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Sean Lovelace’s poem “Velveeta, 3 Snapshots” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 2, out now.
How long have you been writing?
Since maybe age 10? I used to read these silly stories to all my elementary school classmates. My main device was hyperbole. I made everything BIG. The teachers and the kids loved it. So it felt good. So I just kept on writing. Most everything I have written is very bad, like maybe 98%. So I’m thankful for the 2%.
What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I’m a southerner, but moved to Michigan 6 years ago, and then to Indiana. Honestly, I am not a deeply rooted Midwesterner, but I do try. When I move to a new area, I like to read all the fiction about the area, then some nonfiction. And the daily news. I like to keep up with the mood and what this place is about. I have learned in Indiana people like motorcycles but hate motorcycle helmets. They like basketball, car racing, big-ass bags of salt, bean bags, beer, riding mowers, guns (as a prior Southerner, so do I), ordinary food in extraordinary serving sizes. People don’t use their car horns here, either, unless you’re in Chicago, where the car horn is a sort of language. I love Chicago. It frightens me.
How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
The cold and the wind. Hunker down! These pockets of rural or woodland in the urban, these pockets of residential living in giant flatnesses of rural. I’m still trying to get my head around all of this. The corn. The corn. The corn. The Midwest has made me write in more segmented forms. To think in more segmented ways. Juxtaposition. Crows eating French Fries in the mall parking lot. A bowling alley in a field of tall corn.
Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
OK, I’ve only been here a short time, so excuse me if I talk out my ass. My theory is partly self-esteem. For some reason, there is this odd feel around this region of “We’re not worthy.” I’ve never seen a people who apologize so much, who defer. This drives me crazy at 4 way stops, BTW. Like three people sit at the STOP sign and keep waving over and over to each other, “You go. No, you go first. NO, please, you go, I insist.” It’s insane. In the south, they ignore STOP signs or shoot them. So anyway, I think you need a generation of artists who are proud of the area, the culture, and certainly its oddness. More Michael Martones! I mean the juxtaposition I point to in question 3 is fascinating. It is art, and should be seen as such.
How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
Mixed. I feel mixed. I have a blog named seanlovelace.com. That’s obnoxious. I was one of the earlier lit-bloggers, so I had a long while to think about this entire idea. My solution has been to champion others as much as possible. To blog about the books and authors and kick-ass carrying-ons of this wonderful, lively, electric small press and online lit mag community. I write for HTML GIANT and really try to never write about my work or whatever. It should be about the vibrancy of what is going on right now. This literary explosion! I pretty much hate Facebook. It’s clearly obnoxious, but I am on it, and I do occasionally post things about my books. Then sometimes I post drunk, a real danger. But I try to keep all that to a minimum. Honestly, Facebook makes me want to vomit up glass. So. I don’t do Twitter. Fuck Twitter.
Trout Fishing in America.
If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I’d like to get drunk with Edna St. Vincent Millay and Jim Harrison and hopefully sleep with both of them.
Where can we find more information about you?
Shit, I drop words all over. Just Google my name or hit up Publishing Genius Press or Rose Metal Press or go to seanlovelace.com. Drop on by HTML GIANT—we are the future!