Friday, December 27, 2013

INTERVIEW: MICHELE MCDANNOLD


Name? Michele McDannold

Age? 39

Location? Jhole, Illinois

How long have you been writing? Writing has been an important part of my life since grade school. I didn't catch the publishing bug until about seven years or so ago.

Do you have a specific writing style? That is not something I really think about. The nicest thing I have been told about it, is that it's meat and potatoes. Rejection notices often contain phrases like “too simple”, colloquial, and nihilistic.

Do you write as a career? No. I write because I don't know what else to do with the words that would otherwise keep me up at night and I don't sleep enough as it is. It would be nice, for sure, but I figure since there are people that have been at it far longer than me and much better than me and they're still not getting paid, that that's a longshot.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? What is your ultimate goal as a writer? What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

What do any of us accomplish with our writing, in reality? Publication credits, meaningless nominations, public recognition? Those are things that happen as part of a process, in my mind, completely separate from writing. I suppose the ultimate goal and challenges are to not go completely insane but oh, pushing that line back further and further, to capture something of the moment, to communicate the best way I know how, and when it's really good something akin to nirvana. You know that feeling when the words are coming faster than your pen or typing can keep up with—that's the stuff. After the fact, getting a letter or email from someone that says your poem moved them or was what they needed that day—that, to me, is better than all that other ego-feeding junk.

What projects of yours have been recently published? No projects, really. Some individual poems here and there, most recently here at the Ppigpenn and Zygote in my Coffee. You can do what I have told my kids not to and use the power of google to find the ones that haven't died off with the here and then gone small press publications. Not too long ago, I had my first flash fiction piece published but it was in a small print zine that I never even saw a copy of. There is also this little secret (http://www.zygoteinmycoffee.com/100s/issue141awomanionce.html)... the one and only time I have published under a different name and I'll be amazed if anyone is reading this so what the fuck.

What are you currently working on? I'm currently finishing up a manuscript for my first full-length poetry collection “Stealing the Midnight.”

      How often do you write? As much as I need to. It usually happens in spurts and then nothing for a while which gets me to feeling kind of sick.

       How do you react to rejections? I am terrible at sending out submissions and only get around to it anymore when it's a publication that caught my attention for being something I want to read and so if there's a rejection, I keep trying until I find the one that gets them.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? It used to give me a sort of thrill. I guess now it's more like well, okay. I can leave that one alone now.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Ground yourself in something else.

       What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Believing your own bullshit.

        What is your favorite word? Without a doubt, it is—FUCK!

        What makes you laugh? Lots of things make me laugh, but it is often something my crazy kids are doing or my best friend.

      What makes you cry? Xerox copies.

What is your preferred drink while you write? COFFEE

Beach or Mountains? mountains

Cats or Dogs? Meow.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? John Lennon

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix for kicking ass and Sinatra for being a smooth motherfucker.

Shakespeare or Bukowski? ….are you kidding?


     Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog: yeah, I don't have one. Most of what I do that means anything.. with the help of the family.. can be found out on the interwebs at these places:



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