Read Matt Meade’s “Jeanette and the Beast.”
Matt Meade is a stay-at-home parent, a sit-in-front-of-the-computer freelancer, and a once-upon-a-time problem drinker. His fiction has appeared in The Sun Magazine, The Rag, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. Some of his work, as well as the one good picture he has of himself, can be found at matthewthomasmeade.com.
1. What made you want to become a writer?
In my “real” life I find it very difficult to express myself. I am known to say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. I am often tongue-tied, not very quick, and sort of awkward. As a matter of fact, this question makes me quite nervous. I am so poor at communicating that I spend hours sitting in a dark room imagining scenarios that might properly convey my ideas. I think that it’s that failure to properly express myself that has made me so determined to write.
2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?
I sort of don’t believe in genre. Certainly the idea of genre can be useful in a broad sense, particularly when discussing fiction, but when I write I try to only let the tropes and clichés of genre act as a marker for what to avoid.
As far as how my writing has changed from my early writing to my current writing, the biggest difference is that my characters have all gotten fatter. And now none of them smoke cigarettes anymore.
3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?
I never finished anything worthwhile until I stopped drinking. Don’t believe those folks, not even Lars Von Trier, when they tell you that they need to drink (or do heroine, or smoke weed, etc.) to be creative. All that stuff is fine, and I encourage it, but no one needs it to make interesting work. It took me a long time to realize that what you actually need to be creative is to get your heart kicked around a little bit. To get scared of something. To have something worth losing. If my work is ever interesting it is only because I managed to be honest with myself about something that terrified me, or moved me.
The other thing that has been enormously helpful to me is other writers. If any writer needs help in their pursuits, they should ask another writer. Writers will invest absurd amounts of their free time into another writer’s work. They don’t even need to believe the stuff is good. They will just do it because they believe in the concept of literature. Writing fiction is one of the last great religions of the world.
4. How would you describe your writing practice?
Every sentence I have ever written, including this one, is a victory over the temptation of turn-based strategy video games and pornography.
5. What are you writing now?
I am currently trying to write a novel about the most American of all art forms: professional wrestling.
6. Where can someone find out more about your work?
Most of my fiction is collected at my website www.matthewthomasmeade.com.
I also try to blog about music on a semi-regular basis for the music criticism collective www.oldschoolrecordreview.com. Come pick a fight with me in the comments section over whether or not Pavement is any good.