Alex Albright Interview – Part-Two 2-24-15

2015 Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition

March 21, 2015 8:30am to 6pm

The Turnage Theatre

150 W. Main Street, Washington, NC 27889

Hello again. We hope you’ve had a chance to read part-one of our interview with ECU- Creative Writing-Nonfiction Professor, Alex Albright this past Sunday. Today we’re presenting part two of that interview. And remember, Professor Albright will be presenting an afternoon workshop, “More than the Facts: How Creative Nonfiction Transforms What Happened,” at 2:00pm, this session should help you understand how to effectively incorporate this type of writing into your own works.

Now, let’s begin part two of our interview with Professor Alex Albright:
Alex Albright photo  2015




Alex Albright, Creative Writing, Nonfiction professor ECU
(photo by Tom Whelan)
Q. What do you say to writers without a traditional background/training in the art of writing?

     A. Editors generally don’t care about your background or training. What they want is a compelling story told well. This isn’t to say you can get away with grammatical illiteracy–that’s a different kind of training, and essential. But people who read a lot are training themselves for their craft, just as those who read their own work aloud before turning it loose are honing their craft even as they breathe and then speak the words they’ve written. There’s certainly no need for an MFA or any kind of advanced college degree to get published–which isn’t to say at all that the time to write (and the writing community) afforded by such course work isn’t invaluable.

Q. Do you ever experience writer’s block, and (if so) how do you conquer it?

     A. When the writing stalls, as invariably it must, I try to get back to research, sometimes on a different subject. Or else wash dishes or clean my study.

Q. If you were to begin your writing career over, would you do it differently? If so, how?

     A. I still have my student ID from the University of Iowa, where I intended to go for an MFA in 1973. So I have over the years thought often of how things might have been different had I gotten there. But invariably, I wind up back to the same solid core belief: the journey that got me here, today, has been the best one for me to travel.

Q. Is there a current work in progress or a recent work you would like to comment on?

     A. I spent years working on my Navy band history book, but almost as soon as it was published I started to realize that very little was known about the over 100 black Navy bands that had served in World War II. As a result, I’ve started a series of webpages dedicated to these bands [] in an attempt to document them all, individually, which seems a mammoth enough task that it can never be finished.

By Doris Schneider

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