Recently, fellow writer from the St. Louis Writers’ Guild Linda Austin asked me to participate in what apparently is called “blog tag.” Normally, I might shrug off such a request, with its specific guidelines, and go back to twittering away my time with what passes for social networking. However, perhaps because of Linda’s unique St. Louis perspectives stemming from her Japanese culture and history, I have obviously convinced myself that this specific tag tour might be worth something. Visit Linda Austin at http://moonbridgebooks.com
(Ideally, I would have listed other tagged writers at the end of this blog. I gave that some effort but didn’t get enough of a response in time and then became overwhelmed with earning enough money to pay bills.)
Think of the following as an interview, as these tour questions mimic those I’ve been asked before in TV and radio interviews. And visualize yourself as your host of choice, (Fallon, Goldberg, Winfrey, Kimmel, DeGeneres, Letterman, Stewart, Williams, Sawyer, and so on).
You: What are you working on?
JPM: Nothing. This blog, so I am occasionally blogging. Also, I’m writing poetry now and then. But mostly I’m trying to survive by helping others write and hoping they pay me for the help. No long narratives, especially after my cancer comedy. Staring into the abyss makes you (or maybe just me) want to climb into the mountains as much as possible for as long as I can. My writing has, for now, become secondary to my living a more external life, or at least trying to. However, there is no shortage of material. I have a half-finished novel, other old novels needing revision, several short stories, and piles of notes scribbled out in my nearly unintelligible handwriting.
You: How does your work differ from others of its genre?
JPM: My recent work is Eight Billion Steps: My Impossible Quest For Cancer Comedy. Not many cancer survivor stories are a quest for comedy. Also, I’m a fiction writer, so the narrative was constructed using the elements of good fiction. It’s a thriller, suspense, comedy, (According to more than one review, it’s a “page-turner.”) My hope has always been that might help others, although I wasn’t sure how. I avoided reading books about cancer. If I still had the disease, I couldn’t read my own book. However, my radiation oncologist and a nurse who was the caregiver for her late husband both recommend it as a “must read.”
You: Why do you write what you do?
JPM: As a writer, the only way I could survive my ordeal was of course to write about it. Previously, I focused on fiction, and wrote essentially for the same reasons, to survive daily life, to make sense of the world, and most importantly to entertain.
You: How does your writing process work?
JPM: Usually, I write or scrawl with ink onto a yellow legal pad, revise while keyboarding, write new scenes on yellow pad or in the margins of the printout, rewrite, printout, markup, omitting and adding, and eventually during this process that seems like a constant expansion and contraction, I have a more or less finished manuscript. But nothing is ever finished.