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I'll Take Your Questions...
Recently, I have gotten several questions from readers (keep them coming!) so I figured I would take a few minutes to answer a few of them. If this is something you guys enjoy I will try to do it a bit more regularly.
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
A: In one sense I am never “not writing.” When I am not actually typing words on the page, I am thinking about it (or else kicking myself for not doing it). But I suspect you wanted to know about hobbies and such. In that case, I am either at the gym, hovering over the stove, reading a book, watching re-runs of Frasier and The Andy Griffith Show, or trying to find the most recent place my dog, Peanut, has stashed my socks and those leftover hushpuppies.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Whatever my grandmother fixed last week for Sunday dinner.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I learned to scrawl my name when I was around four. Though my handwriting never improved much, one hopes that the prose has seen some measure of progress. I began getting serious about writing in 2015 when I started blogging. It still blows me away that anyone is interested in my scribblings.
Q: You frequently write about your family, warts and all. Do you ever think that you are being too transparent?
A: By disposition, I am a private person. But I find that writing about my family and childhood has been a cathartic experience. My goal is to strike the proper balance between gratitude and honesty. My life, despite the rough patches, has been abundantly blessed, and I am thankful for it.
Q: I would love to meet Peanut. Is he as reclusive as you tend to be?
A: Peanut is an attention whore, so I suspect that he would love to meet you and your shins.
Q: I detect a tone of melancholy in much of your writing, is this a temperamental quirk or is it simply for literary affect?
A: That is a difficult question for a couple of reasons: 1) I am not particularly qualified at psychological self-diagnosis; 2) I am not really an authority on my work. I do believe we are shaped by the peculiar circumstances of our lives, but I am not sure how conscious we truly are of the secrets of our own hearts. What I do know is that I strive to write in a way that is emotionally accessible, but doing so in good humor, oriented towards hope.
Q: Are you a night person or a morning person?
A: I am writing this at 1:23 in the morning...
Q: You often say that writing is hard. What did you do to gain confidence in your abilities as a writer?
A: I am not sure whether it is confidence or obstinance. I just refuse to quit. That some of you seem to enjoy the mess with which I litter the page is encouraging, but there is always a voice nagging at me in the back of my mind saying that we are all partakers in a sad, mass delusion.
Q: Were you a nerd in school?
A: No. Actually, I was Homecoming King. But it helps when you’re the only guy in a senior class of three.
Q: When are you taking your show on the road and coming up North to tell stories?
A: When y’all quit having winter.
Q: Where in Arkansas do you live?
A: I live in the Southeast corner. Mississippi delta land. We don’t have the hills and other beautiful scenery for which Arkansas is famous. We have cotton–and culture.
Q: Do you r eally eat all that “southern food” you write about (like squirrels and vegetables drenched in bacon grease)?
A: Yes. I had grits and eggs for breakfast, and buttermilk and cornbread for supper last night.
Q: How are you not five hundred pounds?
A: These things take time.
Q. Do you plan on writing any books soon?
A. I am constantly writing books. I hope to release one (or two) by the end of the year. And I hope that you will all buy at least five copies apiece!