The Ottumwa Courier

November 12, 2013

Local author nominated for Pushcart Prize

By SHELLY RAGEN
Courier correspondent

---- — FAIRFIELD — Local author Rudy Wilson is an award-winning writer that recently opened up with his candid personality about his work and artistic style, proving once again that he is truly a one-of-kind.

Wilson was recently nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in Prose for his short story titled “Blue,” published in “The Literarian.” The short story is a vivid snapshot of a man who relives his life in a simple but complex scene outside of a window, where the man reaches an enlightening moment.

“This new thing in 'The Literarian,'" Wilson said regarding his nomination, "I'm very fortunate because it's a very short story, it's only 350 words, and somehow it seems to have affected people. There's a certain magic about it. I just wrote it down on a napkin basically, you know, just a thought. Then I typed it up and sent it to an editor at a magazine, and she said, 'Wow' and nominated it for a Pushcart.”

Wilson is best known for his cult classic novel, “The Red Truck,” published by Alfred. A. Knopf. He was born in Mississippi, has lived around the country and is currently settled in Fairfield. He has an MFA in English and fiction writing from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, where he also taught. He has written other novels including “A Girl Named Jesus” and “Sonja's Blue,” a short story collection.

He also has a new novel currently titled “Exit Angel,” which is expected to be published soon. It's a darker story of revenge with the setting in Batavia.

“All my work, I think, begins with darkness and ends in light. There's always salvation on whatever level. I don't mean Christian or anything like that, there's some saving of the main characters or the plot,” Wilson said.

Wilson has published stories in various literary journals including “The Paris Review”, “Gordon Lish's Quarterly,” “The Indiana Review” and others. He has received a James Michener Award for his work, including an NEA Fellowship.

When asked about his unique style, Wilson admits he's more for the art of the story than what's commonly mainstream.

“I fall back into my pattern of language-orientated and depth of feeling. I just can't write the novel that is popular. I don't have that seemingly in me. You know like John Grisham or Steven King. I just can't do it. I don't know how to do it. I have to be honest. That's the main thing to me in writing. Honesty, pure original honesty that is unique. No one has what you have in your brain,” Wilson explains, “and so write the truth as you see it and to heck with the reviews or whoever buys, and if you don't, it's selling out. I'd sell out if I could, but I don't know how to do it. Maybe that sounds presumptuous, but I really don't know how to do it. I just try to write honestly.”

Wilson also shared a little about one of his favorite authors and his own writing routine.

“Ernest Hemingway said he would get up and write for four hours, no matter what. He said all you need is a typewriter and the ability to bleed or something like that. It's not easy to open up at your deepest level and pour it out and you can always edit later and all that. But to get real is hard and he did it, obviously. I'm a Hemingway fan, he went through a bad time and people were putting him down it seemed like, all in all, I think he is a totally respected author. So I don't have a schedule, I really don't. I wish I did. I don't have a schedule, I write when it hits me. And sometimes I'll just see something out the window," he said. "Once on a train, I saw something that got me and I thought 'Wow,' and I wrote a story about it, and it was published in “The Indiana Review,” and they published three stories at once and that was really a great honor. Sometimes something will just spark you, so I don't have a thing where I wake up and start writing. It's very demanding and very difficult ... to really focus down on it and really write is tedious. My new book (“Exit Angel”) I just finished, I really did it, I got in it. It's a hard read, but I think it could do well in certain circles.”

Rudy Wilson's Pushcart Prize-nominated short story can be found at centerforfiction.org/magazine/issue-14/blue-by-rudy-wilson. His novels “The Red Truck, “A Girl Named Jesus” and “Sonja's Blue” are available with most major booksellers online.