Read Alex Clark-McGlenn’s “The Sign For Grief Is Crow.”
1. What made you want to become a writer?
Growing up I was severely dyslexic. I didn’t read a book until I was in 8th grade. In that same year, my English teacher shared some of the works of Edgar Allan Poe and ee cummings with our class. I was so captivated by these writers, especially Poe and The Tell Tale Heart. I thought, hey, why can’t I write like that? For some reason the ambition stuck and I’ve been writing ever since.
2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?
I wouldn’t want to be clumped in with a single genre, frankly. People are multifaceted creatures, it seems strange that authors should confine themselves to one genre. As a reader I enjoy everything from Literature (yeah, with a capital L), like Cormac McCarthy, to fantasy like Patrick Rothfuss. My reading tastes, however typically hide in between these two forms of writing, such as Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami. Similar to my reading tastes, I try to write something I’d want to read.
3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?
My MFA, which I got at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Sadly, the program closed down last August, but the education it gave me has made me grow as a writer like I never thought I would. While many people wonder what an MFA in creative writing is good for, NILA challenged me in so many ways. I remember my first semester in the program. I was so awed by the level of detail faculty and students gave to their work. I didn’t even know that type of care existed within writing. I wouldn’t have the understanding and passion for fiction I do today without the faculty and friends that supported me while I was in that program.
4. How would you describe your writing practice?
I don’t really think about “the writing practice,” anymore. Much of my income comes from freelance writing, which I’m thankful for. These days, if I don’t write, I don’t pay the bills–so my practice has become my job in many respects. But I wouldn’t say I enjoy it any less because of this. While it’s a job, it’s a job I love (nearly) everyday. I usually do a freewrite for myself each morning, I’m also part of a weekly critique group, which helps keep me on track. But it’s not a struggle like it once was. It just feels like my life.
5. What are you writing now?
I’m working on a novel which has gone through several drafts. Hopefully I’ll be searching for an agent in the next couple months, as I’ve gotten some good feedback from those who have read it and I believe it’s very close. I also have a short, “Lovecraftian,” horror story I’m working on. I feel it’s one of my more clever pieces, but it’s still in an early draft.
6. Where can someone find out more about your work?
My website is probably the best place to look: alexclarkmcg.com. I have links to all the magazines and anthologies I’ve been published in, such as Best New Writing 2016, eFiction, and others. I’m active on Twitter as well, @alexclarkmcg, and always appreciate some discussion on writing.