Greg Loselle’s piece “Slime Mold and The Highway” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 18, out now.
What’s your connection to the Midwest, and how has the region influenced your writing?
I grew up in a small factory town just south of Detroit, Wyandotte, Michigan. My family has, in some branches, been in the area since the 1640’s, so I have the great fun of being related to a lot of people in town! Since I grew up on the Detroit River, I also have the Great Lakes, and their geography, as part of my heritage.
What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Midwest?
Strangely enough, I think the most compelling part of the Midwest is its cultural ‘normality:’ we’re the part of the country that doesn’t have a coastal identity—we look toward the center, in almost all ways.
How do your experiences or memories of specific places—such as where you grew up, or a place you’ve visited that you can’t get out of your head—play a role in your writing?
Well, the Detroit River is plays a large role: I can’t imagine not having grown up near a body of water, a shipping trade, and the industrialization and farming that form the core of my area’s culture.
Discuss your writing process — inspirations, ideal environments, how you deal with writer’s block.
I believe that if you keep yourself, as a writer, relaxed and open, writer’s block takes care of itself. The trick is to keep a working notebook, make writing a frequent, if not daily, habit—and learn to forgive yourself for the awful drafts that can, with work, turn into wonderful things.
How can you tell when a piece of writing is finished?
I’m always adjusting little things—even years later, changing a word here or there—but I know when a piece is done when it ‘tells’ me: when it seems complete and sounds, on a final reading (almost always aloud, to check the sound of it) that its integrity is complete—it can stand on its own.
Who is your favorite author (fiction writer or poet), and what draws you to their work?
I have favorite works, but rarely favorite writers, taken as a whole. I could name the fiction of Steven Millhauser and Fitzgerald, and the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost as particular favorites, though. All of them produce works that grow more complicated with detailed examination.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up the script of a musical with composer Kieren MacMillan, and gathering poems for a full-length manuscript, mostly about animals.
Where can we find more information about you?
I’m on Wikipedia and also available—soon, as soon as I finish it up—at www.loselle.com.