Tag Archives: Jerad W. Alexander

Jered W. Alexander – Part III

jerad 5Welcome back to Three by Five for the third and final installment of an interview with Jerad Alexander.

VAH: Jerad, when the blank page stares back at you, what gets you over writers block?

JWA: I rarely have a moment when I’m at a loss of words when writing. If I do get to that point, however, I’ll typically stop and go right to work on something else, and then take another look at what has jammed me up and see if I have unraveled any of it. Considering my need to be writing… if that piece doesn’t want to cooperate, then another piece will.

VAH: That’s a very effective redirection. Not giving in to the blank page but working on something else. How do you then track what you send out for consideration and keep up with the results of your submissions?

JWA: Along with sites that use Submittable, I track everything with Excel spreadsheets. It seems to work great!

VAH: Jerad, what little known fact about you will amaze and or amuse?

JWA:     When Anthrax was delivered to the Capitol Hill mail facility and Longworth Hall just down from Congress, I was a sample gatherer and decontamination team member. While in Longworth Hall, which was a ghost town akin to The Andromeda Strain, a friend of mine smuggled out individually wrapped cigars from a senator aide’s office. We decontaminated them and my friends and I shared them in the shade of the capitol building.

JWE:     Following a horrible fad at the time, I did the “Harlem Shake” with a full car of friends at a stoplight here in Atlanta at around 2:30 am. Drinks may or may not have been involved. The only regret I have is I did not have my horse mask at the time. Anything to expand on the already-stunned and horrified expressions on the older couple in the car next to us…

VAH: Jerad, thank you for your service and welcome home.

Do you have a favorite, inspiring quotation?

JWA: I’ll give you two that have struck me of late:

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”  – Hunter Thompson

“All you have to do is write the one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

VAH: Both excellent touchstones for any writer. Now, drawing our conversation to a close, what are three random non-writing related facts about you?

JWE: I love German cars, specifically Audi and older-model BMW’s and Mercedes. I’d love to one day own a late 80’s 560SL.

While I like spring and summer, autumn is my favorite time of year. It feels like I come alive more in the fall than any time of the year.

I have a huge love and respect for the art and craft of standup comedy. It is a jealous craft, and if I could devote more time and energy to it, I’d love to give that a serious go. But… writing is jealous enough.

Jerad W. Alexander – thanks for the insights and words of encouragement and spending a little with with Three by Five.

Jerad W. Alexander is a writer and the associate editor of the upcoming literary journal The Blue Falcon Review, an annual collection of military fiction. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, was a finalist in the 2012 Serena McDonald Kennedy Prize for Fiction. His essay “On Our Next Stop in Modern War” was a finalist is the Narrative Magazine Spring 2013 Contest. From 1998 to 2006 he served as a U.S. Marine infantryman and combat correspondent, deploying to the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Since leaving the U.S. Marines he has earned a BA in English Literature from American Military University and is pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations at The George Washington University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, A Novella about Iraq, is available on Amazon.com. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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Jered W. Alexander – Part II

jerad 3VAH: Jerad, What got you to the point where you knew you were a writer?

JWA: I’m not sure I ever had an “awaking” of sorts. I’ve always written in one capacity or another. Up until the past decade I’ve always treated it like an appendage.

VAH: Best advice for emerging writers?

JWA: Write. Every. Day.

Ready. Good. Works.

There is no other way.

VAH:  What are your thoughts on the Master of Fine Arts in writing?

JWA: I do not have an MFA. While I can’t speak to the networking/work shopping side of an MFA program, and at the risk of criticizing something I don’t fully understand, I’m wondering if perhaps one could simply read and write on their own and get a good grip on the craft without laying out the cash for something that will more likely not guarantee a return, given the marketplace. That isn’t a slam on MFA programs specifically, but I suspect a lot of the work can be done off campus.

VAH: Jerad, I have a MFA and I’d agree with you. There’s something to be said about a couple dedicated years with a small cohort and I think you are right about doing some dedicated reading, writing and I’ll add, having a good writing group or community. Do you have a favorite conference or writing retreat or seminar.

JWA: Admittedly, I have not attended any writing conferences, retreats, or seminars. This is something I need to rectify.

VAH: Writers tend to also be readers – What books or authors keep you up at night because you don’t want to put them down?

JWA: Without a doubt, Cormac McCarthy.

VAH: That’s some good reading. Jerad, thanks for joining us here at Three by Five. The final installment of an interview with Jerad Alexander will publish here on the 30th.

Jerad W. Alexander is a writer and the associate editor of the upcoming literary journal The Blue Falcon Review, an annual collection of military fiction. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, was a finalist in the 2012 Serena McDonald Kennedy Prize for Fiction. His essay “On Our Next Stop in Modern War” was a finalist is the Narrative Magazine Spring 2013 Contest. From 1998 to 2006 he served as a U.S. Marine infantryman and combat correspondent, deploying to the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Since leaving the U.S. Marines he has earned a BA in English Literature from American Military University and is pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations at The George Washington University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, A Novella about Iraq, is available on Amazon.com. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Three by Five – Five questions answered by authors, artists and interesting people published on days that end in three.

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Jered W. Alexander – Part I

jerad 4VAH: Jerad, welcome to Three by Five, where emerging writers, authors and other interesting people share a little about their writing, work and lives. First up, please tell us why you write?

JWA:  I write because I have no choice. I don’t mean that in any forced-upon way, I just really feel like I must write. If I don’t, after a day or two I begin to feel unproductive and maybe even a little depressed or otherwise despondent. It’s almost weird… after a heavy writing jaunt I tend to feel a little tired, but really great, much like after a good workout. Aside from that, I write because I like a really good sentence and want to come up with the best I can. There is a positive challenge aspect to writing that gets overlooked a lot, I feel. It’s a personal challenge for me to come up with the best, most honest sentence possible. I think there is something about the creative written word that when done well can really put a hook in you and alter your worldview better than any television show or film or piece of artwork.

VAH: The power of the written word! Sounds like its intrinsic, a force within. What was that first expression of your drive to write? Your first story…?

JWA: My first story was about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain that I wrote in high school for a history class. Chamberlain was a Maine rhetoric and world religions professor who went off to serve for the Union in the Civil War. All I basically did was write a fictionalized account of his actions at Gettysburg. I’d always play around with paragraphs or short stories that I never finished, but I managed to pull that off on somehow. Though I received an A for the work, I couldn’t tell you if it was good or not… likely not.

VAH: What about literary characters? Do you have a favorite?

JWE: Some of my favorite literary characters include Nick Adams from Hemingway, Raoul Duke (which is more alter-ego than fictional) from Hunter Thompson, Henry Chinaski from the Bukowski novels, Robert E. Lee Prewitt and Milton Warden from From Here To Eternity, Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon. I’m sure I’m missing a couple hundred here…

VAH: Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a great example of a complex character. He’s one of my favorites and From Here to Eternity is one of my favorite novels (and movies). But if you were stranded on a deserted island, or snowed in at a deserted cabin with no power, what would you want to have with you?

JWE: Easy. I’d take the entire Twilight series and the entire Fifty Shades series. I figure there are at least three, if not four thousand pages of text between those two series. I can use a page or two a day as kindling to start a fire. Between the fire and the hot, nose-thumbing disregard and hatred I have for that brand of cheap, dubious literature I should be kept warm for days on end.

VAH: Well, there you go! A practical choice. Let’s be a little serious now, what was would you say has had the biggest influence on your development as a writer?

JWE: There are a couple of authors who’ve made an impact on my work. James Jones, Norman Mailer, and of course Hemingway are all big players, but I like 60’s and 70’s-era New Journalists as well. Journalists and memoirists like Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Joan Didion and others really put their hook in me when I was younger. I’m also a big fan of James Ellroy.

VAH: Thanks Jerad! Our readers are invited to return on the 23rd for more and a bonus day post on the 30th.

 

Jerad W. Alexander is a writer and the associate editor of the upcoming literary journal The Blue Falcon Review, an annual collection of military fiction. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, was a finalist in the 2012 Serena McDonald Kennedy Prize for Fiction. His essay “On Our Next Stop in Modern War” was a finalist is the Narrative Magazine Spring 2013 Contest. From 1998 to 2006 he served as a U.S. Marine infantryman and combat correspondent, deploying to the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Since leaving the U.S. Marines he has earned a BA in English Literature from American Military University and is pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations at The George Washington University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, A Novella about Iraq, is available on Amazon.com. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Three by Five – Five questions answered by authors, artists and interesting people published on days that end in three.

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