We all have thoughts lurking in the dark corners of our minds, to be able to write your life story and properly chronicle those secrets in the fashion that Michael Sanders has done in his book The Alux Chronicles: Spit out of the darkness is nothing short of brave. Can you imagine all the things you’ve done in your life from the age of 18 to well into your later years documented? I don’t know personally; I don’t think I would even want to recall certain memories from those years. Yes, so much pain bleeds through the page – even though we all have memories cemented into our brain that can be positive ones as well. I guess life is all about taking the good with the bad and creating your own path. For more information on Michael please follow him on Instagram @aluxaard .
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
MDS: Only about 30 minutes of every hour of every day. Its usually work or life stress related. I'm the type of person that over analyzes everything to the Nth Degree. When I'm in that state of mind, I'm mentally connecting dots to move towards getting to peace with whatever my given scenario is. Only after I have resolved my self-made, internalized crisis can I let go and create.
I cannot make things until I solve lingering problems. That being said, once my mind and spirit are happy I sit on my balcony, pop on my headphones, grab a bottle of wine and weave in between a selected beat as I stare at the sky, the surrounding environment or sunset. When all else fails, I strap on my Adidas, adjust my Detroit hat and head to a club on a weekend to watch my friends spin records and lose myself on a dance floor for 6 or 7 hours. I usually come home with some wild stories to translate in my own way.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic, how do you contend with yours?
MDS: My shadow and I rarely see eye to eye. This is something that I have grappled with for decades. I read Anthem by Ayn Rand ages ago and that sort of taught me how to merge my dark and light but only goes so far when i'm spiraling downward internally. Usually I don't deal with it well. I will beat myself up for months on end over something until I get to a point where I'm relatively happy with it, but only enough to call it done and move on to the next challenge.
I can't read my own book. Even though others enjoy it, I only see the flaws. I am a classic perfectionist. Again, I head to my balcony to listen to techno and drink wine and think about something new.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
MDS: Oh God yes. I've already mentioned a few but my biggest ritual is sitting still, closing my eyes with my headphones on and visualizing myself moving to a beat. This sort of formed when I was a kid before hockey games. I used to visualize what I would do on the ice. This went to another level when I was 18 and started my poetry journey. In the midst of a horrific acid trip. I made myself calm down and visualize all of the various words and sentences that were flying through my mind like schizophrenic freight trains zipping to and fro. I taught myself how to grab one thought at a time and expand upon it.
It took me a while to learn how to filter out the other noise and focus on one random thought at a time. Of course, for me, that is not at all possible without listening to music and the type of music depends on my mood and what my soul is urging me to write about. In most cases, the tunes in my headphones are dark, hard techno or some funky tribal house. There is just something about at 4x4 beat that puts me in the right mind set for lyrical flow or thinking in stanzas.
If I'm feeling abstract and want to free style, I'll listen to some dark drum and Bass or go back to my roots and listen to some old school hip hop or Rage Against the Machine. If I'm feeling emotional, it will always...ALWAYS be The Kills or The Dead Weather. Alison Mosshart is my forever Muse.
RMMW: What kind of music do you listen to? Who are you favourites?
MDS: We could have a whole interview just about my musical journey. It would take me ages to list everything. Once upon a time I was a raver, DJ and rave promoter. So, to recap the last question:
Old School Hip Hop (KRS-One, Ganstarr, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, etc etc..), Classic Rock/Rock/Metal (Rage, OTEP, Slipknot, Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, MC5, Iggy Pop, etc), Detroit/German Techno (Too many to list.), Chicago/New York House (Too many to list.)
UK Drum and Bass/Jungle (Too many to list), It would probably easier just to give you my playlist. lol
RMMW: What is your favourite genre to write in?
MDS: Science Fiction and High Fantasy. Frank Herbert, author of Dune, is my favorite writer of all time. He is just brilliant and has inspired me in everything that I do.
RMMW: How many unpublished manuscripts do you have?
1. My Second Poetry Anthology. 2. A Science Fiction Novel 3. A space Horror that is a sequel to Sci Fi Novel 4. A third book for the trilogy that I haven't even fleshed out an outline for yet. 5. A Fantasy Novel that involves Aspect Dragons that based around the theme of the Plato's Cave allegory.
RMMW: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
MDS: My writing is ad hoc and only when I feel words flying through my head. When I go to that mode, it doesn't stop until my tank is empty. That could be 10 minutes or 10 months.
My actual Work life is insane and chaotically stressful. After working 60 hours a week, its hard to let go and open up the creative mind.
RMMW: How difficult or easy did you find it to chronicle your life from 18 to your older years in your book The Alux Chronicles: Spit out of the darkness?
MDS: It was bar none, the single hardest thing that I have ever had to face in my life. Experiencing the hardships of life are one thing, but when you chronicle all of them in one big story, you have to face some major demons and be good with it before you share it with the world. I can't even tell you how many times I had to re-edit chapters and found myself crying over my various life moments. It was soul crushing and rewarding in the same breath. It was basically therapy.
It took me months to gain the courage to share it with my family before I published it. There were countless stories within that I never told them. It was a relief when I told them, they read it and loved it and me, even more for it. I'll never forget my Dad telling me, "It is your life, your story. Why would I hate you? We have and will always love you no matter what." Pressing publish on Create Space was nerve wracking. I don't think I slept for about 2 weeks as I worried about what people thought.
RMMW: Do you have any favourite indie visual artists?
MDS: Clearly I have a theme.. Music.. Although I love all art, classical artists and contemporaneity, and am very much in love with comics. Rob Liefield (Creator of Dead Pool to name one)
However, some insane visual and auditory art that I adore is Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman. He is a pioneer and legend from the early 1990's Third Wave of Techno from Detroit. He has always been one of my favorite Techno DJ's and Heroes. Every record release party that he ever threw or any party that he organized was always visually stunning and hypnotizing.
Even today, he produces these shows called "Close". He performs all music live, no records and he has it setup to do the light and laser show as well. Its phenomenal. He is a true artist in every way. I love him.
RMMW: What do you think is your greatest life achievement so far?
MDS: Surviving every day. I never thought I would make it to age 25. I was beyond reckless as a kid. Every day that I wake up still alive, is the greatest achievement in my life.