I can’t remember exactly when I discovered James Watkins’ website, Hope and Humor, but I can tell you it is a gift that just keeps giving!
Not only is the man hilarious and vaguely resembles a good-natured leprechaun, but he inspires me! He has used his writing career as a way to approach taboo topics with humor, authenticity, and transparency. I’ve been privileged to sit in his seminars at writing conferences and used his book, Writing with Banana Peels: Principles, Practices, and Pratfalls of Writing with Humor, in my own college writing courses.
I bet you can imagine my excitement when he responded he’d be happy to answer 3 Simple Questions about Writing! It was like getting to sit down with a mentor and hero for dinner… and I hope you’ll head over to his web page to get to know him for yourself!
With no further ado, 3 Simple Questions:
1. What’s the grossest thing you’ve experienced as a writer? “Probably drinking a Zambian drink nicknamed “Chew If Ya Wanna.” It’s made of corn meal, bark and vinegar. I was reporting on the AIDS/HIV crisis there for World Hope. The things you do for a story! (Three weeks of Indian food while teaching writing in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Dehradun ranks right up there as well.)
2. What’s the sweetest thing you’ve experienced as a writer? “An email from a distraught woman writing, ‘Your article [on suicide] saved my life tonight.’ Any time anyone writes that they’re been eternally changed by something I wrote is a sweet moment!”
3. What’s the most humbling thing you’ve experienced as a writer? “Just one? Probably sitting next to Frank Peretti at an autograph party in Seattle. He had a line back to Nebraska and was frantically scribbling “Frank” in his books. I had one or two in line at a time, so was writing little essays in the book: “Thank you for standing in my line so I don’t look like a complete loser. Oh, here comes someone else, so you can leave now. 3 John 2, Jim.'”
Bonus: What post do you think represents your writing best? “Hmmm? Maybe a piece I wrote when I was a weekly (weakly) columnist for three newspapers: http://www.jameswatkins.com/intolerance.htm”
Now’s your chance to start stalking James Watkins, the author, speaker, and threat to society yourself!
Have you seen the other 3 Simple Questions respondents? Don’t miss them!