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An Interview with Blake4d : Talking shop about Writing and Being an Artist in 2012
Readers who are interested in more about Blake4d and his writings should seek out his complete works on Hub Pages.
Who is Blake4d really?
This is my interview with a local writer and Phoenix, Arizona resident that I have been close with for sometime now.
If taking a little time to get to know the inner workings of a writer and their mind can help inspire others, I am sure that Blake4d would never shirk at the chance to do so.
So here is a brief interview with an infamous and multifaceted member of the Hub Pages writers, Blake4d.
Bibi16 : First things first, where and when were you born?
Blake4d : I was born in Louisville, Kentucky on Father's Day June 16th in the Summer of Love, 1968. Although technically my delayed certificate of birth was issued in Wheeling, West Virginia, because my family was on the road at the time. The story behind that is a little vague, as sometimes happens in families. But I am a Six Sixteen Sixty-eight baby boy with hillbilly blood.
Bibi16 : Obviously Blake4d is not your birth given name correct?
Blake4d : No it isn't. Blake4d is my nome de plume and only has been my pen name since beginning to write for the Internet in 2010. I was born Blake Adam Ford ( Ford being my mother Kathryn's maiden name )...and around three years old I took the last name of my first step father Bob Hall. When taking his last name, my mother decided that we both should keep our original family name Ford, and so she and I both carried it over as our middle name. She became Kathryn Ford Hall and I became Blake Ford Hall. She would later divorcee Bob Hall, but kept Ford as her middle name even when she married again years later. Today we have different last names, but carry the Ford family name as mother and son for life. Blake4d is an acronym is invented using my name back in 1997 when signing up for my first free hot mail account. I came up with the idea while scribbling on a post it note. Blake Ford = Blake4d dropping my last name all together, and it became my first user name.
Bibi16 : Ummm so you mean...
Blake4d : Okay, okay. So to explain it more simply. Blake is my true first and birth given surname. My middle name is Ford, which I have turned into an alphanumeric homonym, Ford = 4d ...and so my pen name is Blake4d. After dropping my legal last name of Hall. My AZ drivers license reads Blake Ford Hall.
Bibi16 : So what was your childhood like?
Blake4d : Well, I was an only child and lived most of my early years with only my mom and I, our family has all the stereotypical dysfunctional problems of abuse, addiction, lots of bullshit and alcoholism...with the bonus dimensions of multi-generational perpetuation of the same and worse. Out of respect to my mother I won't discuss any of the grosser details. Let's just say this. Imagine all the worst kinds of abuse, violence, and neglect that can be done to a young child by her parents - then imagine a young girl having them done to her day after day for the first decade of her life. Then add to being afflicted with Polio until the vaccine was invented around the time she was seven or eight. Imagine all that, crippled, bed ridden, and all the aforementioned things. Now imagine what it must of taken for that young girl to survive those years. That little girl was my mom.
Bibi16 : So your mother raised you all alone?
Blake4d : For the most part, my first stepfather was only around a few of the years between three and ten years old. But he helped my mom leave her family in Louisville, and never look back again. She has been the constant in my life as parent, mother, and family. She was my world all of my youngest years as a boy. She was also the most dedicated single mother that you can imagine, I never really needed another parent, I drew the winning ticket in the lottery of life with her.
Bibi16 : Are you still close with her?
Blake4d : Yes, very...perhaps to the point of being dysfunctional over bonded. I am a mama's boy to be sure, even as an adult. She is all the worst and best aspects of an overprotective, and codependent neurotic mother. But she and I also have a friendship and honesty that surpasses anyone else I have ever known as mother and son. Whatever we lost by virtue of having to be mom / son, and surrogates for our adult child issues respectively...was equally traded in turn for a relationship that is psychologically deeper than you could attain any other normal way in other more normal families.
Bibi16 : Did you become more like your mom or more different?
Blake4d : You know on a day when we were having an argument over something, about who knows what? And I remember that I asked my mom if she and I were not mother and son, would I be the type of person she would want to know and be friends with. Without blinking, she immediately responded, No. Not overly emotional, or angry, or even coldly...just a calm matter of fact, No. She is conservative and practical, where I am creative and charismatic. She is linear and materialistic, I am abstract and philosophic. She is agony, I am ecstasy. Yet, I have counter balancing sides to my personality that definitely make my yin look calmly logical to her post traumatic yang. Especially when it comes to emotions and inner child issues, that is the line in the sand where it seems that we do a kinda role reversal as parent and child. To the outsider looking in all might seem very chaotic, but for our two part family unit - it is really as good as it gets. Plus despite all those things, we do love each other unconditionally. I would take a bullet for her in a devils heartbeat. We are so perfectly imperfect for our needs as people, it is ironic that we are family.
Bibi16 : In what ways do you think your mom most influenced you as a person?
Blake4d : My mom has an incredible mind, strong, adaptable, and razor sharp when she sets her mind on a target or goal. I am nowhere near as driven as she is naturally, but I make up for it by having inherited a double dose of her tenacious need for details. And I can only hope that I have also inherited her natural gift for material worldly manifestation of money and good work ethics. I swear my mom can make money from dirt if she needs it and is her generosity is only outweighed, by her karmic tendency to misplace her loyalties and trust very unworthy recipients of her good fortune, myself absolutely to be included. But most people who meet us, don't initially recognize us for mother and son, that is how different we are in looks, mannerisms, attitudes, even the way we speak...and darn it she got good teeth that are nearly straight to this day, and I got teeth like a inbred moonshine making mountain boy from the backwoods.
Bibi16 : So, when did you first become interested in the arts?
Blake4d : I know this, that I wrote my first poem when I was four. I remember it was called ' Coloring the Planets ' - I used to have it in a scrapbook, but it was lost years ago. It was about half a page , long as two or three haiku poems in length. I also remember drawing with pencils and crayons around that same time, I drew my mom pictures of two dragons fighting each other. One breathing fire, the other breathing water out its mouth...I colored one red, the other blue. When I showed it to my mom or someone, they asked me what it was, I told them the blue dragon was a water-breathing dragon and when it kissed the red dragon, it put out it's fire. Weird huh? I also was reading at least a year or two above my age level by five. But I hadn't yet connected those activities as doing art, it was just me playing alone and finding ways to pass the time, as only children have to do very often.
Bibi16 : Were you always naturally talented?
Blake4d : My friend kimberlyslyrics on Hub Pages says I have not talent. LOL! That is a tough question, I have had to learn almost everything that doesn't involve creativity with hard work in life. But art, particularly writing, well that was a little bit different. As the years progressed and I entered kindergarten and grade school, it became apparent to my teachers, my school advisers, and my mom that I was advanced in several areas of learning. Reading, comprehension, memory, creative use of writing and language skills, imagination...and an unfortunate stubborn dislike for other children. I was egocentric and considered most kids dumb or slow witted, I also had a lot of health problems which kept me from playing outdoors like normal kids my age until I outgrew my bronchitis over the next few years. I was naturally gifted with writing and words before I even entered kindergarten. I had written two short story, novella length 'books' - both around fifty handwritten pages. One was about an island of giant snakes with a shipwrecked military airplane and its crew stranded. The other was a very psychedelic sci-fi story about time traveling aliens from Jupiter coming to save the Earth from Nuclear War breaking out between the US and China ( I think it was called Spaceport 1985...or something like that ). I also discovered dancing after my step dad took me to see Saturday Night Fever, I wasn't very good but I enjoyed it a lot. I also got my first little cassette recorder from Bob Hall, and as early as seven was experimenting with primitive recording and sound. Mostly clipping effects off TV shows, silly stuff, but I was the only kid on my block that was doing so...I guess that was my own natural talents first showing themselves for the first time.
Bibi16 : What are your actual talents and skills that you have achieved?
Blake4d : Well I play several instruments, but guitar is my best one. I can sing and play, and what I lack in technical mastery I seem to make up for in natural ear for anything to do with sound, music, recording, even public speaking as such. I write, and have recently begun some journalistic explorations as a writer. I have done a lot of photography, have a good head for computers and have taught myself a lot in the last decade around software in various applications.
Bibi16 : You have told me that you are kind of jack of all arts, is that true?
Blake4d : It has taken me a number of years to realize that about myself. Part of it is that I always was a bit of a flutter-by about sticking to one thing, or project or art. Over time I have done a lot of stuff. I have been in a couple dozen bands that made it to various levels of success, have been a movie extra in about a dozen movies, have been everything from a surveyor to a web designer to a piano mover in my daily work life. Have started my own home business a couple times over now with varied degrees of success. I haven't found anything yet that I couldn't teach myself if I had a sufficient enough interest in learning it. My biggest downfall as a human being is my procrastination streak. Once I get going, I am very prolific with anything I do...but it can take me a while to get going, God and Goddess bless my family for putting up with me over the years, especially my Mom. Recently, the last few years have seen my online writing progress, so I am in a new phase, and am writing on several websites. It seems to be paying off.
Bibi16 : Do you call yourself an Artist?
Blake4d : I have to say yes, but as one of my favorite anonymous quotes states, 'Just because no one understands you, doesn't make you an artist." I don't like to limit myself with labels much, but I am admittedly multifaceted. I am a skilled writer, poet, designer, and semi-skilled at web design, HTML, photography, and my favorite software suite is Photoshop and notepad. I do really love computers, I am a cyberpunk more than I am any other label you could hang on me. I also proud that I am a musician. I am fairly skilled at playing guitar, bass, some piano, keyboards, singing a little ( can sing and play any of the instruments mentioned ), and an amateur audio engineer. I can sorta dance a little in several styles, and dabble in other mediums for fun. I probably left something out, but let's go on anyway.
Bibi16 : So what draws you to writing?
Blake4d : Writing was my first mistress, my first art that I excelled in. So in a way she will always be that for me, I suppose being a writer has a certain stigmata that it leaves with you, and you show the signs of being a writer outwardly as well as inward. But personally I have always found that the written word had a way of letting me speak my mind, but still edit that personal side that I wanted to share only in part with the world direct and openly. Plus the pen, the pencil, the typewriter, they keyboard...all the tools of writing have felt right at home in my hand.
Bibi16 : Okay, let's ask some of the questions your readers probably have wanted to know about you, Are you ready?
Blake4d: Sure, fire away my dear.
Bibi16 : Are you Anti-Christian?
Blake4d : No not at all. I am if anything Anti-Anti, one of my most basic beliefs is that that prejudice is the root of most human problems in communication. Furthermore, prejudice of prejudice is the ultimate anti-oxymoron statement. I am against being against things just because you oppose them personally.
Bibi16 : Are you Pro-Choice?
Blake4d : I believe that most issues concerning women and their bodies should be decided and debated by women, That does not make him pro or anti, either life or choice.Instead I would say I am more pro-women and their ability to make the best decision for their bodies and babies. If men are doing their part by the women in their lives, then men will be represented in such opinions as a whole. Pro-choice or Pro-life, I really am not either. I have one daughter, and that was not a part of our decision making concerning her during the pregnancy.
Bibi16 : Are you a Liberal?
Blake4d : Most people would be surprised to find I have been a registered Republican during every election of his life. That does not mean I always voted left or right, I have usually tried to vote based on the individual or legislation at hand. So this has rarely caused me to be one-sided with anything based on a party affiliation. Blake4d is currently unregistered as a voter, and has been since 2009 for personal reasons. Those reasons being that I am a convicted felon, but one day may get my rights back to vote. In actuality it does not make a huge difference in how I conduct myself as a citizen.
Bibi16 : Are you a Hippie?
Blake4d : I consider myself more of a techno-pagan or a cyberpunk with pagan tendencies. Although my mom had some of the hippie utopian ethics, I was raised listening to the Beatles and Bob Dylan, if that counts.
Bibi16 : Do you come from money?
Blake4d : That is so not true, if anything he came from dirt poor country roots. If it were not for my mom, I am not sure I would have had anything. No we are at best middle class.
Bibi16 : Are you well educated?
Blake4d : No, certainly not in the traditional sense. I have gone to college, but only hold a General Studies AGS. I have a Reverend license and state issued title from time spent studying in a local seminary. I have self educated myself in too many things to list. My greatest achievement has been successful learning the method by which I learn things best, I can teach myself anything that I set my mind upon. This I know for sure. I also was made a knight several years ago, by a gentleman who had the correct honorable status to do such a thing, at least they said so. LOL! I do have a very high appreciation of many things in the arts, science and religion. I also have a huge want to learn more things, I read more now due to the Internet, but it helps me avoid being lazy. And I day dream a lot, my imagination has always helped me overcome my personal learning blocks.
Bibi16 : Are you a lover of animals?
Blake4d: I have a very loyal, yet very dumb old dog named Honcho Poncho. I also have two tortoise shell calico girl cats, the older of which is Maggie age 8ish, and Piper age 3ish, and an old alley cat that adopted me a few years back named Mouser, although he is 6ish and the size of a small pit bull in weight. Mouser is a cross eyed Abyssinian Tabby. Yes I love my animals, but am not a fanatic for animal rights. Meaning, I love my animals, I don't necessarily feel that for all animals. Some animals are just jerks. They can stay outside.
Bibi16 : You have a fascination with things like cults. What is it the draws you to these subjects?
Blake4d : That has been a long time interest of mine, for a variety of personal and philosophic reasons. Forgive me if I am a bit wordy on this one. You see I am interested in how many cult movements have existed in various forms through the centuries. The Gnostics, the Socratics, the Hermetics, the Hospitallers, the Templars, the followers of Galileo and Copernicus, the Oashpe movement, the earliest New Age followings, the Christian Scientists, the artists of all musical styles from Baroque to modern Electronica, the Forum, Est, Hippie culture, and all modern civil rights movements began with their formative cult stages. I have my opinions, but I did not put you into any category that could not equally equate you with modern 12 step as easily as the 23 enigma. Recently I wrote one article , and I am not sure that it has had that large of an effect, but the group I wrote about was so offended that I referred to them as a cult, that they took some covert actions that I had to deal with privately. But I do know a number of people who know some people who were part of the group and even attended it a few times, and not all of them are negative experiences, nor all are positive. Yet they were a cult in the truest form. It has just been something that I have had some experiences with, even earlier in my life with Scientology and other similar groups. I have had the strange luck to meet some of these things head on, so I felt the need to write about it over time.
Bibi16 : Is that the same reason for your series of articles on the Year 2012?
Blake4d : Well, in that same vein of thought, there are many groups that are upcoming contenders for the new religions and belief systems of this new millennium. I am not a believer in the end of the world coming in 2012 and never w.we are lucky enough to be a part of it. Personally I believe in what my online friend Eden Sky says about 2012...basically get your own house in order and cleaned up, then if you have any time left before the cycle ends, spend it being an agent of calm. Because the world will need as many of us being an example of calm in the coming storm, to counter balance those that are not ready to deal with the coming changes on the planet. Even so, I believe a great majority of us will survive and be just fine come 2013.
Bibi16 : What is something that you are still trying to achieve in your life?
Blake4d : Some people may wonder what I'm about. Well I believe in balance in life and freedom of self expression, with a spirit of responsibility, but I also try to value the importance of being down to earth. Although I am the last person you could pin down to being realistic and practical. I am ever trying to get the right energy that allows me to keep doing the chores, the day to day things, as well as using talents involving higher functions. But alas such is the curses of spontaneously brought on creativity or insight. I would like to someday strike a balance between my free time with my work, even the chores. There is no point in talking the talk about peace and enlightenment unless you're willing to be humble and practical in everyday life, but perhaps that is why I am a cyber freak. Balance would have to be my answer.
Bibi16 : What is your favorite thing to drink?
Blake4d : Iced tea, but anything with caffeine.
Bibi16 : What is your favorite curse word?
Blake4d : M*therfu*ker or just fu*k, but the multiple syllables of the former make it such a more formidable word than almost anything in the English language.
Bibi16 : Who are your three favorite writers, of any genre?
Blake4d : That is tough, but the writers that probably had the greatest influence on me in my early years were George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien and Colin Wilson. Later down the road Manly P. Hall and others were equally important.
Bibi16 : And finally who are your three favorite poets?
Blake4d : William Butler Years, Emily Dickenson and William S. Burroughs. I also am really influenced by Jim Morrison, although I sometimes hate to admit it publicly. But no reason to lie about it.
Bibi16 : So concludes this interview with Blake4d.
Blake4d : That's all folks...remember it ain't over 'till it's over.