Interview with Bill Gralnick

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I worked for 33 years for an organization I had never heard of when I applied for the job. It turned out spectacularly. I had never heard of "Smashwords," which I still want to call "Smashmouth" (you can take the boy out of Brooklyn....) until I'd done some research. I trust this second relationship starting with no knowledge even of the existence of the organization will turn out just as spectacularly.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing, particularly the kind I do, allows me to share a variety of experiences and observations from the cat-bird's seat I've had in life, a seat I scramble up to quite often for escape. Writing therefore, truth be told, is also therapy. You'll understand if you read my profile... The temporal joy is the writing itself. The spiritual joy is in the response. A comment, kind or not, means I have touched someone. That is a wonderful feeling, that my words meant enough to someone that they took the time to respond.
What are you working on next?
"Mirth, Wind and Ire" is only about a third of the columns and stories I've written and published over the years. It will be followed by.....hang on to your hats...."More Mirth Wind and Ire." Next will come the "Great War of the Itchy Balls." Not what you think, it will be the "Waldorf Court" years of my life. "George Washington Didn't Sleep Here Either" will cover the foibles of the university years. I will end with,"The Bundle." A story about becoming the court ordered custodian of a four month old infant. Taken together these writing will represent an out-of-order autobiography, which is sort of how life is, isn't it--out of order?
Who are your favorite authors?
I have many favorite authors that run a wide gamut of reading styles say from Dostoevsky to Charles Schultz. The one I want to point to here is Stephen King. Until he began publishing faster than I could read, there was a time when I had read everything he wrote. He's swamped me by now. When King is at his best, he is as interesting, creative, funny, and stylistically diverse an author as I've ever read. He is a master word smith. When he had his almost life-ending accident he wrote a book, "On Writing" that was an epiphany to me. My brother of blessed memory, was teaching journalism at Columbia at the time. I told him, throw out whatever you're using as a text and have your students read King's, "On Writing." "It's all they need."
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
All those people around the world who can't, some of whom don't even have a bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If my wife were answering this she'd say, "watching any sport on television that has a ball in it." That's not quite true. Nor is it a lie. We watch a bunch of shows together, "House of Cards," "Madam Secretary," some of the CSI's, and of course HGTV where the Tiny Houses provide endless fascination. I am as devoted to my dog as he is to me. Although the grandchildren are in another state, I try my best to equal the devotion that goes to the dog with my devotion to them. I like to garden. I am since age 8 a tropical fish hobbyist,I teach and am involved in community activities. I could easily do less, but then we go back to the "get out of bed" question. As long as I can do that, I've got to follow it with something meaningful otherwise there's no sense to any of it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
For reasons long forgotten, I was watching an episode of Ozzie and Harriett. For those of you who came after....Ozzie and Harriett was to TV as Dick and Jane books were to children's literature. They presented a perfect life that only had bumps in it to show that they could easily be overcome with a little "faith, hope and charity." Here we go--again--back to the bed thing. The next day I got out of bed raging about what a misrepresentation of real life that was. I knocked about 1,200 words and sent it to Newsday Lo and behold there it was in the newspaper replete with cartoon representation! It hit a nerve. Lots of letters to the editors. I was hooked.
What is your writing process?
A preacher friend told me one day that I had "a gift" for writing and that it was what the Lord had in mind for me. Part of that gift is knowing what I can write well and what I can't. Hence I will never write a novel--or a musical score. The gift has several parts. First I find it easy to identify issues that people want to read about. Secondly once I hit upon a subject, within hours, sometimes, minutes the idea comes together in my head. When I set "pen to paper," finger to keyboard, it mostly flows out and flows out in the right order. I've never had writer's block.
Don't hate me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I started with Peter Rabbit, but the first book(s) that had a real impact on me were The Hobbit and then The Trilogy. I was probably a sophomore in high school when I discovered them. I started going to bed early, hiding a flashlight in my room, and reading under the covers until I could no longer support my eyelids. I learned that one didn't read a book good, that a good book could be watched, watched of course inside one's head. I learned that one could learn about near and far-away places and that each page was a door that beckoned one to walk through it. Alice in Wonderland had the same impact as did many others after.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a brother in law in the technical publishing business. He has a graphic artist. I don't have to approach cover design.
Don't hate me.
Published 2016-11-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

More Mirth Wind & Ire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,790. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2017. Categories: Essay » Political, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Social policy
More Mirth, Wind & Ire is the sequel to Mirth, Wind, and Ire. It expands the number of America's unresolved social and political problems. issues that stretch back as three or four decades. The essays are grouped by title subject, not topic subjects. The book offers the to the reader, or book club, a discussion guide for how to discuss and approach resolve issues locally.
Mirth, Wind, and Ire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,070. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2016. Categories: Essay » Political, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Democracy
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Mirth, Wind, and Ire is a book of essays on the contemporary social and political scene--with a bit of humor thrown in. An easy read, using case studies, that is engaging yet challenging, the reader travels through five sections exploring: the world around us, religion, intergroup issues, topics from the international scene, and of course politics. Like Levy's Bread says, "Try It, You'll Like It"