December 14, 2011

Fictionaut: Cooper Renner

I am almost envious of the simplicity of living that long time flocker, Cooper Renner, describes:

What is it like living sparely and simply, something you have mentioned to me, having a simple life as a creative person in all the ways that you do…

I wish I could live even more simply. I guess it all started twenty years ago when I started getting geographically restless. Moving lots of things around gets really boring (not to mention heavy and time-consuming), so I started divesting. About five years later I bought and moved into a travel trailer for the first time and started living in RV parks. One simply can’t pile up a lot of stuff if one has only 200 square feet to live in. And then several years after that I switched to a trailer with less than 100 square feet, so… Having a Nook helps in the book area, and using an iPod helps musically. I’ve long since gotten to the point that things feel like a terrible burden to me, something to care for and worry about. If a university somewhere would give me an office to work out of, then I would almost certainly let books start piling up again, even against my own will, in that office, and still keep my living space light. I tend toward the thought, though I haven’t quite attained the reality of it, that I don’t want to own anything that anybody would want to steal from me.

Cooper, however, mostly talks about his writing with a rather nice hat tip to clusterflock’s creator, Deron Bauman:

Because I didn’t go through the MFA (or any comparable) system, most of my learning about writing has come through reading (mostly older) writers and from contacts with editors (generally writers themselves) who published my poems, notably Gordon Lish and Deron Bauman. I also had long and encouraging correspondences with Donald Hall and Guy Davenport, though we didn’t necessarily discuss my work all that much. We wrote about books, writers, all sorts of things.

comments

  1. Deron Bauman on December 14th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I tend toward the thought, though I haven’t quite attained the reality of it, that I don’t want to own anything that anybody would want to steal from me.

  2. Andrew Simone on December 14th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    It’s such a great aspiration.

  3. Andrew Simone on December 14th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

  4. Sheila Ryan on December 14th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Andrew.

  5. Deron Bauman on December 14th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Andrew, we should do an elimae redesign based on WP or some such.

  6. Andrew Simone on December 14th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I’d be all for it. I’ve been looking for something like that to chew on.

  7. Rick Neece on December 14th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Love this! I’ve long admired Cooper’s movement to divesting, simplifying. I aspire to, too.

    And I agree with Andrew’s tweet.

  8. Michael Grant Smith on December 14th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I submitted some poems to elimae in 2007. Cooper Renner’s wisdom and kindness made me look at my work through eyes other than my own. His editorial input helped make my words into something worthy of publication. I think about his advice very often.

    Plus, my contact with Cooper introduced me to clusterflock, so blame him for that.

  9. Rick Neece on December 14th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    My contact with Cooper introduced me to clusterflock, too. So blame him for my presence here.

    I bless him for the introduction.

  10. Sheila Ryan on December 14th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    MGS and Rick: I blame Cooper for everything. It’s my prerogative. I’ve known the dude since before the beginning of time.

  11. Sheila Ryan on December 14th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Oh. And. Me, too. Renner clued me to clusterflock and hipped Deron to me.

  12. Cooper on December 14th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    You are all very kind. Thank you. (PS: I was able to go barefoot on Galveston Beach today. It was warm for the first time since before Sheila and I met, I think.)

  13. mike topp on December 15th, 2011 at 8:29 am

    This is very interesting. And Cooper is a great editor!