A Ten Question Interview With The Artist…Gene McCormick

Why do you write?

It is a compulsion, like eating popcorn at a movie or watching baseball in July.

What books do you read?

I read primarily non-fiction now, preferably with few pages and big pictures.
Before I discovered the opposite sex I used to read fiction.

What inspires you?

Beauty is my fundamental inspiration: beauty of flesh, on paper, or in my mind.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

My father and uncle were both career newspapermen and in fact my first job was with a newspaper in Dayton, Ohio.
I suppose I was born with a writing gene. God knows I sure as hell can’t sing.

How Do you deal with rejection?

To a writer, rejection is what a yellow caution light is to a speeding driver, to be ignored, brushed aside en route to the final destination.

Who are some writers you admire?

Hmm. My non-fiction king is A.J. Liebling, late writer for The New Yorker, and he is pushed hard by Joe Mitchell, also of The New Yorker.
Fiction (hard to separate this from non-fiction) would be a longer list: Sam Shepard, Raymond Carver, Stephane Michaka, Spencer Reese and all editors accepting my work.
Biggest inspirations would be Charles Bukowski and Amy Hempel…if they can get away with what they do, then so can I.
As an asterisk addition, all my email correspondents make the favorite author list as well.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

In addition to writing, painting has proved an expressive outlet for me.
I can’t paint worth a damn, but can sell a painting for twenty times, more or less, what one of my books retail for.
Good thing we are not in this for the money, no?

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Advice to my younger self would all have to do with better negotiating the opposite sex. You can almost automatically fill in the blanks.
As to writing advice, just do it, again, and again, and again.
Of course, that would be sexual advice to myself as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have no advice for other writers but am a willing listener.
“You never learn anything new while you are the one doing the talking.”

What is your writing process?

As far as methodology, just get the idea on paper, then revise. Set it aside for a while, then revise, revise and revise (see sex response to question 8).
Don’t be afraid of wringing the freshness or vitality from the piece as revisions are made to enhance, not weaken. My best revisions come after I have sent a piece off and had it accepted…
then I realize the woeful weaknesses and must badger editors to accept final revisions. Of course, though, nothing is ever final.

Gene McCormick has written sixteen books, a mix of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and claims to have read them all, making him the only person in the galaxy to have done so. He divides his time between Wayne, Illinois, and Paris, France, and much prefers Paris...but then, who the hell wouldn't?

Gene McCormick has written sixteen books, a mix of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and claims to have read them all, making him the only person in the galaxy to have done so. He divides his time between Wayne, Illinois, and Paris, France, and much prefers Paris…but then, who the hell wouldn’t?

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