Friday, August 13, 2010
Tag: Fresh Voices
Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the voice of Anne McCarron!
What is your ultimate writing goal?
Ultimately, I'd like to be read after I'm dead. Well, not exclusively after I'm dead, of course. I think it would be great fun to be read while I'm still alive. In fact, I'm busy trying to make that happen. But I love reading a book or exploring a painting or listening to music and getting the feeling of connection to a person who lived in another time, a different world. I'm sharing the mind of someone I'll never know, yet in some deeper sense, know better than most people I see every day. I believe that's what Art can do. It makes the world a bigger place.
Why do you write?
It's cheaper than paint and canvas. No, that's not the only reason. That wouldn't explain why I write every day, why I care so much about the people who inhabit the stories, why I want to share the experience of the story with everyone. When I was younger, writing was work, and I abandoned it. Since I started writing again three years ago, I've discovered that writing is play, and now it's all I want to do.
Your writing is lyrical and rich. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?
My high school writing teacher used to complain that my writing style was archaic. Well, I couldn't help it, I was reading Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle and Tolkien, among others, and I was a devout Anglophile. I think I must have been writing with a British accent. Now, I have a better sense of who I am, and I think the voice that's emerging in my writing is the product of my own experience, although I use the term loosely since I've lived my whole life in Wisconsin.
Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
I've fallen in love with many writers, but the first was Ray Bradbury. His stories are poetry to me. I would get swept away to exotic places like Mars or Venus or Waukegan, Illinois on a river of words, perfectly buoyant and maybe a little soggy at the end, but exhilarated and thankful for the ride, and wanting to run around to the back of the line and do it all over again.
And then there was Daphne DuMaurier. A friend and I took a road trip through Devon and Cornwall, looking for Dame Daphne. We ended up in the middle of Dartmoor at the Jamaica Inn on a day when the wind was howling and the rain was blowing sideways over the tops of the hedgerows. I think we found her there.
I bumped into Mark Twain while I was in college. That man could make a sentence sit up and bark. He was such a powerful writer. He could drive a needle-sharp point home with a delicate tap from the sledgehammer of his talent, and you'd only feel it when it got to your heart.
And for the past twenty years or so, I've enjoyed the teeth-to-the-wind stories that Stephen King rides into the world. Everything he writes is so true and seems so real (glad it's not). What terrible fun his stories are, especially at their darkest, and what a joy when the clouds part and the sun shines out again. And he shows up in his own stories, too -- how cool is that!
What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
Oh, I know that being a professional anything requires commitment and obligation and deadlines and tax forms, but that's the business of writing. As a total amateur, I can get away with ignoring that part to focus on the good stuff.
Writing is something I can do wherever I am, whenever I want to, I don't even have to write it down as I'm doing it, although if I want to share it with anyone, that would be best. It's in me and of me and purely me, and as long as I'm speaking a language that others understand, I only need my experience and my imagination to call the stories out into the world. No one can take that from me and no one can stop me. That's freedom.
If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
Oh! Definitely! Japanese ink and wash painter, sumi-e. It's all very Zen and indescribably beautiful! When can I start?
If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?
Metamorphic (and I mean that in the geologic sense. Lots of heat and pressure and bending and folding going on).
What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
The old standby, "Write what you know", is still good, but I would up it one. Write what you love. Love is the thing that lasts.
Anne McCarron is a middle-aged (well, she doesn't know any hundred-year-olds, so guesses she's past it, in many ways, alas) woman who has been a good little worker bee for long enough. Time to soar with the eagles! To do that, she's gonna really have to muscle-up on her flying skills, but if you'd like to read any of the stories she's finished so far, they're at The Shining Line. She'll be adding new ones as they get rejected by the literary magazines she sends them to.
Posted by Sue London at 7:00 AM