Marilyn Holdsworth

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Author Interview – Jack Remick

What was your favorite book as a child and why? To be honest with you, I don’t remember any books from my childhood. Music was my art from the time I was 5. I played the piano early but I don’t remember learning to read either words or music. My reading life really didn’t start until I was in high school where I discovered Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Of course I didn’t understand Camus, Nietzsche or Existentialism until later, but they were foundation authors for me.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Quirk? Being a writer is quirky in a culture that worships glitz and media superstars. You think about it—sitting alone in a room with your only friend a computer and a printer stirring up worlds of imaginary creatures and making them talk. Yeah. Being a writer is about as quirky as it gets.

Do you write full-time or part-time? My writing consumes my life so I guess I’ll say full-time. By that I mean my days are structured and organized around writing. Just about everything I do feeds into the writing. You can’t spend twenty hours a day at it because you have to eat and shop and even sometimes talk to other people—my wife insists on having dinner together every night.

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be and why? Tough question because it’s a big wide world full of all kinds of challenges. Right now the practical thing would be to find a way to think books into existence without having to write them on a machine.

What is the craziest thing you ever did? This could be as a writer or any other time in your life. A few years ago I sold everything I owned and ran off to South America for a year. I traveled with a Chilean ex-pat, Ramon Barrientos. We lived “off the land” so to speak because Ramon was a super-psychopathic con-man. He taught me a lot about lying and cheating and using people and all of that comes into my work. Without Ramon and that year in a time of violence, my writing would, more than likely, be pretty bland.

Did you feel like a celebrity when you held your first published book? No. Not at all. My first book was an experimental novel called The Stolen House. It was published by Pig Iron Press in the early days of the small press revolution. We wanted to be as subversive as possible in the process of building what was called the “counter-culture” so celebrity was the farthest thing from my mind. Revolution and redefinition of art and writing were the goals. We didn’t succeed in wiping out popular culture but Pig Iron Press still lives. For several years, I wrote a fifty page novella every three months for Pig Iron.

If you could have a star like on Hollywood Blvd, who would you want to have your star by? This can be an actual star on Hollywood Blvd. or someone you just admire. I don’t know if Hampton Fancher, who wrote the screenplay for Bladerunner, has a star there, but if he does, I’d like to share space with him. In fact, I wouldn’t mind just breathing the air Fancher breathes for a while because some of that genius has to be in the breathing.

Is there anything in your life you wish you could do over and why? No. I am the result of all my mistakes. Here I am. I know I can’t rewrite my past, but I can use all of my misdirections to create fiction that has some meaning. I think the quest for meaning is the deepest human drive. In the end, you want to be more than just meat and bone. You want to have a legacy. I think that’s why we have children. Writers have books.

Who has been your biggest support or inspiration? Support: My wife. Without her, I couldn’t do what I do. She’s a world class quilter—you can see her work at –who understands obsession, compulsion, and the drive to perfection. We co-exist in a world of art and artists.

Inspiration: M.C. Escher, the man who taught us to see backwards—all those woodcuts were made in mirror image. Christine de Pisan, a poet working to find a place in a man’s world. Jack Moodey, a poet. I once asked Moodey if he’d ever written an epic. His answer: “Six lines or eight?” If that’s not a treatise on art, I don’t know what is. I can’t forget Natalie Goldberg and Robert J Ray. Natalie opens doors to the gifts of the unconscious and shows you it’s good to go deep. Bob Ray is a genius who understands the structure of story in ways no one else ever has. From these people, I derive not just inspiration, but a gentle quieting of the noise in the world. In the quiet, you find truth.

Could you share about any current writing projects? I’m deep into The California Quartet right now. Two novels, The Deification and Valley Boy are already out. I’m working with my publisher on the next two—The Book of Changes and Trio of Lost Souls. I like to work on multiple pieces so I’m also writing the back story for a novel with the working title Prisons of Desire. I know nothing about it yet, and the characters aren’t talking to me.

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG

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