An Author Profile with Richard Jarzynka, author of Blessed with Bipolar
What do you think makes a good writer?
Letting yourself go wild in your writing. A relentless unwillingness to settle for anything less than brutal emotional honesty – with yourself. Driving into the pain, bleeding a little, and winking at it with a knowing grin.
Favorite quote from a book?
“. . . it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.” – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
When and why did you begin writing?
I was 18 and had just given up a football scholarship to Georgia Tech. Without that dream, I was clueless about what to do next, so, naturally . . . I proceeded aimlessly to another college. My head was already filled with everything that I did not yet know to be bipolar. I was lost. I started listening to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan because I loved their story-telling, passion, and what seemed to be honesty. I tried to write like them to get the bipolar out of my head. It helped, but I still ended up on a psych ward.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Natalie Goldberg. She is the author of “Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.”
In it she offers these seven simple rules for writing: Keep your hand moving; Lose control; Be specific; Don’t think; Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar; You are free to write the worst junk in America; Go for the jugular.
It works for me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do most of my writing in the food court of a shopping mall. Something about that environment stimulates my brain. I think it has something to do with being surrounded by people that I don’t have to talk to.
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