Bio: Constantine was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and raised by his mother and his aunt. A wholesome Boy Scout and frontman for Tampa ska/punk band: H1N1, he attended St. Petersburg College for his Associate of Arts and New College of Florida for his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He escaped to Colorado in 2015 where he served with AmeriCorps and later pursued his dream to become a wilderness therapy field guide, completing 550 field days.
He enjoys writing,
tea, cooking, brooding, dancing, yoga,
astronomy reprehensibly long walks, movies, being outdoors
etc. & such forth.
THE ARGONAUTS (Nelson) meets SEE A GROWN MAN CRY/NOW WATCH HIM DIE (Rollins) in this raw & rattling Memoir-meets-Chapbook spanning more than 10 years of writing [50k words]! Rummagings of journals, shoebox scraps, forgotten notes, and letters to loved ones come together to tell one writer’s coming-of-age and his quest for unconditional self-love by dissecting his darkness. Each one-year chapter explores love, regret, identity, existence, ambition, depression, and the insanity of it all, neatly coming to a close with Constantine Dhonau’s fireside banter of contextual backstory for each chapter.
Here are a few opinions (and I’d love to hear your honest thoughts too!):
“…a veritable gift of living poiesis for the soul…a divinely inspired offering of transparent truth and personal revelation born from a life-transforming encounter with all too often denied, and at times necessarily despised parts of oneself.”
“…exactly the kind of unpretentious yet sophisticated document that serves as both a spiritual handbook and an inspirational artifact.”
“Without fail, the compelling images, thoughts, and feelings, expressed through the self explorations of a young person straddling the thresholds of adolescence to adulthood have provided potent learnings into understanding what’s most important – how to be wholehearted and genuinely human.”
“Even now as I read the first page I laughed out loud. I think if you choose to buy this book, I believe you may find something in it to make you wonder, make you laugh, make you want to be a better person, and make you appreciate life just a little bit more.”
“…it peels back layers and defenses in one’s own psyche and relays the message of vulnerability that is universally common in being human and necessary in the journey of self-love.”
What is the name of your book and how did you get started?
Collateral Intentions started as a personal project to compile my writing from all the little stores I had it socked away, mostly scrawled across journals. In the process of retracing pages of myself and my life, I would casually talk about it with friends and strangers and I started getting requests to buy a copy once it was finished. Through the editing process, all these poems and letters still felt a bit “unsupported”. It didn’t seem enough to bring a comprehensive collection together. I started to get questions from readers, “How did you come up with this?”, “What was happening in your life?” and it clicked: poetic memoir hybrid. Each chapter is about one year of my life and ends with a snippet of what that year entailed: lessons learned, love risen and lost, developmental breakthroughs, the wild unknown, and the like. Now, it’s all polished and shiny for your dazzling, hungry eyes.
What inspires you?
Darkness has historically been a primary source of inspiration. For one, I am NOT a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. I’m quite at peace with that. When I was a child my mom and I had daily fights in the morning to get me roused and moving. When I was a late teen my girlfriend and I had nocturnal flying squirrels as pets. I was typically one of a handful roaming my college campus in the hours before dawn. Darkness is peaceful for me. I also draw upon interior darkness. Those gritty, gristly places that are uncomfortable. I try to be with them when they come knocking and give them a voice, lest they end up trying to control me after ignoring them. That inner darkness brings me wisdom and understanding if I can meet it with acceptance.
What does success look like to you?
Success as a writer means being able to look back at what I’ve created with surprise and delight. Success as an author means getting the book to a point that it begins to sell itself, generating passive income even in the most meager amount. Success as an artist means continuing to challenge the norms we live in, to shine a light on them enough to invite the question, “Are you sure this is what you want to be doing?”
What is your favorite movie that was based on a book?
Fight Club. One of the few movies that was as good or better than the book. I personally like the movie even more. The cinematography and soundtrack are fast-paced and alternative enough to keep me engaged beyond the long-winded rants Palahniuk has a tendency to fall into. Of course, it appeals to my baser inner-teen and the end gets me every time. The Pixies owe a great deal to that movie and vice versa.
What genre do you write in?
I’m a poet. There. I said it. Feel free to let out your groans, facepalms, and long exhales. Poetry is accessible for me. I enjoy conveying complex things with elegant simplicity. More than that, it’s a habit similar to dieting. I’ll get really deep into it until I fall off then come back for a New Year’s resolution.
How do you attract new business?
Currently, I’m going around town and around the woods hiding copies of my book with bookmarks that have contact & payment information on them. Those are the places I like to go so I figure I should take it to the places I like so like-minded folk might find it. Plus, I just like hiding things and easter eggs and whatnot. It’s been fun (:
If you could have superpowers what would they be?
Teleportation. Hands-down, 100%. It would be so efficient. I could go anywhere instantly. See everything, eat anything, anywhere, any time. No travel time or costs. I could take people with me for instant squad vacations. With the right equipment, I could go to other planets, galaxies, maybe even dimensions. UGH. Yes. I would be a Teleport. And a cool one too, like Nightcrawler, who leaves this dark cloud whenever he poofs.
What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?
Write what you like. Otherwise, readers will never get to decide whether or not they like your writing because you’re so busy trying to please everyone else.
What helps you to stay motivated?
Acceptance. That kind of “wherever you go, that’s where you are” philosophy that meets each challenge and triumphs as a small step on a larger journey. I give up trying to understand everything all the time and what does it all mean? and I just smile when things do make sense or I get the feeling that they will soon.
What projects are you working on right now?
I won’t go into terrible detail…well, in fact, I won’t go into detail at all. I’m working on something completely different from Collateral Intentions. It’s something equally as dear and important to me. I’ve also got thoughts of a series very closely related to Collateral Intentions.
Any other information you would like to include for our readers?
This is my first book. I self-published. Full-disclosure. Poetry is a tough sell. People often want chapbooks of their old favorites or anthologies of the greatest of the great. Memoirs? Equally challenging. If you’re not Oprah Memoirphrey or Matthew McMemoirhey or some recovering homeless heroin addict who became a millionaire, people aren’t particularly interested. Combine the two and phew, I’ve got my work cut out for me. That said, we live in an extreme country in extreme times and increasingly extreme generations. It can be nice to come back down to earth and feel that connection that comes when someone’s not so different from us.
Thank you for having me!
Thank you Constantine for this lovely interview!
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