Contributor Spotlight: Craig Workman

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2012-04-04_19-49-55_17Craig Workman’s story “Linus and Lucy” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 5, out now.

How long have you been writing?
I guess since I was eight years old, so 29 years. Yikes. I think my first short fiction was a horrible little piece about a wizard and a cowboy, but I could be wrong. Glad I can’t find that one in any boxes in any attics or basements. Ever.

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I was born in Harvey, Illinois, spent some time off-and-on in Chicago, but spent the vast majority of my time in Missouri (UMKC, where I teach and am a PhD student) and Kansas (Osawatomie, where my folks live and I went to high school and Prairie Village, where my family and I reside).

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
The Midwest is very important to me as–other than lots of traveling–it’s all I know. I find immense pleasure in the cities as well as the small towns and the country, the forgotten and broken-down places and things and the newness, the food, the music and a scene that’s fantastic if you open your eyes and look for it.

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?
Well, while we certainly did/do have some incredible writers in the Midwest, such as Ander Monson, Mark Twain, Daniel Woodrell, Vonnegut (that’s right) and Hemingway, I think quite a bit of it relates to stereotypes. I’ve heard it said that there’s nothing in the Midwest but Chicago and lots of farmers and fields. The South has the tried-and-true Gothic mystique and the West Coast has L.A., the home of—among other things—noir. In other words, too many people rely on American Western film and Cather’s O, Pioneers! and assume that’s all the Midwest has to offer. Sad, sad mistake in my opinion.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I think social media is fantastic. I’m a bit of a luddite, and I try my best to keep up with it. I try to push info about my work on Facebook and Linkedin. I have a Twitter account, but keep forgetting my password. Ha. Anyway, I’m working on a website, but it isn’t complete yet. Hopefully, I’ll become a computer genius in the near future.

Favorite book?
That’s a tough one. Right now it’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Some of the best voice and characterization I’ve ever seen.

Favorite food?
Oklahoma Joe’s barbeque, 3002 West 47th Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66103. Worth its weight in gold.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
Charles Bukowski circa 1970, just when his career with Black Sparrow Press was starting to take off. We’d probably be having lots of wine, though. He loved the French stuff.

Where can we find more information about you?

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