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Friday, May 31, 2013

Take Ten with Coffee and Critique Member Nick Nixon

I'm thrilled and honored to share my recent interview with Coffee and Critique member extraordinaire, Nick Nixon.

Nick is a gifted writer and a local Country Music legend, with a 1970s chart-topping album and a long list of Billboard singles.

Nick's thoughtful and candid critiques and his unique and haunting writing voice make him a cherished member of Coffee and Critique.

Due to his health he hasn't been able to grace our critique group table at the Rendezvous Café for several months, but he keeps in touch through e-mails and is always with us in spirit.

The photo above is of Nick Nixon with Donna Volkenannt (that's me) and Lou Turner at a tribute for Nick last fall.

Nick's memoir, "Dreams Worked Magic," is available on his website and from his publisher, High Hill Press.

The following are my "take ten" interview questions and Nick's answers, along with his own bonus question and answer.

1. What inspired you to become a writer? 

Nick: Aspiring young writer Jerry Tucker was a friend of mine, we lived in the same apartment building.  He wanted to be the next Ernest Hemingway.  We each had jobs, but for quite a while neither could afford a television.  Occasionally, to pass the time, he would read his Hemingway efforts, some were good.  I even penciled a few things of my own but was reluctant to share them for fear he'd find them simple.

As far as my writing that's the way it went for the next 25 years.  Then one day the idea came to me again when another friend of mine, Nick Barry, encouraged me to contact local writing groups. I joined Coffee and Critique and Saturday Writers, and they soon gave me the confidence I needed to write freely.  I showed some of my pieces to an older Jerry Tucker and he in turn encouraged me as well.

2. What is your writing specialty? 
Nick: Personal essays, short stories, and memoirs.

3. How would you describe your writing process? 
Nick: When the mood strikes.

4. Whats the best part about being a writer?  The worst part?
Nick: The best is the opportunity to be creative.   The worst: Trying to type, I dont like the typing.

5. What the best writing advice youve received?  The worst?
Nick: The best is write the way you talk.  Worry about the spelling later.  The worst:  Someone told me I needed an education first.

6. Which books on writing can you recommend for other writers? 
Nick: I dont know.

7. How has belonging to Coffee & Critique effected you as a writer? 
Nick: They gave me the confidence I needed to write freely.

8. Which writing awards mean the most to you? 
Nick: My first writing award meant the most. “July the Wonder Dog" won first place in a Saturday Writers short story contest.

9. What three words best describe you? 
Nick: Risk taker, entertainer, humorous.

10, What is your writing dream? 
Nick: Id like to interview Abraham Lincoln and write for the Lone Ranger. I would ask Abe how many times he re-wrote the Gettysburg Address, and did he feel confident about its content.

And, finally, Nick came up with his own bonus question: 
Nick: How long would you like to live?  Nick: As long as it takes to write the Nick Nixon memoirs.
There's not much I can add to Nick's answers, except to say, isn't he amazing!


Sioux said...

Donna--Nick hates the typing part...I hate the "writing" part. I wish I could just sit there at my computer and--automatically--the words would flow out.

You're right. This was an entertaining interview to read.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks, Sioux.
Nick is one of a kind.

Mary Horner said...

Great interview!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks, Mary.

Linda O'Connell said...

Great interview with a legend.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks, Linda. Nick is one of a kind.

Dianna Graveman said...

Thanks for sharing this interview, Donna. I've been lucky to meet Nick a few times and always enjoy learning more about how he's doing these days. He's sure had some interesting experiences!

Marcia G. said...

Nick is one of the most multi-talented wordsmiths I've ever known. It's his spirit of candor, humility, and genuine-ness, with his encouraging attitude that strikes home. He's helpful but not a know-it-all. He is always striving to learn, despite his already successful career. Our group always has a treat when he reads or critiques.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Dianna,
You're right about his interesting life.

Hi Marcia,
Ditto ;-)

K9friend said...

Nick is a wonderful, talented, and generous person. Our little music "group" got to play with him once and we were blown away by his skill, especially when he played a little tune he had just written that morning. Yep, you heard me. THAT MORNING! It sounded like something that any ordinary person would have spent months on.

Critter Alley

Jennifer Shirk said...

Fun interview!!