Bestselling author to speak at Hamburg library
The collection of nine stories including the title novella take the reader on journeys that span both state and decade. According to Nathan, the stories range from “mid-60s New York City, to 1950s Iowa, to post-earthquake Los Angeles, to the modern day Tex-Mex border.”
“Jack the Bastard” marks the third book for the award-winning writer and essayist who hails from Boston, N.Y. His debut novel, “Gods of Aberdeen” was an international bestseller and second novel “Losing Graceland” was received with much critical acclaim.
Nathan will head homeward to present “An Evening with Micah Nathan” on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St. After reading from one of his favorite short stories, he will be available to answer audience questions and comments.
The Sun recently got in touch with Nathan for a preview of what’s to come during his Hamburg visit.
SUN: Did you graduate from Hamburg High School?
MN: Correct. I graduated from Hamburg in 1991, back when the Internet was a fantasy, and cell phones were reserved for the rich and influential.
SUN: You said you did not take a single English course while attending Buffalo State College. What degree did you pursue?
MN: At the time, Buffalo State had students take placement exams in math and English. I did absurdly bad on the math — no surprise — and scored “remedial level” for English. The question was “If you could be a color, what color would you be?” They wanted us to provide an expository essay in response. I gave them a poem instead. I wasn’t trying to rebel; I just thought an expository essay was the wrong format for that sort of abstract question. The review board saw otherwise. Without passing remedial English, I couldn’t take any English courses. So I didn’t. Until I transferred to UB, where I took English 101 and had a great time.
I got my degree in anthropology. The Buffalo State Anthropology department was terrific, especially Professor Mitchell and Professor Gaffin, and Dr. Stevens at UB was also very good. I loved, and still love, anthropology. I can think of no better training for a writer.
SUN: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Your website indicates that your work revolves around “mayhem and woe.”
MN: That “mayhem and woe” line is a bit tongue-in-cheek, though all drama should contain some mayhem and woe. Otherwise, where’s the conflict? Mayhem can be a shootout or an argument over dinner. Woe can be a funeral or a lonely man staring out his kitchen window. Every great work of fiction contains an abundance of both, ranging from the overtly-dramatic to the quiet.
SUN: You seem like you follow a strict writing schedule. Do you carve a certain amount of time out of the day to write, or do you only write when the mood inspires you?
MN: When I’m working on a project I write six days a week, no matter how I feel, even if it’s only a piece of editing or a few paragraphs. Years ago I learned that waiting to be inspired is hogwash. Perhaps “hogwash” is too strong—inspiration can be a nice boost, but it’s unsustainable. The fuel burns too hot and too quick. A schedule is crucial. For me, at least.
SUN: How do you balance writing with family life?
MN: I don’t know of any writer who can. When I’ve had a particularly long day, and I realize it’s 10 p.m. and I haven’t even kissed my wife yet, I’m filled with regret. Though that’s a good sign, yes?
SUN: What do you enjoy about writing?
MN: It’s one of my greatest loves and sorrows. There are times when I feel that writing, books, and music are all I need. Then I return to reality and kick myself for being so solipsistic.
SUN: Do you have tips for fledgling writers? It certainly is a business not all make it in.
MN: Good writers figure it out on their own. They don’t need me getting in the way.
For more information on Micah Nathan, visit his website at www.micahnathan.com.