February 14, 2011

Jonathan Evison Interview

Happy Valentine's Day, you sexy thing!!  I hope the day lives up to its hype in your world, whether that's a candlelit dinner, sex with a stranger, or slurping whiskey by yourself...

Speaking of V-day, here's a short story I finally finished about a guy you should try NOT to be like on this fair holiday...

Johnny Evison is one of my favorite working writers.  Period.  He's that good.  His 2nd novel "West of Here" hits the shelves this week and is a fun read.  I highly recommend you pick it up. 

I recently interviewed Evison over on the Rumpus.  Our whole discussion is here.  But I love how he answered this one (so inspiring!):

JM: We've all heard the sexy recount of the twenty-something know-it-all who gets an MFA from Colombia and poof! she/he puts out a best-selling first novel.  Yet most working writers have less sexy routes finding publication.  Tell us about your apprenticeship.  Why did you persevere when nobody gave a fuck? 

JE: I wrote six unpublished novels, and too many unwanted short stories to count, before “All About Lulu” was published. I physically dug holes and buried three of my novels in the ground--salted the earth, so nothing would ever grow there again. And I loved every minute of it! I never bothered doubting the occupation, because nothing was going to deter me from doing the thing I loved more than anything else in this world (besides drink beer). Throughout my twenty year apprenticeship, I did virtually every conceivable menial job you can think of, from road kill hacker-upper to "hot talk" radio jock (the former being infinitely more rewarding). And I'm still drawing from all of these experiences, which is more than I can say about the time I spent sitting in classrooms. Having my work rejected time and again, was a minor annoyance at most. I had the work. I just kept licking envelopes and collecting form rejections as a form of due diligence. If nobody ever published any of my work, and I died in complete obscurity, surrounded by feral cats, I'd be writing novels up until the end.

I hope you find inspiration in his words.  The most important things a writer can have are patience and resilience.  Talent is second-fiddle to work ethic.  Revision is where good books become great ones.

Woud you like to win a free copy of Termite Parade?

Happy writing,