Today, we have author Jack Remick with us. He is a poet, short story writer and novelist. Jack is a modest man who loves the written word. His first published novel, Blood, A Novel, was in 2011 with Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press. In 2012, Coffeetown Press published the first two volumes of Jack’s California Quartet series, The Deification and Valley Boy. The final two volumes, The Book of Changes and Trio of Lost Souls, will appear in 2013. His most current release is a contemporary women’s literary novel, Gabriela and The Widow, also published by Coffeetown Press.
Jack, what are some of the things or people who have influenced/inspired your writing? Can you share some writing experiences with us?
Four people have shaped my writing world: Jack Moodey, Thom Gunn, Robert J. Ray, and Natalie Goldberg. As a naïve and very young poet, I met Jack Moodey. Of course, being young and stupid, I knew everything so in a discussion with Jack about poetry; I asked him if he’d ever written an epic poem. His reply: “Six lines or eight?” BAM. First idea that this might be harder than I imagined.
Then I met Thom Gunn who was teaching poetry at Berkeley. He called me in one day to talk about my latest poetic effort. I remember his words exactly: Jack, if you live in another man’s universe, it will be smaller than the one you create for yourself. Second BAM. Lesson? Don’t imitate your predecessors; create your own world.
Later, I met Robert J Ray, the mystery novelist and intellectual mentor to generations. Bob led me to “timed writing” also called “writing practice” or writing under the clock to free yourself from the internal editor. Third BAM. There’s an internal editor? Get that guy out of the way. Without Bob, there are no novels in my life.
Then, Taos. Natalie Goldberg and the Zen of Writing. In Taos, I listened to Natalie say: Writing gets more writing. You walk in the mist you get wet. Writing connects mind to mind. Finish what you start. Shut out the noise. Fourth BAM. No such thing as writer’s block, put pen to paper, it’s okay to write memoir. All writing is in the body. The body is the focus and the be-all and end-all of writing. You want to click into the viscera of being alive, shut out the noise, listen to the whispers of time and let them guide your pen.