Guinotte Wise’s piece “Leaks and Dams” appears in Midwestern Gothic‘s Winter 2018 Issue, coming February 20th.
What’s your connection to the Midwest, and how has the region influenced your writing?
Born and raised, though moved a lot, and last big move was Los Angeles, which actually strengthened my midwest ties, made me appreciate it more–though L.A. was quite good to me, no complaints.
What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Midwest?
Not sure it’s easily explained, though space is important to me, living rural, big skies, stars, less light pollution and less pollution of any kind–though the big weedkiller giants are doing their best to screw that up too.
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?
Immeasurably. Places, senses, smells, sounds, plants, accents, the dirt color, building materials from place to place, as in Missouri, lots of brick buildings from earlier eras, things you notice when you come back.
Discuss your writing process — inspirations, ideal environments, how you deal with writer’s block.
I don’t really acknowledge that “block,” and, as a result, can’t use it as an excuse. There are prolific times, and sparse times. It’s just the way that is. I don’t beat myself up. I leave the Macbook and the journal and do stuff like welding sculpture–what I left often solves itself by being left. I’m at a slow place in an already sold novel right now, and I don’t care. The mail will get through. The forty will get plowed. It’ll get done. Or it won’t. My favorite place is a kitchen booth, looks like a Denny’s.
How can you tell when a piece of writing is finished?
It appears to me to be at that place where nothing more needs to be said. Even though it may not be “the end” and not much is definitively settled. I used to read New Yorker stories like that, still do, that sort of leave you wondering. But that’s okay. It used to bother me. I no longer tie things up neatly.
Who is your favorite author (fiction writer or poet), and what draws you to their work?
Thomas McGuane. His fluid mesmerizing prose and startling irony. His ability to put you there, where it’s going on.
What’s next for you?
I just finished a second collection of poetry and am about 200 pages into a second novel. I have my next sculpture show in May and that will be a balancing act, but one I always enjoy.
Where can we find more information about you?
The pages for my books on Amazon have a fair amount of information, and my highly unreliably narrated blog and website at www.wisesculpture.com