Saturday, June 1, 2024

42 Stories Anthology Presents: Steve Gerson Interview


Steve Gerson won the Story of Excellence Award in Alternate Reality Chapter for THE LARK AND NOT THE NIGHTINGALE, HE SAID


BAM: Where are you located, Steve?

Steve: The United States in Overland Park, Kansas.


BAM: Never been to Kansas. Where is your writing space?

Steve: Home, handheld Smartphone.


BAM: Very modern. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Steve: Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Hemingway (Old Man and the Sea), Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby).


BAM: Got a funny story about Fitzgerald if you ever want to know it. Anyway, this is your time. Are there any artists or paintings that inspire creativity from you?

Steve: Jean Michel Basquiat, Frank Stella, Caravaggio, Larry Thomas.


BAM: Caravaggio. Nice. I've got Judith Beheading Holofernes handy on my computer desktop for inspiration. My house boss said that we can't have a real version of the painting displayed. Do you have any go-to foods?

Steve: Hamburgers and hotdogs.


BAM: Umm, I haven't had a hot dog in ten years. They're no good in Japan because they're pork. I miss American beef dogs. Please get my mind off that, Steve. What bands do you like?

Steve: REM, Willie Nelson, Buffalo Springfield.


BAM: All talented musicians. And that wasn't just a dream. Do you have a favorite beach?

Steve: Galveston, TX


BAM: Nice. As a child, often went there in the summer with friends. In fact, my first excursion as an official driver was from Houston to Galveston. Stayed in my car overnight and watched the sunrise. That beach was a great place. Where's one of your favorite places?

Steve: Santa Fe, NM


BAM: Cool. Favorite country?

Steve: England


BAM: First, Americans want out, then like it again. Can’t decide, right? What are your favorite sweets?

Steve: Macarons


BAM: Nice. How do you relax?

Steve: Sports


BAM: Right on. Take it you mean watching them. What’s the best animal on Earth?

Steve: The best animal on Earth are Elephants because they are caring, family oriented.


BAM: True. They also never forget. Okay, coffee or tea or something else?

Steve: Coffee


BAM: The stronger, the better, huh? Now let's talk about writing. Many authors, whether they realize it or not, in a subtle way send a message to readers about their beliefs. That said, is there something you passionately want the human race to stop doing, which might appear somehow in your writing?


Steve: Being selfishly ethnocentric


BAM: Wholeheartedly agree. I think it’s more of an issue with Americans, though. I don’t want to go on a rant. More people should try and understand other cultures before judging them. Tell me, what’s the best way to write?

Steve: I can write anywhere.


BAM: What's your greatest achievement in writing?

Steve: Co-authoring textbooks with my wife


BAM: Sounds fun. What got you into writing?

Steve: Inclination and education


BAM: Tell me more. When did you realize you liked writing?

Steve: High school


BAM: Around the time it becomes more important in school. Makes sense. While writing, do you play music, or watch anything?

Steve: No, I like a somewhat quiet environment



BAM: Is anyone in your family a writer?

Steve: My wife, daughter, and brother-in-law.

My brother-in-law has written over 30 history books.


BAM: Family of writers. What deceased or living writer do you want to meet?

Steve: Kurt Vonnegut.


BAM: One of my creative writing professors took a class he had taught. Apparently, Vonnegut was an amazing and memorable teacher. Also, he won so many awards. What's the greatest writing award you hope to win?

Steve: No aspirations.


BAM: Oh, okay. On editing, do you edit alone, have a friend read your work, or do you hire a professional editor?

Steve: My wife proofreads my work.



BAM: I’m trying to talk my fiancée into doing something like that. Feel free to email me tips on how to convince her. Okay, let’s turn a page and talk about writer's block. How do you overcome it?

Steve: I’m in the midst of a prolonged writer’s block NOW.  It’s very troubling to me. What I’m writing of late is inferior to what I’ve written in the past, in terms of topic and performance. I’ve tried to continue writing, and sometimes a few poems come out OK, but they still fail to meet my expectations. So, I’m putting myself in a self-imposed sabbatical from writing, just to let my brain calm down. We’ll see how this works.


BAM: Famous writers say just jot something down. It’s better to have written something than nothing. Then again, a break can lead to stronger performance later. On the other hand, I’ve heard returning to the beginning can help writer’s block. What of the way you got started? Or perhaps, could you tell me about the first story you ever got published?

Steve: My first published poem was entitled “Once planed straight.”  It is a pastoral, almost-landscape portrait of a barn that I passed by daily for about a decade. The barn, little by little, sagged into the earth. I saw it disintegrate. The barn came to represent for me a lost agricultural, small farm age. It’s still one of my favorite images. The poem came to be the title of my first book of collected poems.



BAM: Coincidentally, I read your poem here Will definitely check out the book sometime. Thank you, Steve.





Dr. Steve Gerson, professor emeritus, has published in CafeLit, Panoplyzine, Crack the Spine, Decadent Review, Vermilion, In Parentheses, and more, plus his chapbooks Once Planed Straight; Viral; And the Land Dreams Darkly; and The 13th Floor:  Step into Anxiety from Spartan Press.

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