Matthew Stowell's writing seminar "Writing About Wine" will be held Saturday, March 26.
When did you first feel like a writer?
When I was ten years old I wrote a story about going off to spend the summer on my (fictional) uncle’s dude ranch out west. It probably wasn’t a very good story and it owed a lot to the Spin and Marty TV series, but the magic I felt while composing it convinced me that writing was all I wanted to do. In my twenties I had three poems accepted in a British literary magazine next to poems by Sylvia Plath and Harold Pinter, and this legitimized my efforts and served as the kick in the pants I needed to dedicate myself to the craft.
What’s your philosophy about teaching a writing class? For any form of good writing there are some basic elements that must be learned. But once you know the rules, you’re free to do whatever you like: follow them, break them, even reinvent them. For a nonfiction course, such as Wine Writing or Food Writing, there are technical aspects that must be considered. In my teaching I hope that my own passion and respect for excellent prose inspires students to create work of which they can be proud. Finally, it is my firm belief that a well-done piece of writing should educate, inspire and above all entertain in a unique and satisfying fashion.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why? I would love to have been one of Odysseus’s close companions, perhaps one of his lieutenants, and to share his adventures and fantastic journeys through the “wine-dark” Mediterranean of the ancient Greek empire. Imagine the hours of stimulating conversation to be shared with Homer’s Odysseus, a man possessing a classical education, a noble soul and a history of struggle with the gods of Olympus.