Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fire Molten & Ash by Clarence Barbee

Oh, the weather outside is cold, and I mean super frigid. For me, living in New Orleans, I'm not used to it being this cold. I can only imagine what everyone is going through in the North or in Alaska. I am a tropical kind of girl. So, when I discovered today's author, Clarence Barbee, and his book "Fire Molten & Ash, my first thought was getting warm. So, I built be a fire in my fireplace, moved my laptop to the living room, and made a cup of hot chocolate. I needed this warmth and a good book to read by the fire. I hope you enjoy learning about the book and the author.
Stay warm everyone and remember to keep your pets warm and safe too!
Molten Fire and Ash is a collection of intense poems. This collection is confident in the fluid environment that has been created where time and space become suspended. Divided into 3 sequences, this work remarkably summons themes on self reflection, fatherhood, politics, mental health, and family values, in an imaginative and animated way.

Strong word-play is exhibited as the author finds diverse ways to engage and stimulate his readers. This collection will speak to the reader who loves the page, as well as fans of spoken word. If you’re looking for a book where words are performed with force, then you’ve found it.


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I'm a writer originally from Omaha Nebraska. I attended Clark Atlanta University an HBCU in Atlanta GA. I am a family man who now resides in Aurora, CO, which is just outside of Denver. I enjoy people watching and working with people; that's where the inspiration comes from. People do absolutely crazy things, and sometimes I get the opportunity to write about it. I also work with mentally ill people and high-school students--they too provide really good stories. We're all living life and doing time; I hope my writing makes your time enjoyable and enriches your life in some way, form or fashion.
What inspired you to author this book?
This book has really been about ten years in the making. In 2013 I published two chapbooks, e-book, on Lulu. They were Shattered and On The Brink. 2013 was a difficult time for me personally. Both my parents had recently passed, I made some difficult life choices. I was mad with my sister. And I had just recently finished a stint with being homeless. So I published these two e-chapbooks with a lot of poetry from 2008 because I hadn’t done much writing in 2012/2013. And last year, early this year, I looked at those chapbooks and was like, those books were/are crap! I was mad at myself after reading them. And then I looked some more, and some weren’t so bad, but still overall--crap! I wanted to do something about it. And it’s like I said earlier, there must be growth to be a good writer. So I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better. I also wanted to chronicle my “writing life” better. I wanted to chronicle the fact that this is the first work of me as a writer and as a father, and husband.

So Fire Molten & Ash is about all that. Sometimes you have to go through the fire, with some parts coming out as ash and fly in the wind. Fire is rebirth, becoming something anew. There are four themes of self-reflection, fatherhood, politics, and family values. These were also big themes in the previous two chapbooks. Fire Molten & Ash is the death of a former life (burned it), rebirth (reborn of Fire), and seeing what the growth is.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
I actually contacted several people from Fiverr for the cover design. I knew I wanted something simple, but classy and stood out. I feel I got that. The design looks like smoky mountains and that fits since I'm in Denver, but also because it speaks to the title of the book, and the meaning of fire and being reborn through it. When birth happens there is smoke, ash, and the new person before you.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
My biggest influence comes from my father. He was a true Dad who helped teach me how to cook and be a good person. He taught me discipline and seeing a project through till the end regardless of the outcome. My biggest influences in writing come from two people, my 8th grade English teacher Ms. Mobley, and my good friend Eryk Moore. Ms. Mobley because she was a great teacher who believed that all her students would become great writers. I actually dedicated my 1st book "Chicken Soup & A Shot of Jack" to her. And Eryk because he always tells me he's my biggest fan. Eryk is an excellent writer, spoken word poet, and businessman. I could not get through any project without his guidance and support.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
My biggest struggle was finding the time to write the poems. As a new Dad of two kids, one being two, and the other currently being 11 months, time is a premium. Also, I work two jobs. So trying to find time to write or edit was challenging, but being the creative person I am, I found time to get it done!

Tell your readers about your book.
Fire Molten and Ash is my third poetry book and in my opinion, my best work. It focuses on four themes; self-reflection, fatherhood, politics, and family values. I am by no means a perfect person or perfect writer, but I wanted to address these themes as they are at the forefront of my life right now. I spoke on this earlier, but as a writer, we need to take time to reflect on ourselves, our lives, and eventually our writing. Are we improving? I looked at fatherhood, because I love my children, and I want to be a good father. Is this easy all the time--uh, no, by any means, but it's worth it every single minute. Politics have always been a big part of my life. I like to stay informed in national politics as well as local ones. We need to be informed as to who the leader is, what they're doing, and how they're representing us. In America, we live in a diverse and very rich country. We have to be cognizant of how we're being represented through the world, and if we don't like that representation, then we need to change it. And the final being family values, because I have some family issues that I wanted to address, both good and bad. One of the biggest lessons I learned through writing this book is that my parents sacrificed for our family, and I have learned the power of forgiveness. So buy the book and see how I represent these things!

Who is your target audience, and why?
My target audience is poetry lovers and non-poetry lovers. Poetry lovers are obvious because I love good poetry, and want to produce it for the canon. But also non-poetry lovers because I want to be able to pull people into the power of poetry. I think poetry is feeling. It's frustration and beauty, short lessons, and reflection, it is love and making hate look fantastic. So really my audience is a lot of people. I will say because of some strong language I would not allow elementary-aged children to read it, but definitely 8th grade and up.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
My greatest success in life is the building of my family. I'm learning through this new role as Dad, that family building is like nation-building. It's not the easiest thing when you have kids who want to run wild because they're toddlers. You have your wife who has her needs, and you as Dad, have to support that because she supports you, and both support the kids. So as long as I'm building a strong, self-aware family, and they're happy, then I will call it a success.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
I think my age sets me apart. The poetry market is diverse but also very young. When I google contemporary poets, so many young slam poets come up. I've been writing and performing poetry for over two decades, so I'm not new to this. However, I'm not an MFA writer or poet. I'm in-between and old. (lol) But I feel that in time, there is wisdom, and the refinement of life where words can become powerful and unyielding is what I offer. I'm learning the self-publishing game through different projects. Many people say poetry doesn't sell; one of my goals is to prove them wrong!