Monday, April 29, 2019

Dave Patterson

Dave Patterson is an award-winning writer, musician and high school English teacher. He received his MA in English from the Bread Loaf School of English and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program.

His new novel is Soon the Light Will Be Perfect.

Recently I asked Patterson about what he was reading. His reply:
I like to have a balance of fiction, nonfiction, and craft books going at all times--leaning harder on fiction.

I just finished up Wildlife by Richard Ford. I’m a huge Ford fan. Like a zealot. The short story collection, Rock Springs, and the novel, The Sportswriter, were game changers for me in my twenties. Paul Dano recently co-wrote and directed a film adaptation of Ford’s 1990 novel. I had the opportunity to watch the film and hear Ford discuss the process of writing Wildlife and seeing it turned into a movie. It was fascinating. I immediately went out and bought a fresh copy of the novel. It’s brilliant. Wildlife is taut, as alive as a forest fire.

I’m also reading Naked by David Sedaris. I know. I know. You’re thinking, Shouldn’t you have read that book a long time ago? Absolutely. But somehow I skipped over this collection of essays. Sedaris delivers like no other. He’s a true gift. His craft is so refined it almost seems invisible. I love trying to parse out why one of his essays works so well. On approaching Sedaris, I have to first let an essay seduce me with its mystical spell--just enjoy the ride--then I step back and start teasing out the craft.

For my writing book, I’ve been letting Several Short Sentences About Writing work over my mind. What a book. It’s dismantling my preconceptions about writing in a beautiful way. Verlyn Klinkenborg has constructed the book in a mash-up of free verse meets craft essay. I highly recommend it to anyone obsessed with writing sentences.
Visit Dave Patterson's website.

My Book, The Movie: Soon the Light Will Be Perfect.

--Marshal Zeringue