you find inspiration to write?
Life quite literally brims with inspiration. Even the mundane and commonplace deserves further reflection and consideration. I love the scene from the film The Dead Poets Society in which the poetry teacher, John Keating, stands on top of his desk. When asked why, he tells his students, ‘I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way’. This is the Poet’s calling. If the Poet can’t see things differently, they should shut up!
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
My advice would follow on from my previous answer. Look at life differently. Last week while walking down the street from Cardiff University, I decided to stand on a raised pillar. The view was beautiful and arresting. I thought to myself that perhaps no one had ever seen that street from that angle ever before. It was also fascinating and devastating watching the hundreds of people walking by in their fixed patterns and paces. I felt as though I was looking at the inhabitants of T. S. Eliot’s Unreal City, or Allen Ginsberg’s destroyed generation. Sometimes it’s not pleasant seeing things differently.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
When it comes to my written works, I have only published the single poem in your magazine. However, I do have a drawer filled with poetry and look to have them published. As previously mentioned, the music of the folk-trio I am a part of, The Nth Degree, is available now on Bandcamp.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.