Friday, April 22, 2011

Interview with Glenn Taylor

1.) What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

I must have been about ten years old when I pulled a particular book out of a dime bin at a rummage sale. It was Somebody Up There Likes Me by Rocky Graziano. I still have it, though it’s in a rotten state -- unglued spine, the whole thing held together by rubber band. But I loved it as a boy, and in some ways, I still love it. It even inspired a story I published years ago in Chattahoochee Review. The story’s title? “Somebody Up There Hates Isaac Blizzard.”

2.) Tell us a bit about your family.

My father hails from Matewan, Mingo County, and my mother is from just down the road in Fairmont. I grew up in Huntington along with my two older sisters. My wife Margaret is also from Huntington, and we have three boys: Reece is seven, Thomas is five, and Eli is one. They were born in Chicago, but they have spent a good bit of time in West Virginia already, as their grandparents are all there. Reece is on the sixth Harry Potter book, Thomas (T-Bird to most) is closing in on his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, and Eli enjoys obsessively kissing his family members as well as pointing at round objects and loudly proclaiming “Bah.”

3.) Is there a writer you've particularly enjoyed studying with/under? Why?

While at Texas State, I had the privilege of enrolling in a few classes taught by Dagoberto Gilb. He is a hell of a writer, and he taught me the most about writing, in essence, by not teaching me. Instead, he instilled in me the idea that if a writer possesses an abundance of patience and a propensity to consistently put in hard work, good things may come.

4.) Is there a particular piece of writing advice that frequently comes to your mind?

There are many pieces of writing advice that come to mind. Advice comes from the blues, always the blues. Jerome Washington wrote, “The blues is our antidote,” and this is true for the writer if we can only learn to listen. Advice comes from poetry. Louise McNeill wrote, “I have gulled the pith from a sumac limb/ to play a tune that my blood remembers.” Indeed, as humans, we share blood that remembers, and it is the writer’s duty to recall the stories and remind everyone who we truly are.

5.) Tell us a bit about how you conduct a workshop and/or your goals/expectations in leading a workshop.

I suppose I’m somewhat traditional in terms of workshop format. My goals include the attempt to instill a consistent work ethic. My expectations include the attempt (on the part of the student) to truly understand what is meant by “storytelling.”

6.) What are you most looking forward to about moving back to West Virginia?

I look forward to the terrain (I’m no flatlander). I look forward to the closeness of extended family. And I look forward to becoming a full-fledged Tenant of Colson Hall.

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