Monday, July 11, 2011

Rabe's Interview with Writer James Sallis Puts My Writing Career in Perspective

Yesterday, while volunteering in the Fairbanks Arts Association Bear Gallery, the FAA Literary Writing Group came in for their monthly meeting.  I had participated in this group for four solid years before taking a break to perform with Dance Theatre Fairbanks.  There were a lot of hugs with authors that published an anthology in 2009-- Out of Darkness, Into the Light.  Of course, there was the famous question: "Have you been writing?"  I was pleased to answer "Yes" enthusiastically because I had begun editing a novel I drafted last year and written two NaNoWriMo novels since the publication of our anthology.  Then I said in a much quieter voice, "Mostly I've been writing articles for magazines."

It dawned upon me, as I sat at the front desk away from the group, that I undervalue my contribution as a magazine writer.  Not necessarily the quality because a lot of brainpower goes into each article. Instead, it seems that writers nowadays are only recognized for their fiction novels.  Then I heard John Rabe's in-depth interview with writer James Sallis for a special edition of Off-Ramp (Southern California Public Radio).  Sallis is the author of "Drive," a novel about a man who is a stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night; a story recently adapted for the screen.  At first, I thought it was going to be another interview about an novelist famous for his fiction work.  But Rabe delves in Sallis's history as a science-fiction writer, a translator of a little heard french novel, and editor of several other works.  Sallis shares stories about his notoriety in Europe versus America and the mixed bagged that makes up an author's life.  I was so relieved that my mixed bag as an author mirrored such a similar variety that I listened to the interview twice.

This is a podcast that any writer, whether a novelist, poet, editor, translator, ghostwriter, grant writer etc., should listen to.  Sallis' humor about the writer's life is one in which any writer can relate and Rabe as an interviewer is the one we all hope to get when the chance comes to talk about our careers.

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