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Friday Night Reads: Will Clattenburg

This week I'll be hosting my twenty-second #FriNightReads! It's where I read the first chapter from an indie author, live on my author Facebook page. This Friday I'll be live-reading from Will Clattenburg's The Art of Fugue. It's a first-hand perspective of modernity's banality and wonder. Now, here's more from this week's indie author...

How did you first start writing?

I first started writing in 2nd grade. I had one of those journals with the very wide lines and I pretended to be a reporter. One of my top stories was about a 4-inch snail spotted on the lower school playground. I’ve been writing ever since—not always writing well, but writing. Up until middle school, I had a school desk that my parents set up for me in a corner of our upstairs hall. I would store all my papers and pencils inside the desk and for me that was just the perfect place. I probably spent hours sitting there thinking up stories and drawing pictures.

Eventually, I outgrew that desk and I started getting more serious about what was I writing. I went through my own little apprenticeship trying my best to copy favorite writers. I didn’t always realize I was copying them at the time. It took me a lot of phases to discover (or rediscover) my own voice. This was not an easy process for me. So much of my writing just went down the drain, it wasn’t any good. I showed some to friends and they were like “eh.” But through it all, I always told myself “I’m going to be a writer.” Even when I wasn’t writing, when I was in college for instance, just running around and reading 800-page books in 1 week, or whatever they had me doing, I still clung to that life’s goal. Even when I wrote badly… I kept working, scribbling down thoughts and dreams and overheard funny conversations. That’s the training I had, until I applied for an MFA which was very beneficial—it guided me a lot more.

Why do you love it?

Sometimes when I’m writing it can be effortless and very nice, and sometimes it feels like a horrible task with no good aspects. Overall though I couldn’t imagine not writing. I’ve always loved to create other worlds and pretend to be other people. As a kid, I used to “write” plays with my cousins every time we saw each other. We probably wrote at least 20 or 30 plays, that we performed for our families. I wonder what happened to them?! They were very original and I think they contain the original germ of my sense of humor, for whatever that’s worth.

So yes for me, writing is about creating worlds and exploring different minds. There’s something very satisfying about that. Often, I imagine a predicament and that’s all it takes to get writing. I want to know how exactly a person would deal with such-and-such a problem, what they would say, how they would act. Maybe what mistakes they’d make. Other times, writing for me is like a confession. People getting to tell their story. Obviously, some readers will tell me, “Yes, I remember that happening to you… Isn’t this like a true story?” But fiction isn’t autobiography. Even when I’m writing about my experiences something changes when I’m writing, the end product isn’t my own life. And I love that about writing. I don’t want to talk about myself and write stories that are just thinly veiled self-portraits. Writing allows you to move outside yourself. It gives you a more open mind, which we could all use nowadays.

More on Will:

Will Clattenburg is the author of The Art of Fugue (UnCollected Press, 2020). His writing has appeared in many publications, most recently Crack the Spine’s The Year Anthology (2019), Toho Journal, NUNUM, and Wraparound South. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University and a BA in English from Yale. He has taught in public schools for ten years, first in Brooklyn, New York as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows and now in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he lives.

For more on Will's The Art of Fugue, check out

#FriNightReads is a collaborative live-read author Ryan P Freeman hosts each Friday at Titlewave Books. The goal is to help bring talented indie authors into the spotlight where they can enjoy the exposure and delight they deserve. To watch this celebration of talented indie authors, simply pop over to Ryan's author Facebook, Friday nights at 7p MT.

Want to have your own book read on the show or help sponsor #FriNightReads?

- Just message me, Ryan P Freeman, HERE!


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