David Ebenbach, has kindly agreed to guest post about his inspiration for becoming a writer in honor of his newest release, Into The Wilderness.
About The Author:
Philadelphia, home of America’s first library, first art museum, first public school, and first zoo, along with his very first stories and poems – though those early efforts went on to become (deservedly) less famous than, for example, the zoo.
Since then David has lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Philadelphia again, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Ohio again, picking up some education (formal and otherwise) and more than a few stories along the way. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
In addition to his short-story collection Into the Wilderness (October 2012, Washington Writers’ Publishing House), David is the author of another book of short stories entitled Between Camelots (October 2005, University of Pittsburgh Press), and a non-fiction guide to creativity called The Artist’s Torah (forthcoming, Cascade Books). His poetry has appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Subtropics, and the Hayden's Ferry Review, among other places.
He has been awarded the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center; and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.
David currently teaches at Georgetown University and very happily lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son, both of whom are a marvel and an inspiration.
Trying Not to Be a Writer
The writer Julian Barnes famously once said, “It’s easy, after all, not to be a writer. Most people aren’t writers, and very little harm comes to them.” That’s a great quote, but let me tell you: I’ve tried to not be a writer, and I didn’t find it all that easy.
It happened in college. By then I’d been writing for as long as I could remember—stories, poems, essays, rambling, melodramatic journal entries—and I picked a college that had a reputation for training writers. Well, when I got there, I found that I didn’t like the Creative Writing department all that much—I was kind of hyper-sensitive about anything that looked to me like pretentiousness—and also that I liked the down-to-earth Psychology department a lot. I picked Psych for a major, and I wrote on the side. (I was working on a really terrible novel that maybe someone will discover one day and publish just to humiliate me.) I still hadn’t given up on writing, but it was a second-shift kind of thing.
Then, when it was time to move on from college, it seemed to make sense to keep going all the way with Psychology to a career. I found myself in grad school. And the demands of grad school were enormous; there was always more I should have been doing, never a feeling of having any free time. So this was the moment when I really had to make a choice: how could I allow writing even a second-shift spot in my life if I was going to meet my main academic responsibilities? If ever there was an opportunity to not be a writer, this was it.
And yet my program had this dangerous requirement; you had to take a handful of classes outside your area of specialization. You could take them in the Psychology department, of course (in a different area of Psychology), but you could also go outside the department. And so I registered for a fiction-writing class. I told my advisor something about how it would give me crucial skills to write better articles in our field, but I knew I was lying. I was taking the class because I loved stories and had to have them in my life. And just like with Psychology, there was always more work to do, but it turned out that, with writing, I didn’t mind that at all.
Well, momentum developed from there. I took that class; I started going to open-mic nights at coffee shops; I did an independent study with a Creative Writing professor; I wrote; I wrote; I wrote; at the suggestion of my teachers I finally applied for an MFA program, and I finished the two programs side by side. Every step of the way, writing demanded more of my attention, and each time I met the demand and was happy I did. The biggest thing I learned in those years was that, for me, the Barnes quote is exactly backward: For me, the only thing that’s easy is giving in to the urge to be a writer; everything else is hard. So I gave in, and very little harm has come to me.
Into The Wilderness:
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Georgina Graham, a savvy young Wall Street dealmaker in the hunt for a quick score, puts the recently divorced Dr. Nate Carmichael and his California biotech startup in her crosshairs. When the deal turns deadly a strangely beautiful detective investigates. A woman with a bizarre secret obsession, Detective Sam Mori has far more than a professional interest in the case.
“Guess What She Did” is an exceptionally fast-paced mystery—the pages just zip along. Its entertaining mix of irony, suspense, relationships and redemption will appeal to readers who enjoy poetic justice served up with a light hand and a wry smile.
Find Into The Wilderness Online:
Happy reading until next time!