Five Questions for Marcus Bird

Marcus Bird, author of the short story “Gaijin Girl” which appears in Yomimono #15, is a writer, creative-entrepreneur and designer. Raised in Kingston, Jamaica, and now living in Tokyo, he specializes in T-shirt designs, web work, cartoons, and social media. In 2009 he launched his design company, which is a fusion of Jamaican and Japanese culture. He has done television commercials, modeling, and video-editing. Here, Marcus answers five questions about writing and other stuff. 

1. What was the inspiration for your story?

Two things in particular. First was an image that was stuck in my mind when I first moved to Japan. In the afternoon a day or two after I arrived, I saw a woman wearing a black one piece skirt, with Banana yellow high heel shoes. The second connecting thought came much later. I was living in a small town in Japan at the time, and I noticed that there were several well-educated, well-traveled Japanese women that only dated foreign men. I used this observation to create the mythos behind my main character. The name of the story itself is a play on words. “Gaijin Girl” is loosely written to mean “Gaijin’s Girl”. So I started the story chatting about the yellow shoes… and just filled in the blanks from there.

2. Describe your writing space.

I’m not sure how to answer that. *laughs*. I wrote Gaijin Girl in between teaching classes on a busy day at a Japanese Junior high school. However, to give a more comprehensive answer, I have to admit I never have an ideal space in my mind. I read Stephen King’s On Writing and he mentioned a quiet room with no distractions. My mind is usually too busy for absolute silence. I can write for hours listening to a Gorillaz album on repeat in a quiet room, or in a noisy Starbucks listening to reggae music. Over time my “writing space” seems to be a place where I can sit comfortably, while listening to some sort of house, or semi-relaxed music. But I wrote a lot of short stories in between teaching classes, or jotting down notes on pieces of paper and patching them up at home while Entourage is playing in the background. I guess I need a little white noise to focus when writing a lot… but once i’m amped about the project, I tend to squeeze in bits at work, at home, on the train etc.
3. What are you working on now?

A project called “Guest House”. Take a guy chasing a creative dream. Put him into a lavish guest house in central Tokyo with a crazy landlord and an amped up rotation of frisky foreigners and see what ensues. 

4. What’s the last book you’ve read?

I just finished The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho.  He is definitely a very deep writer.
5.What is your favorite place in Japan?

Hmm. I lived in a quiet town before, with temples and chill people that say “Ohayo Gozaimasu!” when you walk past… but the pulse and energy of a buzzing metropolis makes me more comfortable than lots of trees and easy access to the beach. I’d have to say Tokyo, especially since I live there.

You can read Marcus Bird’s story in the latest issue of Yomimono. Purchase a copy here.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea King
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 13:22:50

    Marcus Bird seems to be a very creative person. I have read a variety of his works and congratulate hime on being included in this literary journal. This is the start of many things to come. Looking forward to the publishing of more of your work


  2. Kris Dawkins
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 11:27:34

    Marcus in my opinion is quite eclectic and a little eccentric I would say in his style. But he has this way of pulling you in almost like you are able to see him smile while he writes each word on the page. I congratulate you on your achievements and encourage you to press on.


  3. Jamaipanese
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 12:06:45

    as a fellow Jamaican and also a Japan enthusiast hoping to one day move to Japan Marcus is an inspiration. Keep it up Sir Bird!


  4. Jerry King
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 13:27:36

    Marcus Bird continues to do great work as a writer. His style of writing transports the reader into the pages of the book. Congratulations to you Marcus on this latest achievement. I look forward to seeing you climb to the top of the literary world. Blessings


  5. Spades
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 16:22:20

    Great interview! No doubt in my mind that this man is going places. All the best Marcus.


  6. McKenzie Price
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 20:27:46

    Marcus is the most creative person I know. If he’s not thinking up T-shirt designs, he’s writing short stories or drawing cartoon characters. As a fellow Howard alum I have to say we’re proud of you!!


  7. Hyangi
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 03:15:56

    “well-educated, well-traveled Japanese women that only dated foreign men” huh…. I feel like I can relate myself somehow. kind of want to read the story.


  8. ErskWords
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 23:22:03

    Marcus is a self-deprecating prodigy of many arts. Try saying that five times fast. In all seriousness though, he embodies not only a fantastic sense of creativity and style but a frenetic work ethic and dedication to task that I have rarely seen in my life. This is a truly awesome combination, and enviable. Gaijin Girl is but a taste; follow Mr. Bird and you will feast for years to come.


  9. Vicci Saunders
    Oct 07, 2010 @ 23:30:56

    I love where your head is “at” Marcus. Keep it up!


  10. Shani
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 16:06:30

    Wow Big bro I am so proud of you! Great interview. You know I have been there with you through all your creatives journeys and you only keep getting better. Love you xoxooxox


  11. @nne
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 15:02:50

    Can I find your book in Paris????????????? Congratulations on the interview and the publishing of your book! Makes me wanna read it!


  12. Trackback: Officially a published author! «
  13. Trackback: Published!! « The Winding Road to being published

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