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John R. Worsley

Nevermore, poem, Issue 36, September 1, 2016


John R. Worsley: I was raised in the Bay Area, upstate New York, and the Boston area, before going to Reed College in Portland, OR, and settling near there, where I live with my wife and stepdaughter (also writers!) and four dogs. The methodical, analytical way my mind works reflects the long line of engineers I descend from, but I have also always loved words and playing with them. When I was four I called my elbow my "ell bone" because my arm is ell shaped. Growing up I read constantly (200 books one summer for a library contest), engaged in creative word usement with my siblings (many nouns were verbed), and enjoyed writing essays in school. Despite an attempt to become a geophysicist, in college I wound up studying… words. Well, language anyway – Linguistics. After college I fell into a career in IT, but lurking in the background have always been those words I just can’t shake. I have dabbled with short poetry, long poetry, flash fiction, short stories, a novelette, a novella, and the beginning of a non-fiction book. I focus mostly on screenwriting now, and am currently working on a graphic novel script.

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Get to know John:

Birthday? Late Sept.
When did you start writing? Grade school. I believe I wrote my first poem around the age of ten.
When and what and where did you first get published? Around 2000 I had a regular feature in a short-lived zine, The Abyss, in Portland, OR, for which I wrote vignettes to illustrate goofy phobias I made up.
What themes do you like to write about? I am not a thematic writer (at least, not consciously). I write to entertain myself.
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? All of JRR Tolkien’s work, fiction and non-fiction, plus Humphrey Carpenter’s authorized biography of Tolkien and collection of his letters. The Why of it would fill an essay, if not a book, but I think it derives from the fact that Tolkien believed stories, and the worlds we create through them, are in a very meaningful sense real (or true). He also wrote exactly what resonated with him (and his children in some cases), and that is about all I find myself capable of.

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