Spotlight: Author Jack Remick Shares His Writing World
Remick gives four people credit in helping to shape his writing world: Jack Moodey, Thom Gunn, Robert J. Ray, and Natalie Goldberg. "As a naïve and very young poet, I met Jack Moodey. Of course, being young and stupid, I knew everything so in a discussion with Jack about poetry; I asked him if he had ever written an epic poem. His reply: Six lines or eight? BAM. First idea that this might be harder than I imagined. Then I met Thom Gunn who was teaching poetry at Berkeley. He called me in one day to talk about my latest poetic effort. I remember his words exactly: Jack, if you live in another man´s universe, it will be smaller than the one you create for yourself. Second BAM. Lesson? Don´t imitate your predecessors, create your own world. Later, I met Robert J Ray, the mystery novelist and intellectual mentor to generations. Bob led me to ´timed writing´ also called ´writing practice´ or writing under the clock to free yourself from the internal editor. Third BAM. There´s an internal editor? Get that guy out of the way. Without Bob, there are no novels in my life. Then, Taos. Natalie Goldberg and the Zen of Writing. In Taos, I listened to Natalie say: Writing gets more writing. You walk in the mist you get wet. Writing connects mind to mind. Finish what you start. Shut out the noise. Fourth BAM. No such thing as writer´s block, put pen to paper, it´s okay to write memoir. All writing is in the body. The body is the focus and the be-all and end-all of writing. You want to click into the viscera of being alive, shut out the noise, listen to the whispers of time and let them guide your pen," shared Remick.
In Remick´s writing life, the writing has always been more important than the publishing. He was published, as a poet, very early and realized that unless he had a body of work he was useless as a writer so Remick kicked back, found the discipline he needed and kept on writing.
"Jack Moodey told me that he got one acceptance for every 300 submissions," commented Remick. The early success told him he could do it. Remick also learned that unless he had the discipline, he would not be a writer but someone who had written a book. "I have seen many ´sophomore or second book´ failures because the writers blasted out that first novel on guts and adrenaline, but didn´t have the discipline to know how to do the second book. Roland Barthes breaks us up into two categories—ecrivains and ecrivants. The one writes, the other writes things," said Remick. "My experience has taught me this—you´re not writing a novel, you´re writing a dramatic scene. Each scene hooks to another scene. Scenes link together in plot tracks. Plot tracks are built on objects, characters, actions or symbols. This process is an integrated one that starts with—the scene and its parts. I´ve put all of this information on the blog I keep with Robert J. Ray: http://bobandjackswritingblog.com."
Remick writes by hand on yellowed lined paper. He sets a timer and writes until the timer goes off. His discipline is this—finish what you start. Honor your words. Type up what you write. And, the most important thing—work with other writers. Force yourself to put pages on the table. Listen to what your readers tell you.
"I have a disciplined approach to this—everything starts in a state of absolute chaos and I dabble at the writing until either a character or a story emerges, one with enough zing to make me want to know more. I spend a lot of time ´writing about the writing´ which means getting to know the Story, then working out a Structure, then, towards the end, paying attention to Style. Story begets Structure, Structure begets Style. Style is language honed into smooth blocks or rough cut hunks of emotion and energy," shared Remick.
Remick is currently touring his recently released novel Gabriela and The Widow, a very personal novel not at all based on personal experience. It is a novel about two women, one dying—The Widow; the other—Gabriela, is blossoming. It is an archetypal Mother-Daughter novel working the idea that culture passes through women. It is built on the notion that our memory is fallible and that our stories have to be written down for them to be meaningful. It is a novel about the transformative power of love and respect. It is also a novel built on the idea that women share deep and universal secrets regardless of which culture they live in.
Remick shared his thoughts on the novel, "I wrote Gabriela and The Widow because I needed a novel about immigrants coming to America—and we´ve been coming here for fifteen thousand years. I wanted to focus on the latest leg of that Diaspora—the one from South to North, to El Norte. I wanted to write about the collision of cultures and to show how, in the end, we are connected and I wanted to write about the women. The men in Gabriela and The Widow are incidental--they are punishing, they are brutal, they are cheats and liars--but this is not a misanthropic book. Rather, it´s the story of how The Widow makes Gabriela in her own image. In a sense, it is a novel about women for women and it is a novel about women before men. It always struck me as odd that writing was invented only three times—that we know of—Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica. So what in the mind of Mesoamerica spurred that epic of creation? I think Gabriela shows us some of the energy of that mind."
However, Remick has written a broad range of books from book-length poems such as Josie Delgado to the non-fiction The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery. "Right now I´m completing The California Quartet, all literary fiction. Blood is on a shelf by itself because I´m not sure just what it is so I keep it in a glass case apart from the other work," said Remick.
The World of Ink Network will be touring author Jack Remick´s contemporary women´s literary novel, Gabriela and The Widow published by Coffeetown Press throughout January and February 2013. ISBN: 978-1-60381-147-7 Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Gabriela and The Widow is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After January 15, 2013, it will also be available in multiple eBook and 6x9 trade paperback editions on BN.com, the European Amazons and Amazon Japan.
Wholesale orders can be placed through firstname.lastname@example.org Baker & Taylor or Ingram. Libraries can also purchase books through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.
Gabriela and The Widow is the story of Gabriela, a 19 year old Mexican woman who migrates north (to El Norte) where she meets a dying 92 year old woman, The Widow. The novel is their story.
You can find out more about Jack Remick, his books and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/akw7kk6
Follow Jack Remick at
Author page: http://jackremick.com