Tyler Meese’s story “Roles” appears in Midwestern Gothic‘s Winter 2018 issue, out now.
What’s your connection to the Midwest, and how has the region influenced your writing?
I’m corn born! And spent 25 years in Michigan and Indiana until I moved west. The Oregon DMV man punched a hole in my expired Michigan license, but let me keep it. My writing’s main ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup: sickly sweet and sort of gross and I don’t want to talk about it but it makes me.
What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Midwest?
The Midwest is massive but discussed in a very small way. I mean, I know maybe four states, but I still address the entire, expansive swath because that’s how it’s divvied. There’s small nuances within the glossed over area though and I love those.
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?
They’re matches to spark or precipices from which to jump. I see a kid in a library with an oversized scratch-off advertisement t-shirt, that’s a start. Or the green shards of a child’s buckets accidentally pushed into a snow mound by a volunteer truck. Or a mommy mouse gives birth to her litter in a live trap.
Discuss your writing process — inspirations, ideal environments, how you deal with writer’s block.
My writing process changes as my routine/obligations change. When I worked hotel swing shifts, I wrote before I went in. I’m on a more standard 9-5 production schedule now and try to write after work, on the weekends. It’s a continual work around work. My ideal environment has a lot of liquids, background music, and isolation. As for writer’s block, I don’t deal, I swim through and hope an island appears before I drown.
How can you tell when a piece of writing is finished?
I can’t. The paint don’t dry in a word doc.
Who is your favorite author (fiction writer or poet), and what draws you to their work?
There’s too many! And for too many reasons! Here’s a partial list: Nelson Algren, James Baldwin, Bella Bravo, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Peter Ho Davies, Steph Wong Ken, Gary Lutz, Herman Melville, Salvador Plascencia, Wesley Willis, and Leni Zumas.
What’s next for you?
My grandpa asked the same question and our phone call went quiet. I should figure that shit out.
Where can we find more information about you?
Email me at email@example.com and we can have a real conversation! Or I’m @tylermeese on twitter if you want to see the idiot part of my brain.