A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… John Mackie

Why do you write?

To transform feelings, memories, insights, experiences, observations into work which, hopefully, has an objective life of its own and touches, puzzles, enthuses, invigorates, annoys, delights, irritates, stimulates or otherwise engages others. To borrow from Dylan Thomas “I would be a damned fool if I didn’t”

What books do you read?

James Joyce’s Ulysses often, for its cadences. Lots of poetry by my peers, some political philosophy and literary novels

What inspires you?

Love, sex, death, art, nature, other writers, other musicians, revolutionary politics, political philosophy.

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

I can’t remember. I just have always written; well, since I was about nine

How do you deal with rejection?

Move on

Who are some writers you admire?

James Joyce, Umberto Eco, Patrick White and too many more great prose writers to mention here. Amongst poets Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Ted Hughes, Sorley MacLean, Julia Copus, Emily Dickinson, Shelley, Keats, Shakespeare, Norman MacCaig , Lyndsey Macgregor and the members of the 52 network stand out for me

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

I play guitar a little

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

“don’t sit on the steps of the Albert Memorial
hoping for Wholly Communion
travel on storms
cluster with wildebeest
run from the roaring boys
follow it go with it
let it blow you away,
up all the red dirt roads
down all the lead sea lanes;
nobody will miss you here”

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I wouldn’t dare …..

What is your writing process?

Sporadic; beginning with the clustering of images . Lots of drafting and redrafting. Lots of procrastination. Deadlines, commissions and reminders from editors help.

John Mackie

John Mackie is 70 years old, lives in Scotland and has been published in a range of media since 1965. “A Strand of Pearls”, his music and poetry collaboration with Gavin Sutherland and others, is currently available from I-tunes, Amazon etc and can be streamed on Spotify.





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