Oyster River Pages: Who are the writers/artists who have made you who you are?
Mark Blickley: The single most inspiring piece of work I’ve experienced that most encouraged me to seriously try and become a writer would have to be François Truffaut’s film, The 400 Blows. Viewing it at age 29 changed my life. It taught me that one could turn childhood trauma into a positive work of art. Man Ray has also been an inspiration, as has the entire Dada movement and the 1930’s Group Theater experiment led by Harold Clurman.
ORP: What are the lenses that shape your worldview?
MB: I’d say magnified lenses since I am at heart a dramatist and tend to see the magnificent within the seemingly mundane. For me creativity consists of simply making connections between people/places/things that are not usually considered compatible. I truly process the world via the lens of joyful and extensive research.
ORP: What’s the most important thing you’ve read/seen lately?
MB: I’ve recently read Baroness Elsa: A Cultural Biography by Irene Gammel. It chronicles the life of the largely forgotten woman known as the “Godmother of New York Dada,” Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. I’m so fascinated by this pioneering German performance/body artist/poet that I am working on a one-woman play about her starring Dutch actress Eva Dorrepaal.
ORP: What’s your least favorite word?
ORP: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve created? (line, image, story, etc.)
MB: My book of short stories, Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press).
ORP: What do you want to read/see more of in the world?
MB: I’d like to see more satire in every conceivable genre. I adore satire and believe it is the greatest of all art forms. I find sophisticated sarcasm to be sacred as well as a fine utilitarian and educational tool. I think it’s the safest and most constructive way of channeling anger and rage.
ORP: How do you pay it forward?
MB: I pay it forward by mentoring less experienced writers/artists and supporting the important work of PEN American Center that fights for artistic and political freedom around the world.
ORP: What is the space that has shaped you the most?
MB: I’d have to say the fifth floor walk-up tenement I grew up in the Bronx, New York. At an early age I was subjected to many thrills, spills and chills of an upended lower class urban lifestyle. My father’s death when I was nine and living in a small apartment with four females most certainly had an enormous spatial/shape shifting effect on me. It gave me enormous insights into various female behavioral choices cued by cultural conditioning.
ORP: You’ve just written your autobiography. What’s the title?
MB: Baby Boomerang
New York fine arts photographer Amy Bassin and writer Mark Blickley work together on art collaborations and videos. Their text based art collaboration, Dream Streams, was featured as an art installation at the 5th Annual NYC Poetry Festival and excerpts were published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Columbia Journal of Literature and Art. Their video, "Speaking In Bootongue," was selected for the London Experimental Film Festival. Bassin is co-founder of the international artists cooperative, Urban Dialogues. Blickley is the author of Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press) and proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center. See Mark and Amy's work, "WEATHERED REPORTS: TRUMP SURROGATE QUOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND" from Issue 1.