Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flashpoint Interview: Larry A. Gibbons

Our Flashpoint interview today is with Larry A. Gibbons, whose stories will be familiar to regular Third Person Press readers. Larry's stories have been published in anthologies, magazines and newsletters in Nova Scotia, Ontario and the United States, and a book of his short stories, White Eyes, was published by Breton Books in November, 2011. Larry's website can be found at

Third Person Press: Where did you grow up? Do you think your childhood influenced you to be a writer?
Larry A. Gibbons: My birth place is Kingston, Ontario and I believe my childhood days in Kingston influenced my writing. I know I had quite an imagination. I can remember, for instance, standing in the backyard peering at the sky through a prism, my mind stretching to reach out and grasp the magic I knew was inside the colors.
And in my early years our backyard bordered on massive fields which gave me lots of room to run and make up exciting adventures.

When I was young I used to hang out in the living room, sitting on an out-from-under-their-feet chair or footstool, and while the adults talked their big people talk, I’d hurriedly try to transcribe their words into my little black notepad. I wish I still had those notebooks. My mother probably caught them in one of her clean-ups.

Then high school hit me like a bomb. Partly because I was a member of a very strict church which believed many of the normal activities you might find going on in a high school to be immoral and not conducive to getting you a ticket to the heavenly big house. This didn’t help me easily find a peer group and besides all that, the classes bored me. I wanted out. One of the ways I escaped was to write stories about imaginary characters and places. That helped me deal with the school and church world.

TPP: Who were your three favorite writers when you were young? Who are three favorites now?
LAG: My three favourite writers when I was young were C.S. Lewis, Jack London and Walter Brooks.

It’s hard for me to pick my three favourite authors. I read a super good book and that writer is my favourite until another comes along. I’ve read many Stephen King books but don’t now because they began to bore me. But the three authors that have impressed me over the last while are George Eliot, Morley Callaghan and Karin Slaughter. I’m now reading George Eliot’s ‘Daniel Deronda’. I have to admit that I’ve been tempted to buy a small dictionary to keep next to my bed. She uses some mighty big words.

TPP: What are you most likely to be doing when you're not writing?
LAG: When I’m not writing I’m either reading, hiking the highlands, cycling, snow-shoeing, skiing, playing hockey, skating, splitting, chain sawing or carrying wood, bumming around Baddeck or playing shovel-the-massive-pile-of-snow game.

TPP: Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
LAG: As a rule I write for about two hours, five or six days a week. My computer is often turned on before breakfast. After breakfast I spend a half hour to an hour reading different non-fiction books along with one or two poetry books I keep on tap. I’ve almost finished wading through the Bible.

When I’m ready to write, I walk into my tiny office, pick a CD, put it into the player, beg, hit and plead with the CD player to play, and when it does, I sit down and begin to type. About an hour into it, I might do some quick exercises while a cup of milk warms up in the microwave. The milk is used to make a hot cup of Ovaltine. I then continue to write.

TPP: What's your favorite beverage while writing? While not writing?
LAG: I have two favourite beverages that I drink while I write, Ovaltine and tea. While I’m not writing, well this is rather hush hush, but besides diet Pepsi and tea, beer is a favourite, but only for medicinal purposes.

TPP: If you were a superhero, what would your name and power/ability be? Or would you be a supervillain instead?
LAG: I would be Telenviro Man - a superhero who protects the natural environments of the world. If a wild place necessary for wildlife or our earth’s health, was developed I would use the power of my mind to telepathically restore it to its original state. Thus, a golf course one day would become a nature-friendly woodland or wetland the next day. Clear-cuts one day, rejuvenated forest the next. What joy that would be! Although I believe there would be some folks who would see me as an immoral, evil super-hero and a scourge to their insane world view based solely on economics and development.

Thanks, Larry!

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