Interview With Open Heart Publishing
In 2011 Bill’s short story “The Santa Fix” appeared in the Open Heart Publishing anthology An Honest Lie, Volume 3: Justifiable Hypocrisy. The book was recently placed on a production hold and isn’t currently available for sale, but the publisher interviewed Bill prior to publication. Here’s that interview:
Hello again! Today we are featuring a lively interview with Bill McCurry, who brings to An Honest Lie his short story, “The Santa Fix.” You will find Bill’s humor uniquely fascinating, his comedy improve intriguing, and his ideals communicating. So, let’s go to the interview. Hope you enjoy this as much as I have! Take it away Bill!
Deborah: I understand you are not a newcomer to the world of writing. Can you tell us why you decided to submit your work to An Honest Lie?
Bill: When I read the Volume 1 subtitle “Encouraging the Delinquency of Your Inner Child” I was immediately hooked. It projects a wonderful message of play and breaking boundaries in an adult world. Then the Volume 3 focus, “Justifiable Hypocrisy,” sucked me in because I deal with more and more ambiguity in my life as I get older, and I see others dealing with it too. The quality of the previous volumes clinched it for me.
Deborah: We are so happy you have found OHP as a home for your work! What was your inspiration for “The Santa Fix”?
Bill: I wanted to write a Christmas story that both children and adults could enjoy, and in my mind that meant a story about belief and faith. I realized that Santa was fictional when I was quite small, so putting Santa and a child together in a pressure cooker situation resonated with me.
Deborah: This sounds like turning a life experience around worked well for you! Have any of your stories been ideas from dreams?
Bill: When I was in high school I wrote a short story based on one of my dreams. It was awful. I remember it had something to do with a girl I liked, and I think there was a shovel in it. That scared me away from using dreams as source material.
Deborah: I’m sure some authors can certainly relate to this! Tell us, what does your muse look like?
Bill: Cute and fairy-like. Here’s a photo of my wife Kathleen.
Deborah: Let me ask this, as a performer of improv comedy, would you give us one of your funniest lines?
Bill: When told to explain why sex with me was like a shoe, I said, “Sex with me is like a shoe because I’m all tied up and there’s gum on my bottom.”
Deborah: What a great answer while thinking on your feet! However, I’m not so sure how long it’s going to take to remove that visual! How would you describe yourself in 7 words or less?
Bill: Gives three answers to a yes/no question.
Deborah: Oh, you took the easy way out! I’ll let you get by with just this one! Do you consider yourself to be perfect? (please elaborate … no gory details or anything, just something more than a simple yes or no).
Bill: Any being that sweats and farts is not perfect. I’ll let you guess whether I qualify for perfection.
Deborah: I really didn’t expect that answer so I‘m truly am not going to go there! (Laughing!) Here’s one, what has been the most profound moment in your life so far?
Bill: Oddly, this came when I was three years old. Some disaster had occurred, affecting many people. A lot of people around me were crying. I quite clearly remember looking at them crying and realizing that other people were real in the same way that I was.
Deborah: What an amazing impact to realize this at the age of three! I’ve got to ask you, have you ever participated in a Sumo match?
Bill: In fact I have! It was years ago at Oktoberfest in Fort Worth. Every Oktoberfest has to have Sumo wrestling, you know. I had to wear an enormous, padded Sumo suit, which I’m sure looked rather fetching on me. It was a lot of fun, even though I lost.
Deborah: That’s a much better and hysterical visual! Saved by a new visual! Sorry you lost the match! What was the most exciting part of working on An Honest Lie, and what was the most frustrating part?
Bill: Of course it was exciting to get the call telling me my story had been accepted, but I guess that’s not exactly part of working on An Honest Lie. I found it exciting to work with the editors prior to publication and to see that process polish the story. The most frustrating part was working on the title—I’m terrible with titles!
Deborah: Ah, the curse of “the title” syndrome! We all know that one! And what do you feel about quantum mechanical theories involving cats in boxes or rather sharp razors?
Bill: I would love to have had lunch with Schrödinger. This is a marvelously subtle way of looking at the universe around us. I understand that the point of perception must be external, otherwise the question of the cat’s existence is no longer a question. But I’ll admit that I really want to be in the box.
Deborah: So very true, great answer! Lunch with Schrödinger would certainly be entertaining! Have you been reading up on vacuum fluctuation?
Bill: Unfortunately, I have not. It was next on my list, but I had to clean out the garage last weekend.
Deborah: Sure, I just bet it was the very next item! Great answer! Would you tell us a funny or embarrassing childhood story?
Bill: When I was about four years old I heard a song that I just loved. It was called “Long Tall Texan,” and it had lyrics along the lines of, “I’m a long, tall Texan / I ride a big, white horse.” I would put on my cowboy hat, sing this song, and dance around. My parents had a party one night, and I suppose that made me feel like singing this song. But I was embarrassed by all the people I didn’t know, so I went into the kitchen and stood beside the refrigerator to sing. Every four year old knows that when you stand beside a refrigerator no one can see or hear you. After some period of singing and dancing, which I was enjoying quite a lot, I looked up and saw 20 people peering around the corner of the refrigerator at me, my parents included. I stopped, and all of them laughed as if it would save their souls. No mortification I’ve ever experienced has topped that.
Deborah: What a priceless story! A little secret here, we’ve all been caught like that and yes embarrassed for years! “A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends,” Friedrich Nietzsche quoted. How does this relate to you?
Bill: My friends support my writing efforts in a lot of ways. They help me understand how other people love, and fight, and work for and against one another. They’re a link between me and the pool of humanity. Even though writing is a solitary activity, a written work is about relationships. I live in the small world of my experiences, and my friends let me see into the huge world of their collective experiences. As smart as I may think I am, without the wisdom and foolishness of my friends, my work would be greatly diminished.
Deborah: Very well said. With that in mind, what is, in your opinion, the more important discovery of humankind … plumbing or the written word?
Bill: By far the more important discovery is the written word. Without it, every generation would have to invent plumbing for itself. Writing has allowed consistency of knowledge over time, and it has let men increase the body of knowledge with each generation. Plumbing saves lives and allows cities to grow, but writing makes so much more possible.
Deborah: Okay, last question, if you were a baseball, football or hockey puck (you pick one) and someone hit you, where would you go?
Bill: I’d be fouled back into the press box. It would give them something to talk about.