I have always been a storyteller, I would say. Writing came later … . I wanted to tell stories like the ones I read, from faraway places and about interesting things.”
How did you discover that you were a writer?
I have always been a storyteller, I would say. Writing came later. I was a newspaper boy in my youth and would stop and read the paper during my deliveries. I wanted to tell stories like the ones I read, from faraway places and about interesting things. In my teens, I was into music and played in a band. Soon, I was writing music and that in many ways for me was storytelling. When I became a radio broadcaster, I then told other kinds of stories. Journalism was my next stop and it was then that I started to concentrate on writing. Stories in print and on the radio soon became bigger stories in journals and then books. Becoming a writer was a long process.
Describe your writing process.
I have recently built a shed, a writing studio on my property. It’s a simple place but it’s all mine. I go inside and I’m alone with books, art, and photography and I write. Mornings are the best. I usually work two hours or so and record my word count, a sort of ritual, really. But I also like writing in coffee shops. Sometimes I like the noise—the whir of the espresso machine, the conversations around me. I do not outline but I do take lots of free-form notes and do some research before I jump into the writing. But I am much more organic than a lot of writers. Then, of course, comes the drafting and revising. I love this part. The shaping of a piece or a book is a wonderful experience. That’s when the story comes to life for me. It is solidified and all the pieces—the ingredients, if you will—make for one single entity.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
It’s from my memoir October Song. I never expected to write this book. But the experience was so interesting and so personal, it was impossible not to. The story is about when your dreams are no longer realities. When do you give up a dream? And as we age, do we just acquiesce to what age eventually does to all of us—wear us down? The story is about a road trip, music, love, and the power of our dreams.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing another memoir. It’s about the notion of home…what it is, what it means, how we discover it. The subtitle of the work isn’t fully flushed out, but it is about growing up, moving on from our childhood home, and the eternal search for our own place under the stars. Home means so much to all of us. Good and bad. And for me, there is so such rich material there. I had parents who grew up, met, dated, fell in love, married, bought a home, raised a family, and died all in one neighborhood. That fact is hardwired into me and I have forever been influenced by it. I think readers can find their own stories in mine.