Getting to know the Eclectic – Interview with author Art Rosch!
Today I have Art Rosch with me. He’s an author with a diverse range of interests. Check out our exclusive interview where we talk about his book “The Road Has Eyes”, his photography, interesting blog, and a lot more!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get on the ‘creative’ road?
I’m from the baby boom generation. Growing up, I was one of those odd, imaginative boys who spent the school day staring out the window. I wasn’t a great student. I was always building fantasies in my mind. I remember learning to read in kindergarten in a single explosive moment. Aha! It burst upon me, this understanding of the connection between letters and sounds. Of course I got things wrong: I pronounced the word “mosquito” as Mose-kweet-o. The more I read, the more I began to understand the exceptions to the rules of the English language. I may have been a poor student, but I was reading at the level of a fifth grader.
I began my creative life with an interest in music. By the time I was fifteen, I was playing jazz drums and working with both jazz and rhythm and blues groups. This was in St. Louis. I had acquired a taste for Avant-garde jazz, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman. I left home in the summer of my high school graduation and journeyed to New York City. I met Ornette Coleman and did odd jobs for him and learned a few things about music. I was in way over my head. I was sixteen, for god’s sake!
When did you start writing?
I started writing poetry at fifteen, when I fell for a girl who liked poets. Needless to say, she drove me completely crazy but that’s our job, right? Poets are supposed to be crazy and romantic. No woman has since caused me such pain. But I wound up liking poetry more than I liked the girl.
College was a joke for me. I tried going to several schools but was always sucked into the local music and literary scene. I wound up in Detroit, where I was house drummer for the Artist’s Workshop. After Detroit I headed for the San Francisco area, and that’s where I’ve remained. I’ve made my living as a free-lance everything.
Other authors who’ve influenced your work? What can you tell us about your writing style?
When I was no more than eight years old, I was reading historical novels. Then I veered into science fiction. It was the classic era for sci-fi. Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick were publishing books. One particular writer has been a lasting influence on me: Jack Vance. He’s overlooked by a lot of people, but he is a master story-teller and his way with the sheer colors of the worlds he creates is hypnotic. My epic sci-fi novel, THE GODS OF THE GIFT shows the influence of Vance. You can read the first few chapters here: The Gods Of The Gift.
I tend to take decades to write novels. I can’t stop revising. I’ve written five novels and am engaged in writing a series that will encompass three books. I’ve finished the first draft of Book One. It’s an alternate-world story with a working title, THE SHADOW STORM.
What can you tell us about ‘The Road Has Eyes‘. What kind of readers will it enjoy it?
My partner and I have lived in a 38 foot motor coach for nearly ten years. The process of changing from house to RV was both terrifying and exhilarating. The substance of this transformation is shared in my memoir, The Road Has Eyes – A Relationship, an RV and a Wild Ride through Indian Country.
It’s now out as an e-book and is available at no charge. The book will appeal to readers who are interested in psychotherapy, relationships, Native American lore, goofy travel disasters and critical essays on American pop culture.
My favorite chapter is called DISNEYLAND AS HELL. In Florida we were adopted by a well-off Canadian family and we drove all the way west on I-10 just a few weeks after Katrina. We saw a lot of Katrina’s devastation. We drove on ruined highways and saw the infamous white-trailer refugee camps. Redneck security guards gave the whole thing a Fascist taste at the back of the throat. Were these people refugees or prisoners?
As we got towards California, our friends invited us to be their guests at Disneyland. I’d never been before, so I thought it would be a good experience. I didn’t know how Disneyland would bring out the infantile compulsive in our host and I certainly didn’t anticipate how much we would suffer in order to be polite and appropriately grateful. I got to vent all this rage as I wrote the story. It’s funny and it has bite. That’s my favorite kind of writing: the stuff that makes you both laugh and cry.
The Road Has Eyes – A Relationship, an RV and a Wild Ride through Indian Country will entertain you and surprise you.
You also run a blog, as well as a YouTube channel. What can you tell us about them?
That would be the one called WRITE OUT OF MY HEAD. There are 257 posts on that blog and I’m proud of the ideas, the spoofs, scams and outrageous photos that are presented. It’s really a magazine, or a blog-a-zine that features my own writing, photography and music.
I’m also proud of the blog’s honesty. I reveal myself. I touch on subjects that many people share: body image, for instance. My most recent post is called “Notes on Feeling Fat”. There are also a lot of animal stories. That would be inevitable, as my partner is a “pet psychic”, though we don’t much care for that term. We prefer “animal empath” but that lacks the marketing “Zing” of the other term. Oh well…it’s a fact that my girl Fox has something that may be called Supernatural. Fox’s gifts were crucial in saving us from disaster many times in The Road Has Eyes.
I have a Youtube channel, where I’ve posted a slide show about the book. That’s at THE ROAD HAS EYES SLIDESHOW, Art Rosch Books And Music Youtube. You can listen to the rest of my CD, OUT OF THIS WORLD by going to Art Rosch Books And Music at Art Rosch Books And Music.
You’re also a photographer. How’s your journey been as a man of many talents?
If I were to sum myself up, it would be to say that I wear a lot of hats. I’m passionate about music, but as I get older I’m drawn to writing as a practical solution to the problems of ageing. Rather than dragging around a two hundred pound set of drums, all I need is a laptop or a tablet and I’m ready to go.
My writing occupies my mind continuously. If I develop compelling characters, half the battle is over. With the characters in charge of the story, it begins to tell itself. My photography has no doubt made more money for me than any of my other media. I’ve sold articles to magazines like Shutterbug and I’ve had three of my photos become magazine covers. I published a centerfold in Cat Fancy Magazine!
I am fascinated with nocturnal photography, with the mystery and challenge of taking long exposures of landscapes and the blazing night sky. I’m devastated by the spread of light pollution. It’s a tragedy that many billions of people will never see The Milky Way or even know that it exists. When I began sky photography in the 90’s I needed elaborate equipment to compensate for the earth’s rotation. A good exposure required eight or ten minutes. Now, the digital cameras have evolved to such a point that tracking equipment is no longer required. Twenty of thirty seconds of exposure, taken from a place far from city lights, is sufficient to show the sky in all its glory.
If I were an artist with a clear niche, I would probably enjoy a larger audience. I am eclectic. I’m interested in everything. My Facebook fan page reflects the variety of my enthusiasms. I call it CONFESSIONS OF A CREATIVE MAN.
Any upcoming works we should know about?
I’m anticipating the publication of my autobiographical novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN. But first comes the children’s book. I’m keeping the title a secret. I believe that children’s books are a good market and I’ve got to make money somehow.
Right? My dad is 92. He’s the only family I’ve got left. He’s proud of me but he’s not going to leave me a fortune. I’ll have to earn my way. Such is the fate of artists.
You can get to know more about Art Rosch by visiting his blog.
Have you read works by Art Rosch yet? Let us know.
Farid has a Masters in Psychology and an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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