Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Education: BA in Writing from Calvin College
How long have you been writing?
My first story was a third grader’s shameless plagiarism of Harry Potter. It was called ‘Jimmy and the Lamp,’ and I’m happy to say I don’t have any idea where it is.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like experimenting with the sound and rhythm of sentences and paragraphs. As I learn to write more effectively, I think what I’m mostly training is my ear—how the sound can shape what I’m trying to say.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Grappling with the responsibility of the writer. Up until more recently, I wrote because it was fun to discover a talent. But—unbeknownst to more world leaders than the obvious—words have power, and even if mine don’t immediately reach anyone, I want to be aware of that power and let that awareness ground me. Whether I make a career of it or not, I want to look back when I’m 80 and not regret anything I’ve written.
Tell us about your work in Crack the Spine.
‘The Accident’ is about a man who gets in a car accident and later realizes he can’t die.
Is there a main theme or message in this piece?
The Accident’ is a drama about death and the characters’ relationship to death as portrayed to them by the movies they absorb. Nicholas—the man who discovers he can’t die—understands his situation as it might be depicted in a film. Life continues to overwhelm or outdo his efforts at killing himself, which continues to feed his histrionics. You could also read a kind of superhero parody into the story.
Tell us about another project you have published or are currently working on.
I wrote a similarly-themed story called ‘Brave New Night’ that also deals with the relationship between cinema obsessions and reality. In the story, New York City itself has been portrayed so often in the throes of apocalypse that it begins to project displays of its own destruction. The people living there see, walk through, images of natural disasters and mass destruction without feeling the physical effect or knowing where the images come from. The effect is psychological.
Where can we find ‘Brave New Light?’
If you’re interested, you can find this piece over at Mythic Magazine or on Amazon.
How often do you write?
Every morning, except on Sundays.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
It probably depends on how much marketing you want to commit to vs. how many rejections you can stand receiving. Either way, it’s tough going.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Harold Bloom wrote something to the effect of “don’t let your veneration for what has already been created petrify you.” (Not sure if that’s an exact quote, but I believe I captured the sense of it.) No matter how obvious this seems to me on certain days, there are other days I need those words.
What is your favorite book?
Currently, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. One of the most disruptive experiences I’ve ever had.
Who is your favorite author?
Cormac McCarthy, Philip K. Dick, Thomas Pynchon. I’m torn.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Huckleberry Finn. A lot of literary characters are self-absorbed or delusional or, uh, fictional. Huck’s real. I could have a conversation with him and enjoy it.
What is your favorite word?
Pen or Pencil?
Pen. I’m left-handed, so I drag the graphite.
Additional Reading on Andrew