R. Bentz Kirby Q&A
Mr. R. Bentz Kirby—author, songwriter, and former-attorney—has stepped up to the plate to answer some questions for our blog! Keep reading to learn about his life and his recent book of poems, titled DREAM WORK.
1) For the readers who don't know, you pretty much died 6 years ago, right? Would you like to briefly recount that story for them?
Sure. I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest which is when you heart stops beating. According to vital signs I was clinically dead for approximately 10 minutes. Only about 1.5% of people survive a SCA. I was lucky to have an off duty paramedic with an Automated External Defibrillator stop and shock my heart. Also some people stopped and she directed them on CPR. The doctor said that it was a miracle I was not a vegetable after being without oxygen for that long. I have a two part blog in which I describe what I recall of the experience. [part 1] [part 2]
Side note, I was driving through Easley, SC when it happened. Easley is where I lived before I moved to Thomasville.
2) How much of your book DREAM WORK was written after you died? Can you yourself see a difference in how your creativity has manifested itself?
Probably about a third of it was written after the SCA. Most of those poems deal with themes regarding the thin line between death and life. They also are about subjects like reincarnation and me trying to make sense of the experience. A good part of that work has been through becoming aware of my dreams and how they help me process this experience.
One of the poems goes back to my time in Thomasville circa 1970 and was written in that time period. There are several others relating directly to my Thomasville life which were written within the last few years.
3) Do you have a favorite (or a couple favorites) among the poems delivered in DREAM WORK?
My favorite poems printed in the book are:
Stories from 601
A Glass of Tea
4) I see that you have a day job as an attorney, but you also have a gig as an acoustic guitar player for a band in South Carolina. Is it easy to pair the two, as well as keep up with your writing?
I have some damage to my brain that keeps me from being able to practice law at this time. However, I did both music and law for a number of years and practicing law did interfere with the music! Music was my escape from the stress involved in practicing law. The poems have been written when I was inspired. If I was involved in work I would write out a short description and then work on the poem later after work. Now that I no longer practiced law I am writing more poems but the songwriting stayed about the same.
5) I know you went to high school here in Thomasville, but did you grow up here as well? Are parts of it that you miss?
I moved to Thomasville in 1966 while I was in the 8th grade. We moved away in 1971 just about 6 weeks before graduation. To this day I still identify with the City of Thomasville because I came of age here. I do miss living in Thomasville and the friends I made here. I have many friends both from school and the YMCA where I spent a lot of time. I play music in a band with three friends from Thomasville. I feel that these ties are strongest because it seems like it was the "magical" time of life. I also miss the magic of Thomasville such as well as Paradise Park, The Big Oak, pool room hot dogs, and access to natural marvels like Wakulla Springs and Wacissa Springs. My wife and I love visiting Thomasville and The Bookshelf
There seems to be so much we can learn from Bentz Kirby and his art. If your interest has been whet, make sure to swing by the store between 2 and 4 pm this Saturday (10-27), when Bentz Kirby will be in town and signing copies of DREAM WORK!