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LET'STALK

Comics, Mad Magazine, and visions of being a journalist for Playboy or a rock writer for Rolling Stone. My first gig as a professional writer was a Sci-Fi screenplay, about ginormous galactic man-eating bugs invading Minnesota, for which I was paid $129.    

 

- List some of your influences.

I adore everything about movies, music, and books! My greatest influences are David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, Faulkner and Hemingway, Hendrix and Elvis, The Walking Dead and Dr. Seuss. My #1 all-time to-die-for book is 1984 by George Orwell but I would also hock my left lung to have written The Hobbit, A Confederacy of Dunces, Slaughterhouse-5 and Infinite Jest.  

 

- What is your favorite thing about tutoring writers?

Every writer has fears, and every writer has dreams. The hardest part about writing is CROSSING OVER YOUR FEARS finding a bridge that will take/GUIDE you over those fears and land you safely on the other side, where that dream can be achieved. A writing coach OR A TUTOR is that bridge. A BRIDGE TO HELP AUTHORS TELL THEIR STORY.

 

- What is the hardest part of writing for you?

 

- What is your strangest writing experience?

Every writing project is the wildest experience ever. Every time I hit my keyboard it’s a high-octane one-lane highway to the Heaven of my imagination, and a trip straight to the Dark Side. Each keystroke is a high-wire act, each brainstorm a hair-raising chance that I’ll crash and burn, each page a shot at reaching my highest ground and full-tilt glory. And each sentence is a chance to hold nothing back.

- What is your favorite word and why?

My favorite word is OVERCOME. I love, adore, and worship the word OVERCOME. It tells me everything I need to know about life. OVERCOME is a warrior word. When I hear the word OVERCOME I see visions of Rocky Balboa stepping into the ring to thrash Apollo Creed. I see David defeating Goliath. OVERCOME means conquer your fears. Vanquish doubt. Prevail, crush, and clobber. It means PEDAL-TO-THE-METAL and UNSTOPPABLE. It inspires victory and triumph, the guts to listen to the angels urging me to rise up and face the blank page, the courage to cross the bottomless abyss and climb the creative mountains that stand in my path.

 

- Word association: Literature.

 

- What's the last book you read and what did you think of it?

I just finished Do The Work by Steven Pressfield, author of The War Of Art, the absolute greatest book ever created for aspiring writers. I’m in the middle of Volume 1 of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and also engulfed in my second reading of David Foster Wallace’s wild-and-woolly reboot of the Great American Novel, Infinite Jest.

 

- What's the last movie you saw that was based on a book and how was it?

The last movies I’ve seen based on books were Jaws, and Forrest Gump. Both are ballsy, visionary adaptations. Forrest Gump flat-out amazes, astounds, and stuns me— even though it’s Forrest’s goofy Gumpish voice that drives the book by Winston Groom, the movie takes us on a voyage through Forrest’s eyes and heart, and it blasts more rock n’ roll than a Top 40 radio station. Jaws by Peter Benchley is a mega-best-selling mainstream horror-show pot-boiler, a visceral and mind-blowingly cinematic read, packed with sex and subplots that never found their way to the silver screen. 40 years after first reading Jaws it still leaves me breathless. And 40 years later I still haven’t gone back in the water.

 

- Where do you see the world of writing and publishing heading?

 

- Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Two words: NEVER SURRENDER. Never quit. Face your fears. Trust in your dreams. Believe you can achieve the unbelievable. Writing is a holy occupation. Devote yourself to it. Pray over your work. Armor up, because to write for a living is step onto a battlefield. Don’t overthink where to start. Once you’ve started a project, DON’T STOP. And once you’ve planted the first word on the page, DON’T LOOK BACK.

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