William Matthew McCarter’s short story “The Next First Day of the Rest of My Life” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 3, out now.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. Writing has always been how I make sense of the world around me.
What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I grew up in Southeast Missouri. It is really difficult to say where the South ends and the Midwest begins in my little piece of the world in Iron County, but I would say that we all have Midwestern/Southern rural values.
How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
People tend to write about what they know and what interests them. I know my family, I know my neighbors, and I know my community. I know that life is difficult out here in fly over country. I’ve seen the empty factories, the dilapidated farm houses where no one lives, and the train depot where the trains don’t run anymore. There are real stories way out here and no one else seems to be telling them right now.
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?
I think that it is because the authors from the Midwest or those that write about the Midwest seem to be grouped in with other movements. Mark Twain was from Missouri and he wrote about Missouri but there weren’t really any other Midwesterners writing at that time. I think he wound up being grouped with the American realists. Hemingway was from Chicago but he wound up being grouped with the expatriate writers – the Lost Generation. Tennessee Williams was from St. Louis but he styled himself as a Southerner. T.S. Eliot was from Missouri but he is considered a Modernist poet. Langston Hughes was from the Midwest but he is most often associated with the Harlem Renaissance. I suppose if we Midwesterners were to reclaim some of our own, we might find that we have a body of work that is representative of the Platonic ideal of “Midwesternness.”
How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
For the most part, I am kind of a Luddite and tend to shy away from technology. However, my wife made me a Facebook page and I see the value of it. I haven’t published much since I began using the page but I have posted some links on there for my “friends” to check out.
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Anything my wife or grandma cooks.
If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I’d love to sip some bootleg whiskey with William Faulkner.
Where can we find more information about you?
You can check out my Facebook page or go to www.fatdaddysfarm.org for information about some future projects that I will be working on.