Writer Kevin Hinman’s story “Don’t Sleep/Hip Hop is Deaf” was featured in Issue #6 of Newtown Literary. We interviewed him about his writing, and his answers are below. For more of Kevin’s work, check out Magnum Opus (Beats. Bass. Braggadocio.) and Ill Stills (Film. Form. Future.).
What is your relationship to Queens?
Though I’m now a full time California resident, Queens was my post-undergraduate real world crash course. Crammed into a sliver of a Jackson Heights apartment, I fell in love with everything New York had to offer. I rapped Biggie lyrics with my face pressed against the dirty glass of the 7 train as it rounded the glorious 5 Pointz building in LIC, and knew that wherever I ended up, part of me would never leave. After all, New York is a state of mind, and that’s word to Nas.
How would you describe the writing you do?
If Donald Barthelme was a member the Wu-Tang Clan, I’d probably call him out for biting my style.
How did you come to writing?
I wrote my first book as a five year old, sprawled out on the kitchen floor with a fat grip pen and some loose leaf paper. Ninja Turtle fan fiction, I believe.
What inspires you?
Other writers. Rappers. DJs. Filmmakers. Painters and photographers. Time travelers and alchemists. Tight rope walkers. Mustachioed double agents. Cereal box mascots, especially Count Chocula, who runs a really tight ship as far as marshmallows are concerned.
What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
To write in the spirit of Queens is to celebrate the diversity of its people, not only its artists, but its shopkeepers, barbers, nurses, and MTA employees, and all of its out-of-work and out-of-this-world denizens who might otherwise scrape by on the margins unnoticed. It’s the exuberance of drinking all night at Dutch Kills and the frustration of having to squeeze onto the E the next morning at rush hour. It’s sneaking into the PS1 and getting gobsmacked by the power of what you saw on an index card. To be a writer in Queens is knowing you have to come hard every time with every project, because your peers really are that good. Just take a second to flip through Issue 6 and see for yourself. It doesn’t get much better than that.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m currently cruising through the final third of a wild and romantic hip-hop novel entitled When the Mic King Spoke, which takes place over one summer and reads like a hip-hop head’s Nashville. The story is written in a free flowing prose-rap style and follows the lives of the emcees, producers, beat junkies, wannabees and hangers-on that make the NYC rap scene so amazing.
And, finally, my favorite question: What should I be asking you that I didn’t?
I’m also in the final mixing stages of my first full-length hip-hop record with my group Magnum Opus. The album is called Grown Ups are Talking, and mashes a cavalcade of battering ram beats with non-stop, razor flow emceeing and huge anthemic hooks. Due out at the end of the year. Don’t sleep.
Readers, mark your calendars:
- Come to Astoria Coffee on October 20 at 7:30 p.m. for the Risk of Discovery Reading Series. A half hour workshop kicks off the event, followed by an open mic and concluded by readings from Thomas Fucaloro, Christina M. Rau, Jane LeCroy, and Raven Jackson.
- You’ve heard us talk about the Heightening Stories workshops; now come check out what they’ve produced! On October 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Astoria Bookshop, hear stories of social change by Malcolm Chang, Jackie Giurato, Harry Koumrouyan, and Generose Lambert, hosted by Heightening Stories founder/instructor Nancy Agabian.
- Want to give your writing a kick in the pants? Heightening Stories presents the Jumpstart Your Writing online workshop with a session starting starting November 1. Sign up by October 22 to save $25.
- On October 24 at 4:00 p.m., come celebrate the book launch of Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide by Emily Hockaday, featuring guest poet Jackie Sherbow, at Keats Bar, 42 2nd Ave, New York, New York 10017.
- Come one, come all to Newtown Literary’s second Book Trivia Night! On November 2 at Break Bar and Billiards, doors open at 7:00 p.m. Fun trivia, great prizes, and a chance to support the printing of the next issue, due out in December! Register your team now for a free “mulligan”.
- Delve deep into your personal writing as Heightening Stories presents the Creative Nonfiction/Autobiographical Fiction workshop. Enrollment is open until November 4.
- Work on your development and revision skills! Heightening Stories presents the Community Writing Exercise Workshop. Enrollment is open until November 10.
- Boundless Tales is accepting submissions for its current reading series! Submissions are considered on a rolling basis; the next reading will be November 12.