The Creative Writing Interviews form a series of interviews with contributors to our Creative Writing Studies list. Find out about their work and approach towards writing.
Frances Haynes writes: Michael G. Cornelius is the author/editor of fourteen books, and a contributor to our forthcoming publication, Teaching Creative Writing . You can find him online at http://michaelgcornelius.blogspot.com
Michael, what do you write?
Fiction-wise, I write mostly speculative fiction. Magical realism is, in my view, the best kind of reality. I write a lot of scholarly work and enjoy the balance between the two.
Whom do you write for?
I’m not sure. It’s not a question I really think about too much when I’m in process. Audience, of course – one always needs to consider audience, no matter what is being written. But I don’t think your question is truly referring to audience. If I was being somewhat flip, I could say that I write for the voices in my head that demand exorcising on the page, but I fear that, in this format, that might not come across as sane as I’d like it to. In all earnestness, though, I become wrapped up in an idea, in a character’s voice in my imagination, and the only way to get it out is to commit it to the page – leaving an empty space, naturally, for another voice to come in. So perhaps I write for that momentarily blank space.
What achievement are you most proud of as a writer?
It was a thrill to be a finalist for the Lambda Literary Prize a few years back (losing sucked, but it was a thrill to be nominated.)
What involvement do you have / have you had with creative writing as a university/college subject/discipline?
I teach most of the creative writing courses in the English Department at Wilson College, where I am chair of the department as well. It is the most invigorating thing in the world, to work with young adults just starting their journey toward finding their own voice — it constantly renews my own energies for creative expression. And it pays the bills.
What is your ambition as a writer?
To get better. To keep improving my craft. In the end, that’s what really keeps me coming back to that blank screen.