It’s nice to be picked, whether it’s for a basketball game or to write stories.
Ron Currie, Jr. is the author of Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (Viking 2013). His first book, God is Dead, was published to critical acclaim in 2007, earning Currie comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and Raymond Carver. God is Dead received the Young Lions Fiction Award from the New York Public Library, as well as the Metcalf award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Currie published his first full-length novel, Everything Matters!, in 2009. The winner of an Alex Award from the American Library Association, Everything Matters! made several best-of lists for 2009, including the Los Angeles Times,National Public Radio, and Amazon.com. Writing in the New York Times, Janet Maslin called Currie a “startlingly talented writer” who “survives the inevitable, apt comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and writes in a tenderly mordant voice of his own.” Currie was raised and still resides in Waterville, Maine.
Web page: http://roncurriejr.net/
New Interview at Gothamist
Novel: Everything Matters!
Article: Things I Learned While Writing at Huffington Post
New York Times Review of Everything Matters!
How Ron Currie, Jr. Became a Writer
This is the next installment in the How to Become a Writer interview series, which will post here at Ph.D. in Creative Writing every other Sunday (or so) until I run out of writers to interview, or until they stop saying yes. Each writer answers the same 5 questions. Thanks to Eric Bosse for the recommendation, and thanks to Ron for saying yes!
1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I didn’t really want to become a writer–I had a talent and a compulsion. It sort of chooses you, I think, not the other way around. Which is nice. It’s nice to be picked, whether it’s for a basketball game or to write stories.
Read, write, read, read, read, write, read some more, write, throw away everything you’ve written, read, read, write, read, write, write, read read read.
3. Who helped you along the way, and how?
Oh, plenty of people. Plenty of teachers, thoughout the gauntlet of K-12. I had a great and smart and supportive group of fellow writers at the Zoetrope online workshop, which is where I really cut my teeth when I started writing with intent as an adult, many of whom I’m still friends with today, and many of whom have gone on to great success.
4. Can you tell me about a writer or artist whose biography inspires you?
Grace Paley. She was the real thing. Only three books, all short stories. Didn’t even want to publish her first collection, but was harassed into it, more or less, by an editor friend. Perfect, fierce little starbursts, her stories. She became a titan by sheer excellence; there was no hype at all surrounding her. In fact, her first collection was mostly ignored, but forced itself back into the world with a reissue a decade after it was first published. And she had perspective on everything. She wrote her stories and then got on with her day. There were kids to tend to, after all, and a world to save. One gets the impression she was much more concerned with political activism than with her writings, superb as they were.
5. What would you say in a short letter to an aspiring writer?
Success in writing is much the same as success in any other endeavor: except for the authentic geniuses, it’s all about working your ass off.