John Picard is a native of Washington, D.C. currently living in North Carolina. He received his MFA from the UNC-Greensboro. He has published fiction and nonfiction in New England Review, Narrative, The Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. A collection of his stories, Little Lives, was published by Main Street Rag. Find more at johnmpicard.com
Eckleburg: What captures your interest most in your work, now, as a reader of your work?
Its desperate elements. Apparently, I like to mix the commonplace with the exotic or offbeat. Some of my favorite stories, and I hope my best, have characters with contrasting speech, status, and sophistication.
Eckleburg: What are you working on now?
I write mostly short stories and creative nonfiction. Recently I wrote a story and a personal essay based on the same real-life experience (a health scare). Afterwards, I discovered that I had occasionally plagiarized myself, using the same words to describe events, relying on the same pieces of dialogue. It was a reminder of how similar the two forms are, of how it is sometimes hard to know the difference. After all, they both have an emotional arc, they both tell a story. Norman Mailer said that any work of transcendent prose qualified as fiction. I’m not so sure about that, but it is one possible solution to the quandary.
Eckleburg: Who and what are your artistic influences?
My major influences are writers, of course–Nabokov, Salinger, Barthelme, for starters. But I am also inspired, if that is the right word, by the challenge–and the fun–of trying to bring the meretricious world of popular culture into the rarified realm of literature.
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