Cody De Palma

  • Cody-DePalma_webCody De Palma, Academic Transfer

    Cody is a rock star in both Volume 16, in which two of his poems appeared, and in the upcoming Volume 17, in which a handful of his poems and a fiction piece will appear. Cody talks with us about his humor, his dark place, and his love of fantasy and science fiction.

    Illuminations:  In your Volume 16 bio, you said that you “know far too many big words” and “write poetry for fun.” Where does this passion for linguistics and poetry come from? What’s “fun” about poetry?

    Cody:  Words saved me, in a way. I always thought I wouldn’t be talented or sharp enough in anything, especially sports. Then I was introduced to writing in fourth grade, and I found I could create worlds and whole people with the tip of a pencil. Ever since then, I’ve developed my craft in order to eventually become a full-time published author.

    Poetry lets me play with words. Every image can be a metaphor for something else. Anything I write can hit someone straight in the chest and rip out their hearts because somehow they relate to the material. Poetry, in a sense, gives people hope that there’s someone else out there feeling exactly the way they do. That’s why I enjoy it so much.

    I:  Makes sense! As you implied, your poems are straightforward and full of jagged edges. Even your “romantic” poetry has its dangers. Why this tone?

    C:  Often in my life, I’ve come across struggle. And in that struggle, I’ve learned to triumph. It was never easy chasing after girls, especially with my Cerebral Palsy. I hated the world, and I hated myself. I suppose I can say that past resentment comes out in my poetry; a sort of hidden pain that’s eased when it’s put on paper.

    I:  You say you’re an “aspiring novelist.” Do you prefer writing fiction to writing poetry?

    C:  I prefer to be published in fiction because that’s what I fell in love with first. As much as poetry means to me therapeutically, it will never be as prominent in my life. I take my fiction very seriously, which is probably why I’m so anxious when it comes to revealing it. I tend to scrap what I think is a good idea because I feel as though I didn’t present it correctly. Poetry just comes easier. It’s the challenge that creates the allure for fiction. At least for me.

    I:  Got it. Which genre of fiction are you most interested in writing?

    C:  Fantasy or science fiction. I would also like to write a few humorous novels (probably adult or young adult). I have an enormous respect for authors who write fantasy/sci-fi. It takes skill and time to create a world from nothing, as well as the people that inhabit it—coming up with their histories and cultures and the like.

    I also like to have fun with my writing, however. I want to be able to bring joy and laughter to the world. So writing humorous novels would never be out of the question.

    I:  So… can I guess your favorite genre to read?

    C:  Fantasy/science fiction. Many times, I’ll drift into classical works like “Dracula” or “Le Morte d’Arthur.” I’ve always had an overwhelming curiosity for why those works are dubbed “classic.” Someday, I want to be as timeless as them.

    Fantasy, in particular, influences my writing in the sense that modern fantasy authors are able to use modernized terminology in such a way that they can present it with an archaic feel. However, many times in my writing, I will be entirely TOO archaic, and the era I’ve set the story in will feel awkward because of the language. So I’m trying to find a balance between presenting a sort of sophisticated structure without detracting from the story.

    I:  Moving away from fantasy—Volume 17 will feature a short story of yours in which a jaded protagonist falls for a self-conscious girl with cerebral palsy. Where did you get your idea for writing this story?

    C:  I myself have mild to moderate Cerebral Palsy, so the self-conscious character is a kind of copy of me in female form. Of course, her moral compass points straighter than my own. I wanted to show that regardless of our deficiencies, especially physical ones, we can still make a huge impact on people’s lives, both in spite of our circumstances and BECAUSE of them.

    I:  Sounds good. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?

    C:  I’ll be rather successful writing numerous novels in various genres. Hopefully, I’ll own a bookstore by then. And I’ll be a creative writing professor to occupy my time and pay the bills when noveling falters a bit and doesn’t pan out for a period.

    I:  Ambitious! You have a wry sense of humor. How do you see this humor operating in your writing?

    C:  I hope people find me funny. Not because I’m looking for some confirmation, but because I truly want them to laugh out loud when they read my stories. It’s important for me that the reader enjoys the ride, even if there are ups and downs, as much as I enjoy creating the roller coaster.

    I:  What other activities keep you busy besides writing?

    C:  I game. A lot. Maybe too much. It helps get the rage out in a somewhat healthy way. I also read avidly. Recently, I’ve delved into Brian McClellan’s “Powder Mage” Trilogy and H.P. Lovecraft.

    I:  And finally, the silly question of the day:  Batman or Spiderman?

    C:  Spiderman. Spidey sense and his quick reflexes would dominate Bat boy. Especially if he happens to be Ben Affleck under the mask.

    Jack Daniels,
    by Cody DePalma:

    Eyes red,
    soul dead,
    black as the raven.
    Blood
    pours
    from
    lips
    through sharp teeth.
    Chewed through bone, didn't they?
    Hollowed out
    dozens of
    chest cavities
    to find the perfect
    heart.

    Claws
    rip
    and tear,
    made many scars,
    didn't they?

    This is the monster,
    rumbling in the deep,
    awaiting the moment
    to be released
    when my friend, Jack Daniels,
    comes along
    jingling the keys.