Appreciate Everything: An Interview With Steve Roggenbuck

Hi, Stephen Tully Dierks here. This is a crowdsourced interview with my good friend Steve Roggenbuck, bard of the internet, tru boost guru, hero boy to frickwads worldwide, selfie champion, basicly a hot ass babie!!! His new book, if u dont love the moon your an ass hole: poems and selfies, is available now! Hey so his friends asked questions on the internet and he answered, loooooook aaaaat it~~~~!!!


SR: ok, to the ppl who dont know–last year i couch-surfed the whole year, usualy i stayed about a week in each city, blogging all day in the apartments of my internet frends, then taking a cheap bus to the next city. this allowd me to do what i love every day, but yea it got hard in some ways.. mainly i had a powerful recurring loneliness and homesickness. in general, living “wild and free” often means having less stable relationships. it got really sad after a while that i didn’t have IRL friends who stayd the same. i wanted to feel home again. if i ever travel for months long again, i wil get some friends to come with me, or i’ll return to the same cities more frequently. friends are important for me!!

SR: computer and phone get the top 2 spots because the internet is realy all i do.. the only other stuf i bring are clothes and a few hygiene products and food.. for #3 i wil just say, popcorn.. popcorn is the most important thing to me besides the internet

SR: yea

SR: some of my outlook shoud be credited to my parents im sure. but i became much more overtly positive in 2008 when i read walt whitman for the first time. reading the 1855 leaves of grass gave me that feeling like “oh holy shit i am alive !!!” it made me actively apreciate my life more than i ever had before. i love that moment of basic apreciation for life.. i think its like, a form of enlightenment that can be spread on a mass scale, somewhat easily.. i still chase those moments myself. i listen to post-rock because it amplifies my emotions. i think we need to repeatedly bring ourself back to the recognition that we are alive and we have much to be grateful for

SR: no i wana be where the ppl are, and their on earth

SR: i value my time on earth very much, i hav a lot of vision about how i want to spend my #rare #limited time alive. there are things i am excited to do !! that’s why i’ve worked very hard to make my internet work financialy successful, and why i would only take a job after i’ve exhausted many other possibilities, i’d rather move back in with my parents or couch-surf and hitchhike indefinitely if it allows me to keep carrying out my vision and doing the work i love

SR: sex on the beach

SR: i like music that amplifies my emotions (like the sigur ros, also Mono, Explosions in the Sky, Hammock, and other “post-rock”), and i like music that gives me energy & makes me feel like MOVING (this includes a lot of deathcore / metalcore, but also dubstep and rap and some others). here, in fact, is a PLAYLIST of songs i’ve listened to on repeat while working. i almost never listen to music for the lyrics, i care much more abt the energy i get from the beat and melody

SR: evolution is necesary for any artist.. i’d like to spend more time studying how various artists have evolved over the course of their career. at times i’ve worried abt whether ive “peaked” or if my newer stuff is just a rehashing of stuf i’ve already said. you can never make the same thing twice, everything is affected by the context in which its created. im very interested by this topic, i dont hav a full answer but thank u for makin me think about it more

SR: (1) the moon. (2) friend’s. (3) romantic love. (4) bell hooks’s vision of feminist revolution. (5) popcorn.

SR: brief’s, they r way more sexy

SR: success for me is knowing that im making peoples lives better. so the clearest sign of success to me is when ppl send me long heartful emails abt how my work has changed their life, or even tweets saying, “i was sad, then i watched a @steveroggenbuck video, now im happy.” i screenshot every one of those moments and keep a folder of them. i hav over 2,000 of those screenshots now, those moments are how i know im doing the right thing wth my life and they’re the main thing that fuels me to keep going when i feel depleted

SR: my answer for this has changed a bit over the past few years. in a strict sense i dont think there is any shared role for poets. diferent poets have diferent goals. i personally like being called a “poet” because i want to invoke that whole Romantic tradition, i want to keep alive the idea of a bard/seer, i want to be a force that brings people back to those “Great Subjects” of death, love, nature.. my role is to get people to feel more intensely and to rly “think abt life” !!

SR: my type is girl’s who are commited to trying to make the world better

SR: yes it is hard to “cut thru the noise” online.. i get excited about rising to the challenge tho.. i’m excited abt learning what “works” in these new platforms, and spending most of my waking lief executing it.. its a fun challenge for me

SR: i woudnt say im afraid of death, i’m motivated by death. when i think about death i am more aware of my limited time alive, and that helps me appreciate moments and people, and it drives me to do what i realy want, while i can

SR: i consider mysef political, and i want to be more political. i’ve felt more ambitious lately about spreading veganism and feminism, but i havent taken huge action. im confused when ppl connect to the positive yolo messages in my work but dont extend it to taking concrete action to improve the world, or they even say they’re indifferent about sweatshops or human rights or the environment… thich nhat hanh refers to political activism as “engaged buddhism,” it is part of the spiritual path itself, to apply these spiritual ideals of compassion and nonviolence to the specific issues of our time and place. “politics” is not bullshit– its about findin specific ways we can make the world better now

SR: im not sure exactly which words u mean, ive used “mahayana” a few times. budhism has been my spiritual path, and i discuss a lot of spiritual idea’s online, so it seems natural that words from my specific spiritual path woud be useful in that conversation. i like that it may prompt more of my folowers to look into buddhism. i liked that about allen ginsbergs work, he was always name-dropping sutras and stuf, i think it created a culture in which it was COOL for ppl to learn about buddhism. i think thats very positive

SR: i actualy love the ppl who spend 90% of their time on social media. on my travels, the anoying people are the ones who insist on taking me to do things IRL, even when i say i wanna catch up on my work. for some people, social media is a time waster. for me, it is the most powerful tool for building community and spreading positivity that humans have ever created. i intend to take advantage of the oportunities provided by social media. my ideal day includes many hours on social media

SR: i think im averageing about 1.5 recently.. it fluctuate’s

SR: mainly i wanted the book to be smaller so it coud be cheaper, and square seemd very cute.. most of my poems are so short, i dont need a large page. small dimensions saves paper, allows me to price the book at $10, and makes them smaller to carry on tour

SR: its awsome one of the best things about life :) !! for me somtimes casual sex can feel like a distraction tho, in the same way that drugs and alcohol have felt like distractions to me. u can read what i’ve written about that here

SR: many times ! i love it.. but visiting other places, i feel i have to explain first: “do u know michigan is shaped like a mitten? here, my hand is a map…” not everyone undestands

SR: thank u :) my reading style was informed by my past as a metalcore frontman, and it was further shaped by doing probably 100+ livestreams in the past 2 years, on ustream and then spreecast. i enjoy the challenge of like “carrying” an audience with my banter and my energy, and i like the thrill of improvised storyteling.. the rock has inspired my poetry readings, he has so much confidence and playfulness (and catchphrases) in front of an audience.. this spring i started using background music at my readings, which has dramaticaly increased the emotional power of my performances. i’ve memorized a few of my poems. jack spicer said “pure poetry bores everybody… we must become singers, become entertainers.” different aproaches will work for diff people.. i think if u are actively concerned with entertaining or moving your audience, u will think of some good ideas for ur reading!!

SR: having a large audience has made me feel.. even more pressure to do good work, like i dont want to waste peoples time. i feel a need to spend many full days editing each of my videos now. in terms of public domain i see it the same way as before: no matter how many ppl my work is reaching, i would love for it to reach more ppl, even if i dont get credit for all of it

SR: i wil never feel that i have done enough, to stop.. i have moments where i reflect happily on some impact ive had.. but, there is so much sadness in the world to help allieve, there’s so much suffering. and more importantly, boosting people is just how i want to live. its like a spiritual discipline.. shunryu suzuki said: we don’t clean the bathroom because it is dirty, we just clean the bathroom to clean the bathroom. cleaning the bathroom is just what we should do. i think helping people is just what i should do. i dont intend to stop at any specific point

SR: who”s to realy say i think.. that”s open to intepretation!!1

SR: last year i didnt pay rent, i jus took cheap buses and stayd with friends for free, so it was only a few hundred dollars per month, and my book and shirt sales from my website coverd that.. this year i’ve been paying rent, so ive had to make more money. ive mainly gotten the extra money from readings. universities pay a lot, like a whole month of rent for one reading !! ive also gotten donations and sold chapbooks at DIY readings, if i do a whole tour of those it can cover rent for when i get back.. it’s taken som creativity hehhe, but i am grateful how many ppl love and believe in me, i can alway’s find a way to get what i need

SR: i dont thikn much about reaching future generations of ppl.. maybe its becaus i think humans may die off soon? i dont trust in haveing a future audience.. my focus is impacting people now

SR: i woud say: (1) dont waste time doubting yourself or debating with urself about career paths based on parental or societal expectations. dont let back-up plans distract you from what u realy want to do. just go toward what u truely want. (2) cherish every moment, especialy with people.. u only get to be a college student for a while, u only get to be young for a while. experince things, do memorable things, and jus appreciate every thing while its happening Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Steve Roggenbuck can be supported via his store, where things like books and t-shirts are available!

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