If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Vincent Van Gogh approached his art with passion and sincerity, and when I read his letters to his brother Theo, I see a man burning with a fire to shape a world that wasn’t quite ready to be shaped by Vincent Van Gogh. It’s that spirit of creative fury and earnestness that I strive to emulate in my own approach to art and writing.
And if I were to meet Vincent at that little café in Arles for a bottle of Cassis and some warm fougasse, I’d be content to just sit back and listen to him at a time when nobody really did. If I were able to get a few words in, I’d simply tell him that he wasn’t alone. The pain he felt wasn’t unique. And that the world needed him more than he could ever know.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Everything in moderation—your back will thank you for it later. (Eight years as a whitewater raft guide back in the nineties took their toll.)
What is your favorite resource for writers?
Without a doubt, I think every writer needs to participate in a strong writing community. More than any book or website, being able to share and commiserate with somebody who has been there or knows what you’re dealing with has gotten me through some challenging times. Inversely, being part of a posse is way more fun than going it alone. I’m lucky that so many awesome writers have my back—the students, faculty, and alumni from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, the gang at Raw Dog Screaming Press and Dog Star Books, and, of course, so many of the great people here at Pennwriters.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your literary career?
For me, it’s being able to share it with my wife, a writer whom I trust and admire greatly. This process has given us the opportunity to forge a very unique relationship, which I am very grateful for. And I know how lucky I am to have it. Achievements and accomplishments mean so much more when they’re shared with somebody who understands the hardships and triumphs of this business.
What is your favorite tip for writers?
Have fun. That’s it. Life’s too short to take anything (other than food, wine, or music) too seriously.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
There’s never enough time… .
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Right now I’m putting the final touches on a novel I started in 1998. At the time, I didn’t realize the idea exceeded my ability to execute it, and grew frustrated by my inability to bring it to life. Over the past nineteen years I’ve written five or six versions, each with many drafts that had been gutted and reworked hundreds of times, and what I’m left with feels like the truest, most unique thing I’ve ever written. The book is called All Saints, and I hope to see it released by the end of the year.
Facebook: Jason Jack Miller
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