Would you give us a bit of background about yourself? Briefly tell us who you are.
I’m Bill Dollear. I am a teacher and a writer. I am now a yogi, thanks to Jade Webber. I live in Chicago. I have traveled to Mexico many times, recently to Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
Would you share with me what were some of your early experiences with reading, writing and art?
I had a mean art teacher in grammar school, Mrs. Moran. Before I had her, I loved art. The interest lagged after my experience of 3 years with her as my art ‘instructor.’ I don’t know where this love, obsession, whatever it is called, for books came from. Yukio Mishima showed me the beauty which can be portrayed with words. Richard Baughtigan showed the freedom one can have when writing a book.
When did you decide to be a writer, and how did you know?
Going back to my elementary days, again, Mrs. Highland, 7th grade, every Friday she put up a word or sentence, and told us to write. I went crazy with the writings.
What was your family unit? Did you have brothers or sisters? Where did you grow up?
I have a brother and a sister. I am the baby of the family. I grew up in Chicago, on the southwest side. This is a part of the city where car knowledge and mechanics and sports knowledge is much more highly valued than books or culture.
What were the dreams of the future you had when growing up? Have you made any decisions in life based on those dreams?
This is a tough one. I hoped to be a famous, rich, published writer. Then I dreamed of being an actor or comedian. When I was younger I wanted to be a professional wrestler. Can’t think of any others right now. I write, tried to pursue that dream.
What kinds of stories were you told growing up?
Not too many, if any. My mother would talk about how they suffered in the depression, sharing tea bags, and she would bring home left over cookies or crumbs for everyone in her family, I think she was the only one who was working at the time. Her father died when she was young. And her mother would never think of taking a job (my grandma Taylor, great, sweet lady).
Were there teachers or teachings that influenced you? How so?
Not really. Definitely not in elementary school through high school. None of them cared about me, at all. University, not so much, either.
What are the things in your life that make you the happiest right now?
Another hard one. Exercising, yoga with the right teacher and right environment (friendly and supporting), reading, theater, traveling, walking.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Go to work.
Do you remember your dreams? Are there any specific ones that you recall giving you insight into you’re life that you’d be willing to share?
I remember many of my dreams. I keep a dream journal. A recurring one is always something to do with packing, leaving somewhere. Recently, it was my leaving my university, but in current time. I had a room full of ‘stuff,’ and only a small suitcase for all of it. That is just one example, but that is a recurring theme.
What are three pivotal moments in your life? How did they come to be?
1. Going away to college. Being on my own, away from home.
2. Losing my mother, 25 years ago, right around this time. I still miss her and think of her everyday.
3. Getting published in the Chicago Tribune, a long time ago, an essay, about a dog I had when I was growing up.
Do you have mentors or other working artists who influence you today?
I admire published, full time working writers.
What do you think is the most important contemporary issue?
There are so many right now. I think the problems in the middle east, the ISIS, etc.
How did you come to have the creative pursuits and lifestyle you have?
Not listening to others. For some reason, the people I have associated with have been very negative (you are a writer? What have you published? They don’t pay you? Why do it?).
What advice would you give those who would like to take a similar path?
Were there any gatekeepers in the professional world for you, people who either let you in or barred the way as you were coming through?
The Chicago Public School system was my gatekeeper, from the time I was a student up to and including when I was a teacher, it did all it could to smash any and all creativity.
Who are your favorite contemporary artists/musicians/writers?
Leonard Cohen, David Lanz, Richard Yates, Gaughan, Scott Spenser.
What kind of control do you think you exert over your own destiny?
A lot of control, but I just have to do it.
What are you own criteria for success?
Liking yourself and getting the admiration of others.
Has money or critical success influenced your creative decision making?
Yes, some schools are very expensive.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Quit worrying and questioning yourself, quit listening to all those naysayers. If you like something, do it.
Do you feel it is important to have more than one pursuit in life? Or is it important to have a singular pursuit?
More than one, as an option.
What do you want to be known for?
Could you describe a current project you are working on now?
Writing a poem a day. On Facebook I am in a group, 5 Line Poems. And editing, redoing, a primary book, Leps and Elves.
When you look forward in your life what do you hope to find there?
A beach to walk on, get the love of writing back and write, be healthy.