What is your name?
For the purposes of my writing outside of the office in which I actually earn a paycheck, my name is “Gil A. Waters.”
How would you describe what you do?
I try to transform personal tragedy into prosaic beauty. Put differently, I engage in therapeutic writing that I hope others will enjoy reading.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently bouncing back and forth between two endeavors: compiling a book-length collection of semi-humorous, deranged personal essays; and turning a pulpy SciFi short story of mine into a novel. This is proving rather difficult since I have a day job, a spouse, and a daughter who is just shy of two years old.
What has had the greatest influence on your work?
I draw heavily upon the pain I have felt, and the surreal experiences I have had, as a result of various and sundry addictions, bouts of severe depression, and failed relationships. And I have been heavily influenced in my approach to writing by particular books and films. Among my favorite books, for vastly different reasons, are Junky, The Bell Jar, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Running With Scissors, and On The Road. Among my favorite films are Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, León (The Professional), Bad Lieutenant, Natural Born Killers, and Silence of the Lambs.
What is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
The greatest misconception about my work is that I don’t take the suffering of other people seriously because I make light of my own suffering in what I write. To unimaginative readers, I seem to lack empathy, when – in fact – I have a great deal of empathy. The greatest misconception about me is that I’m a total asshole. I project assholishness as a defense mechanism, but it’s easy to reduce me to a quivering, tearful mass if you know which buttons to push.
What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
The greatest strength of writing is that language is so malleable you can do anything with it you desire. The weakness of writing is that so few people read anything at all, let alone what I write.
How has technology impacted upon the work you do?
The existence of the internet has allowed me to develop a small readership as opposed to no readership. I can get feedback, and validation, from a wide range of people even though I have yet to experience anything that could even remotely be described as “success.”
What’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Writers may be solitary in nature, but writing is an interactive endeavor. Remember your intended audience when you write. Otherwise, you can descend into navel-gazing that is of interest to no one outside of your own skull.
Where can we find you online?
What are you reading at the moment?
Augusten Burroughs’ A Wolf at the Table. He is by no means a great writer, but the way in which he was able to turn horrendous experiences into books, rather than just killing himself amidst his despair, resonates with me.
What are you listening to at the moment?
My iPod has three playlists on it at the moment, culled from various albums by Beck, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson.
Anything else we should know?
I have never before been interviewed in my “Gil A. Waters” incarnation.