Jeremiah O’Hagan is one of the most talented writers I have ever met. He reports for a small town newspaper and is a teacher of teenagers and a young man with an amazing theatrical presentation and way with words. Watch for him in the future. He will be famous one day. Go Jeremiah! Look for his first place prize winning piece “The Hymnal” in the newest 2012 print edition of the Bacopa Literary Review available for order after May 20th at http://www.writersalliance.org/bacopa.html
It is a pleasure to showcase this fabulous writer and poet. He doesn’t have a link or a blog as he’s a “bit old-fashioned” and urges us to not to “sell his books-give’em to someone who’ll read them.” Noble thoughts. Meet Jeremiah.
1. When and where do you write? Describe your writing space. Do you feel hooked to a main frame or can you write anywhere with pen and paper/laptop?
I’m disappointing in this regard. I have no witching hour, no mystical haunt or special chair. I do have two desks: one small wood desk in my apartment’s living room and one stand-up desk at work, a layout table leftover from the days the newspapers were typeset, razored and pasted up. So those are the places I write, usually, with computers, mostly. But I’ve written on bar napkins, beer coasters, reciepts, the backs of pay stubs, inside the covers of books and on a lot of Post-its. I texted an entire conclusion to myself. Once, over the course of a few weeks, I wrote paragraphs of an essay on different scraps of paper. Then I sat down with the pile and typed, pawing through the pieces to find the right sequence.
2. What are your main themes in your writing?
Humanity, and our rickety place in the big world. Pain and beauty and madness. The unsayable. Truths bigger than us. Goodness. Wrecked-ness and wretchedness and redemption. The power of stories, the importance of faith, a search for the white-hot blood-red black-and-blue core of these years and hours and days and minutes and soul-splitting seconds spent spinning through the universal void.
A guy in a bar said to me this last weekend, Look at a dog, which is a very intelligent animal, and all the things it can do with its tongue. But it can’t tell stories. We, he said, were at least smart enough to invent storytelling.
I want to tell good stories.
3. What is your favorite writing genre?
Nonfiction. And poetry.
4. Do you have any favorite magazines etc. that you would love to get published in?
Bruce Holland Rogers said The New Yorker is the one place you can get published that will stop people from questioning whether you’re a “real” writer. He’s probably got something there.
Personally, The Paris Review would be grand and I’m on a vendetta to get into Portland Magazine. Others would be Poetry Northwest, Orion, Brevity and Creative Nonfiction. New York Times Magazine and Playboy. So many great writers from previous generations were published in Playboy — Joyce Carol Oats. Who’d have thought?
5. What authors do you recommend?
Tim O’Brien, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scott Russell Sanders, Brian Doyle, David James Duncan, James Baldwin, Kevin Barry, Charles Bowden, Joan Didion, Jane Tompkins, Annie Dillard, Gretel Ehrlrich, E.B. White, Ted Kooser, Stanely Kunitz, Philip Levine, Dylan Thomas, Carolyn Kizer, Sharon Olds, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Green. Read everything you can. Read thousands more pages than you write.