Meet The Team: Stomping Ground


Kendra Allen

When did you start writing? What made you want to be a writer?

I’m not really sure [when I started writing]. I used to be in oratorical contests and things like that growing up. People used to tell me I was good at writing and I’ve always loved words. But I don’t think I really started writing, and taking it seriously, until two years ago.

Hip-Hop made me want to be a writer. I always knew that it took a lot of skill to be able to bounce words off of one another like that and I was always in love with how much a verse could help me make sense of my feelings. Some of my favorite writers ever only write songs, and most of my work is a direct extension of my experiences with the genre.

What was your favorite thing to read as a child? What is it now?

My favorite thing to read as a child was this Burt and Ernie book called Don’t Forget The Oatmeal! I used to make my Grandma read it to me whenever I was over at her house.

My favorite things to read now are usually books about family run drug cartels with lots of gun violence and sex escapades that can be read in one sitting.

What do you do for Habitat? Why did you want to be a part of the team?

I write articles about writing for Habitat’s blog ‘Stomping Ground’.

It’s great to be apart of because we’re all young and talented and are able to learn from one another’s technique, style, and professionalism, while also maintaining full creative control over our work.

What do you think makes Habitat unique? What’s your favorite part of the magazine?

The stories that are being told definitely make Habitat unique. The many perspectives and experiences from a group of people relatively in the same age group is something both enjoyable and insightful.

When reading poetry/books, what do you look for? What speaks to you as a writer and a reader?

The flow of the language. What words the writer chooses to use in order to evoke a particular feeling. That’s honestly all I care about, what the artist is saying. The rest is just noise.

What are some of your other favorite lit magazines?

Kweli Journal and SPOOK.

Kenneth Rupp

When did you start writing? What made you want to be a writer?

I started writing when I was eight or nine. I would grab a fat stack of scratch paper and scuttle off to a quiet room with a set of markers or a pencil and draw picture stories of my favorite videogames, like Pokémon and Battlezone. These stories lacked any real plot other than the main character going on a grand adventure and discovering strange places and things in the world. I still have some of them tucked away in a Spiderman binder. As I grew older, I thought I would become a video game developer because I wanted to create wicked looking creatures and epic boss fights, but when I was eleven I decided that the best way to get all my ideas out was through writing, and I’ve written ever since.

What was your favorite thing to read as a child? What is it now?

I wish I could say I was a voracious reader when I was younger but I didn’t really read so much back then. When I did read however, four out of five times it was Stephen King. I owe him much of my taste in the grotesque, from books like The Dark Half, Gerald’s Game, and Thinner. These days I read more widely but also a lot more science fiction, which is my main focus in writing. William Gibson is one of my all-time favorite authors in general and a fantastic sci-fi writer, and I’m also reading through some enormous 600-page Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies, which fuel my sci-fi fire like slow-burning logs.

What do you do at Habitat?

I write book reviews for Habitat, which gives me a great opportunity to read more widely and to continue sharpening my analytical skills. It’s like playing a puzzle: find out how the techniques fit together to make the full picture. Having a deadline to meet is scary, but the pressure it puts on me to look closely and learn as I read is important.

What do you think makes Habitat unique? What’s your favorite part of the magazine?

I would say it’s how welcoming Habitat is, from the warm yellows in the home page background to the staff. That’s something I’ve seen in few other magazines, most of which have a very cold, business-handshake-esque demeanor when handling their audience and readership. What I like most though is the vision of Habitat; it’s massive and it seeks to address numerous topics and audiences. Moreover, the magazine is a stage, and anyone who’s willing to speak up, no matter their background, is welcome.

When reading poetry/books, what do you look for? What speaks to you as a writer and a reader?

I’m a sucker for a story with great characters who struggle in a dangerous society or environment, but I like it best when it’s science fiction. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury opened my eyes to just how honest characters can be in science fiction, and really, in any book. Whether those characters were selfish or noble, I admired all of them in some way for being true to themselves, and it’s something I try to emulate with my own characters. Bradbury makes it look effortless but it’s not as simple as it seems.

Frank EnYart

When did you start writing? What made you want to be a writer?

I didn’t really start taking writing really seriously until college. My senior year AP English teacher told me that I was a strong writer and should consider studying English or Creative Writing, but I was pretty resistant. While working on my Associate’s degree, I had another professor tell me he enjoyed my writing, and that time it stuck. I really started taking reading and writing seriously and have been hooked since.

I think wanting to be a writer was a combination of it being one of the few things I felt strongly that I was good at, and on a more profound level, I saw the way the works I was reading affected me, and wanted to be that for somebody else someday—and as I mature, learn more about the world, and grow as a writer I feel like I’m coming to a place where my work can make a positive change.

What was your favorite thing to read as a child? What is it now?

I wasn’t always a huge reader, but as a kid I loved science books, and any sort of “did you know?” type of books—any sort of book that I could learn facts from. I remember I had a book about 50 People that Changed the World and I used to read that so often that I almost had all of their bios memorized. It wasn’t until middle school that I really started reading recreationally. The first proper book I remember reading was Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. I was probably too young to understand what made it so special, but I remember reading it in two or three days.

I’m a huge literary fiction nut, so I don’t read a lot of genre fiction, but I’ve had some good fantasy books recommended to me, so I’m excited to jump into those sometime. My favorite author of all time is probably John Steinbeck. His imagery and philosophical musings are unmatched.

What do you do for Habitat? Why did you want to be a part of the team?

I write for the blog Stomping Ground, mostly covering literary events throughout the city. I had done a decent amount of journalism in the past in a pretty rigid place, and the opportunity to use my journalism and writing skills for an open and creative place like Habitat was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

What do you think makes Habitat unique? What’s your favorite part of the magazine?

Habitat really commits to including incredibly unique pieces of literature,

Habitat really takes creating a diverse literary sphere seriously. A lot of lit mags and publications say this, and their work doesn’t back it up. With the literature from the first issue, to what is happening now in the blog, it’s clear the staff and editors of Habitat and Stomping Ground really care about having a rich variety of voices and content.

When reading poetry/books, what do you look for? What speaks to you as a writer and a reader?

I love books that can make the mundane interesting—which I think is why I stick to literary/realist fiction so frequently. I think it’s a sign of a strong writer when I begin to care in a new way about something I might see everyday. That’s part of the pull of journalism for me, too, is being able to take things that are going on in the world and breathing new life into them.

#interviews #books #literature #journalism

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