KATIE CLARK interviews JOSEPH PARKER OKAY and ELIJAH PEARSON of SPY KIDS REVIEW + 2FAST2HOUSE

Joseph Parker Okay and Elijah Pearson are phenomena. Not only are they talented and inventive writers (they are the authors of “my phone is about to die and i hope it takes me with it” and “a nt” respectively), they are champions of independent and alternative artists. They are the parents of not only Spy Kids Review but also 2fast2house, both of which offer a space for artists of various forms to challenge norms and push boundaries.

katie clark:

so for starters, how was 2fast2house born?

joseph parker okay:

last march i moved into boost house where elijah was already living. starting a lit journal was something the 2 of us had talked about briefly before that, but it wasn’t until then that we sat down and actually talked about how to make it a reality. idk who first mentioned it (probably elijah) but one of the things we discussed was starting a publishing house. i felt like it was a goal that was way off in the future, but by the time we put out the first issue of spy kids review (~2 months later) we’d already read alli’s manuscript and knew it was something we wanted to help put into the world.

elijah pearson:

like most of our ideas I think it kinda just started by using saying “I bet we can do that” we have gotten really lucky with both spy kids and 2 fast 2 house that there are so many amazing poets in our life who are not only willing to take risks with us but are also excited to! None of it would have been possible without our Kickstarter funding either.

katie clark:

haha Incredible– “i bet we can do that.” i wish i could go back and change my senior quote. what brought you both to boost house?

joseph parker okay:

the internet- being sad on twitter specifically

elijah pearson:

being sad and unsure of where I wanted to go in the world and what I wanted to do. I just kind of ended up in boost house. it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

katie clark:

well the world is certainly better for it. speaking of being sad on twitter, both of you engage a lot with social media both in and outside of your art– what about it inspires you? and how has that affected how you create?

elijah pearson:

social media is currently the best access point for people to engage with poetry for the first time or even begin writing. It is this incredible place to learn and grow and read outside of academia which is often restrictive and keeps out people who need these outlets of expression. most tweets have more genuine emotion than the poems that highly educated people write. there is an amazing community of people on twitter who have the most beautiful things to say, both in their books and online. I want to support all of them. I have never felt more at home than I did at Catch Business’s Lil Lit Fest in Denver surrounded by people from the internet. obviously social media isn’t all good & I have a pretty extensive list of issues with it. but I do view it as an amazing tool for writers.

oh I guess I forgot the second question. Most of the poets we have reached out to in the past / would like to publish in the future are people who we know online. We also definitely have a soft spot for poetry submissions that are twitter influenced.

joseph parker okay:

i feel like my creative output would be a lot less without twitter. i get a lot of milage out of my tweets by repurposing them as titles for poems/stories and lines in them as well. the first short story i ever got published was actually just a big mashup of my tweets along with an old failed-poem.

katie clark:

i completely agree elijah– it makes great work so much more accessible. and that’s a good point about output. and i’m curious, speaking of “failed poems,” what makes you feel proud or not proud of something you create?

joseph parker okay:

basically i just don’t want to make anything that’s boring, i don’t want to waste anybody’s time. i’m proud of a piece when i feel it says what i want it to say in the way i want to say it and i’ve edited out all the first-draft fluff.

elijah pearson:

lmao that’s exactly what i was gonna say. Nice.

katie clark:

I think that’s really well said. So what projects are you working on currently / What is exciting about life to you right now?

elijah pearson:

Im currently working on a kind of ridiculous project of 3 chapbooks for one of my favorite publishers and I am so so so stoked about it!!! I am also starting to plan a really long tour for next year !!! I fricken love exploring !! I’m really excited to see what we can do with 2f2h too! we have received some amazing manuscripts and have so many more on the way I think we are going to be able to publish some amazing work in the next year and I’m so so grateful.

joseph parker okay:

my biggest projects at the moment include petting dogs and staying out of the sun. besides that my first book in print was just released today (probably be out for a bit by the time this is published) and i have at least one more digital book coming out this year. for 2017 i have 2 printed books and a digital one planned so far. submissions for spy kids’ third issue just ended so now we’re going thru them all and putting together a shortlist. usually that’s something we do while the submission period is open but this is the first time we’ve both had full time jobs during a reading window and it kind of got away from us. and like elijah said, we’re currently talking with a few authors we really love about adding them and their amazing work to the 2f2h family.

katie clark:

woah congrats both of you- I can’t wait to read everything!! thank you both so much for taking the time to talk, I’m so psyched about what you have going on! just one last question: what do you want most out of this coming week?

elijah pearson:

calm 🙂  that’s it. thank you so much for interviewing us!

joseph parker okay:

i want my book to sell a lot of copies lol but mostly i just want to finish all the things i need to get done so i can relax without a cloud of guilt hanging over me. o wow this was exciting and fun to do, thanks so much for taking the time to interview us katie 🙂

About the interviewees

Joseph Parker Okay lives in Tucson with his best friend/cat. He’s the author of “my phone is about to die and i hope it takes me with it” (2F2H, 2016) as well as several ebooks, which can be found at http://gumroad.com/josephparkerokay …. He tweets @verysoftlake.
elijah pearson: @smallpuddle.

KATIE CLARK  is a queer poet on the verge of the twenties who belongs to a lot of places: Jacksonville, parts of Georgia, the pioneer valley. Currently a student at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. Katie is figuring it out. Likes planting things and being alive, generally. Katie’s poems have been in Alien Mouth, Vagabond City, and Spy Kids Review, amongst other kind pages. Medias at forelevenseas.tumblr.com and @octupiwallst.

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Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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