I met Robert James Russell through a writer’s forum and was introduced to his writing with his story, “Eaten Alive,” in Sex Scene: An Anthology. I’m a huge fan of anthologies, and I was impressed by the diversity of the stories in the book—so much so that I bought two copies. As with most things I love, it’s great to be able to give one as a gift.
The breadth of Robert’s talents is diverse, and the common thread that weaves through them all is the quality of the writing: intelligent, real, and oftentimes—simply brilliant.
I’m delighted to showcase the incredibly gifted, Robert James Russell.
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Robert James Russell is co-founder of the literary journal Midwestern Gothic and has had work featured in Thunderclap!, Red River Review, Greatest Lakes Review, Eighty Percent Magazine, Down in the Dirt, and The Legendary. He also co-founded Saint James, a comic book company with a ferocious passion for telling good stories.
In September 2010, he edited the anthology Sex Scene: An Anthology. His first collection of short stories, The Mating Habits of College Girls, will be released in April 2011 by eight cuts gallery press. Robert lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sex Scene: An Anthologyaims to decontextualize sex, asking the reader to look at the act itself as not only a form of art, but also as the very basest of human urges. The result is a cacophony of unique perspectives, cultures, styles and scenes—from soft and romantic to deranged and hardcore—that invites you to leave any hang-ups behind and actively engage in conversations about the all-too-often taboo topic, showing that, perhaps, we are not so different after all.
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Inside Robert James Russell’s Mind
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “like” and “well” quite a bit (both on paper and in real life). And “You know what I mean?”
What turns you on creatively? Coffee shops. I do my best writing there, probably because I can stop what I’m doing at any moment and people watch.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Generally speaking, it would be doing what makes me happy, living the life I want: I’m not one to do something I don’t want to, and I’d rather work twice as hard for something I love than to do something I only mildly enjoy or don’t enjoy at all. What’s the point, right? Specifically, I love surrounding myself with those I love and care about (my girlfriend Patty, my friends and family), so when I get to hang out with these people, I’m always jazzed. Oh, and writing, in general, makes me so, so happy—it’s the thing I was born to do. (Short term: a pint of Newcastle always makes me smile.)
What quality do you most admire in a man? Passion.
What quality do you most admire in a woman? Passion.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’ve always had the super secret (well, not so secret any more) fantasy of being a boxer.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? An elephant. But not a circus elephant…I’d want to be one of those wild elephants that live for eighty years in the wild and are just totally badass.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? One of my lifelong goals was to be published by my 30th birthday, and I will achieve that with the publication of The Mating Habits of College Girls in early April—I am so geeked about it.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? It’s a tie: Bad driving and narrow-mindedness. (Or, even worse: narrow-minded bad drivers).
What is your present state of mind? Hungry. I eat six times a day.
What is your favorite curse word? Easy: Fuck. I dare you to find a word more versatile.
What is your motto? Che Sarà Sarà—I’ve learned in adulthood that you have to choose your battles wisely, and you can’t get upset if things don’t work out the way you wanted them to—makes for a less stressful life, I must say.
Connect with Robert James Russell
Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal (now accepting submissions)