Writers Talking and Writing

Posted on August 9, 2011


Donald Ray Pollock

I have been surrounded by words from inspiring people this week, and that, of course, inspires me to write.

Spent part of the morning with the Statewide Editors Association talking about the publishing of trade magazines and the special challenges and opportunities they represent. Several dozen editors and writers from across America gather annually for this convention, which deals specifically with editors of electric co-op magazines. We talked about developing writers, establishing brands for books and editors, which technology is right for which audiences, and a lot of other fun topics. I was only slated for an hour, but would have definitely enjoyed spending more time with people who tackle journalism so well from a very focused perspective.

My afternoon was just as stimulating, as I joined one of my favorite interviewers, Doug Dangler, at the Ohio State House, where he interviewed noted author Donald Ray Pollock. Pollack’s first book, Knockemstiff, which featured linked fictional stories about a very real Ohio town, was a literary delight (despite its fairly gruesome tenor), and he now has a new novel out called “The Devil All the Time.” I love that Pollack came to the interview in shorts and a white T-shirt, apologizing that he didn’t know it was on TV. He was forthcoming, quietly southern, and  unassuming about his talent. His best lines, for me, came when he discussed teaching while in graduate school at Ohio State, and how he realized he just wasn’t cut out for that part of academia. “After about a week,” he said. “I ran out of things to tell them.” As they say, those who can do, and the rest of us teach.” 🙂

But I am still working to prove I can “do” as well as teach, and I am pretty excited about a pair of articles turned in this week. For Columbus Monthly I wrote a fascinating article on home births, and how they are on the increase in Columbus and across America, and for the Ohio State Alumni Magazine, I did an interview with noted OSU graduate and Mother Jones writer Mac McClelland.

So much inspiration in such a short time.