Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meet Our Writers Week 32 on Mark Butkus

Tell us about yourself

I like to enjoy life. I wrote about the environment for 20+ years, I now exercise the left side of my mind.

Tell me about your blog(s), name(s), what does it mean to you? When have you started blogging?

When you get right down to it I started blogging before the term came into existence. I wrote about industrial energy efficiency for a government agency and in 1998 we switched over from a twice monthly fax newsletter to 250 clients to an online newsletter. When I left the government in 2006 we had over 15000 subscribers and a quarter million hits per month. I started my own environmental blog  -- anybody remember Windowws Live Spaces? -- shortly thereafter to keep my head in the mix. Then I began a counterculture blog to exercise the crazy part of my brain...and then another...and another...

What's the theme(s) of your blog(s)? What do you write most? poetry, fiction or novel, or  short stories?

My two main blogs at this point in time are and sites. Bar None Group began in Mexico in the winter of 2009 as a collective of poets. I began the blog once I headed north of the border in the summer of 2009. The site has given me the confidence to ask many of the poets that I have found online, such as during the weekly poetry slams, to share their poems on the Bar None site. I'd like to think that it is a win-win situation. I get content that I am proud to host and the talented authors get exposed to a different audience.

The New York City Minute site offers readers a 60 second snapshot of New York City through one picture and 60 words.

What are the inspirations of your writing?

Everyday life is my inspiration. Whether it's packing boxes, the smell of a tortilla factory or a ride on the subway. There's typically something in our ordinary lives that when committed to paper in the form of a poem becomes extraordinary.

Does music impact your writing?

Depending on the mood or the tone of what I am writing music is either an asset or a hindrance. I will typically listen to jazz when I am writing - it takes me to a different place. When writing a novel set in 1990 I spent three months straight just listening to music from 1989 to the summer of 1990 to enhance the vibe.

You are involved with Bluebell Books Short Story Slam writing challenge? How do you feel about it so far? What's the benefits of it?
I like being exposed to new writers and to offer encouragement through comments. After a while you begin to notice familiar names and you seek their poems out first. Typically when I sign on to a slam or a challenge I read every tenth entry based on my corresponding entry. For instance, if I come on board at 37 I will read entries 7, 17, 27, 47, etc and then seek out familiar faces. It keeps things fresh and random.

Do you have a favorite book or author?
The last list of writers and books can be found within this article on World Book NIght -

Any tips for those who started blogging and wish to become successful in it.
Don't bother if you don't love what you are doing. Always try and leave an encouraging comment when visiting another site and after you finish proofreading...proofread again. Never rely on Spellcheck!

What's your writing plans in the near future?
I'll be releasing a new book of poems, "Casting Lines in Global POnds" this spring which will contain poems from recent travels to three continents. Later in the year the next edition of the Bar None Anthology -- "Take Two" will be released.


Mark Butkus


Bluebell Books said...

very informative interview...

Taylor Boomer said...

love this, fabulous writing.

Bar None Publishing Group said...

I would like to say that to enhance my views on proofreading and the need to review and review again I purposely left typos throughout this Q & A session to see if you are paying attention. I'd like to say that but I can't...I didn't follow my own advice.

Thank you Bluebell Books for the Q & A opportunity.