No Wonder You Were Afraid to Ask. #10 C.C. Russell. High Plains Poet Who likes the Coldest Side of the Bed


I’ve known Craig since our high school days. I always remember him as being shy, but he was very clever. The type of person who could chime in with the witty thing to say just at the right time. I also recall that whenever he would say something funny, it was always accompanied by this signature sheepish grin. I think my favorite memories of Craig, were talking it up with him on our long baseball trips, in junior high. He was always so interesting to talk with. It was really cool to reconnect with him on Facebook years later and find out he was also a writer. It is awesome to see published writers coming out of our small town.

When asked what he was working on, Craig said, “I am shopping around two manuscripts right now (one poetry manuscript and one short story collection), so hopefully someday soon I will be promoting them. I do have stories and/or poems upcoming in The Colorado Review, Hobart, and among others. Right now, following me on Twitter is the best way to stay up to date on recent publications of mine.”

Today, Craig lives in Casper, Wyoming. He ended up in Wheatland where we first met, after his family moved there from East Liverpool, Ohio. Craig said, “My family moved out to Wyoming when the steel mills started laying off their employees and my father took us west in search of work. I’ve lived in Wyoming for much of the time since, apart from five years in New York.”

Even though Craig has a lot of published pieces of work, when I asked what he was most proud of he said, “I know that it is enormously cliché, but what I am most proud of is my amazing daughter.” I do not think that sounds cliche at all.


When I asked, why people should know you, Craig said, “Hmmm. I love music – always dreamed that I would be the lead singer of a band, but obviously I didn’t make it there (though I was the lead singer of a very short-lived band at one point in college. By short-lived, I am speaking of a week or two…). I’m a voracious reader of both “serious literature” and many other geeky stories as well – really, I love a good superhero book, followed by a poetry collection.”

You can him reading some work at here:

Here are a few of his recently published poems.

This one was published in HazMat Review:


To know those dreams
that broke over us
like expected waves
upon rock,

like unexpected rock
upon skin.

The first stone, of course.
Then one
swift cascade.

This one was published in Albatross:

                            IF YOU’RE READING THIS, YEARS LATER

It’s true that most of it
was intentional.

The light that day
from the shore?
              – calendar light
like God’s fingers
reaching back to us.

It’s true that most of it
was intentional.

And still, the sharp pangs
of shock
at the beauty
we contained.

Now sit back and enjoy his answers to the bonus questions.

If this was your last day on earth, what would you do?
Eat a lot.

Do you prefer a certain side of the bed?
Whichever side is coldest.

Have you ever thought of killing yourself?

What advice would you give the teenage you?
To be less afraid. To try to be less angry. And to not give up at a few select points in life.

What is one meal or food you could eat every day and not get tired of?
Good (hot) green chili and habanero lime chicken tacos.

What is your favorite novel and what does it say about your mind?
Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson or The Virgin Suicides by Eugenides (yes, I realize I just cheated there…). What do they say about my mind? I suppose that I am a sappy, nostalgic person who likes a bit of mystery.

Do you think World Peace is possible? What one thing do you think might be the first step in the direction of it?
I wish it were possible, but the older I get the less that I am able to believe that.

What is your favorite City?

New York, New York.

Name a place you would like to visit?

What is the number one thing on your bucket list?
To publish a book of my own work and to see it in a bookstore.

If you could be any profession at all, what would it be?

How important is music in your life?
Extremely. I am listening to music nearly constantly.

Is there a non-profit you would like everyone to know about?
I am personally enamored with the work of Doctors Without Borders but I think they’re well-known. Still, amazing.

How do you think we can fix the racial divide in the United States?
Education and time.

Do you prefer to vacation with the locals or all-inclusive resort.
Before having a child, I would have said with the locals. Now, it has become more of the resort idea. When she is a little older, I hope to flip it back.

What has the greatest loss in your life been?
A friend – to cancer.

What is your favorite accent?
British (I suppose that is really a catch-all for several accents, but I like them all…)

What is one thing you would like to learn before you die?

Spanish. Why oh why did my idiot college self-take German? Oh, that has come in *really* handy, let me tell you…

What is your horoscope sign? Do you feel it fits you?
Sagittarius, but I don’t pay a lot of attention.

What was your earliest memory?
Oddly, I have very few memories prior to sixth grade, but I do remember going to Hills department store in Ohio and looking at the Star Wars figures…

What was the first album, cd, download you owned?
First purchase was the 45 of “We Built This City” by Starship. First full album was some breakdance compilation.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Do you think you could survive the zombie apocalypse? Why or why not?
Nope. Two busted up knees would make me a quick target.

What is your favorite time period?
In my own life? The 90s.

What is the number one reason you doubt yourself?
I feel unintelligent.

Do you think humans will inhabit other planets in your lifetime?
No. I think we are realistically still a long time away.

Why is reading books so important?
To gain knowledge, compassion, and understanding.

What was your favorite toy as a child?
Millennium Falcon, probably.

What do you think drives violence in this world?

What do you think is the biggest of waste of money?
Digital possessions.

A breakfast you could eat every day?
Chorizo breakfast burrito with (hot!) green chili.

What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone in a car?

Follow him on Social Media here:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.