Kyle B. Hart
Kyle Hart is a true Renaissance man. An author, cartoonist, motivational speaker, athlete, and psychologist, there is nothing he can’t do. Finishing the first of his facial hair fables, The Mustache That Cured World Hunger, I thought it’d be a good time to hear what he thinks of his craft and the creative process. Of course, in typical Kyle fashion, he was happy to shed some wisdom on us.
– Briefly, how did this idea for a children’s book come to you, and what was the creative process like?
The inspiration for this book is both sad and humorous, so let’s get the nasty out first. I come from a small town that’s rampant with homelessness. What is seen as a joke to some is truly upsetting for others. I’m the latter, and I wanted desperately to find a way to help these people without handing out cash. On the flip side, I frequently default to rocking a mustache. In a similar vein to homelessness, this is a joke to some, but can be a testament of masculinity, confidence, and strength to others. Again, I am the latter. One night in my study, I was tinkering with some ideas of how I could bridge the topics of raising awareness for homelessness and hunger while upping the social perception of the mustache. Here we are.
– What is your ideal writing situation? Time, place, length of time, etc?
Malcolm Gladwell is famously quoted as saying two things that directly apply here:
“It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a professional at something.”
“You’re a product of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
With this in mind, I stress practicing your craft DAILY (no if’s, and’s, or ‘I’m too tired’s’). For me, that happy spot is with my phone off or on ‘airplane mode’ to ensure no tech distractions, a candle burning (preferably lavender), Carly Comando record spinning (or something piano heavy without vocals), a running timer of 1 hour (2-3 on good days), a keyboard instead of pen and paper (I’m faster at it), and, the ringer, rain. I also purposefully surround my desk (super ideal writing space) with the art work, writing, and album covers of all my closest friends, who act as limitless sources of inspiration to me.
– Is there such a thing as ‘writer’s block’? What would you tell someone who is currently suffering from it, and do you experience it yourself?
Writers block is as false and flimsy as the loch ness monster applying for a job at Plaid Pantry. It’s a fictions reason not to write. Simply put, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent shoveling shit. You have to. There’s no two ways around it. The belief in writer’s block comes pre-packaged with an inflated sense of ability that everything you produce is pure gold. No writer in the history of the world has accomplished, or ever will accomplish, such a feat. Put your butt in the chair, turn your phone off, limit your distractions, write, and let it be. If it sucks, don’t show or tell anyone. Throw it away if you have to. But do it, dammit. Do it.
– Where do you think your creativity comes from, and why do you think you create art?
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Humans are here to fart around, and don’t let anyone tell your different.” Let me couple that with another one-liner from one of my favorite bands The Flatliners, “Before everything falls apart, CREATE!” I think on a macro level creativity comes from a blatant disregard for the “free time norms.” What I mean by that is I feel way more fulfilled when I come home and write, draw, or put effort into a project than I do grabbing a Bud Light and allowing my mind to be numbed by hours of television. (Though I don’t think television is the devil.)
Above all is my friends. The touring band members, the film makers, the writers who I interact with and look up to, and all the ones in between. Sure, I have people who are either dead or huge names that I use for motivation, but no one will ever take the place of my best friends who better the people, concepts, and world around them with their art. Beyond that, reading a lot of self help/personal empowerment books. No matter how “cheesy” you believe them to be, most of them are trained psychologists who understand more about the human brain than you do about whipping your own ass. Don’t discredit them. Also, my supportive parents who have seen me through 23 straight years of angsty art creation.
– Hobbies/interests outside of writing and drawing?
Oh, big time. Long distance running, basketball, whiffleball, 90’s cartoons, The Simpsons, reading books, books, and more books, lots of wall decorations, film, vinyl records, radio talk shows, my family, finding love, my pen pals/hand writing letters, the color purple, peanut butter and pickle spears (not together). Most importantly, my largest hobby, interest, and life goal is empowering others go do what they want in life. The question shouldn’t be “what if I fail?” but instead, “What if I don’t try?”
“Hate regrets more than apologies.”
– Fat Mike of NOFX