I introduced Wyatt McIntyre’s new book, The Last Dance on my blog in July.
Now, I’d like to introduce the man.
I choose all my guests because they not only interest me as writers, they also fascinate me as people. Wyatt is one of those fascinating young men.
It’s no coincidence that the only question Wyatt could not answer reveals he likely has an old soul, and it makes him wise beyond his years.
Read about the man, and you’ll want to read The Last Dance—trust me.
Please welcome the eternally lovely, Wyatt McIntyre.
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Inside Wyatt McIntyre’s Mind
What is your idea of perfect happiness? I suppose, in a sense, perfect happiness, at least to me, is a moment, a second, an instant you can draw out over a lifetime. It’s something that’s there to draw upon, regardless of how distant the memory may seem to be, when life gets hard, a serene moment that just lets you slip back to something peaceful. For me that’s an idea, and an ideal. It’s back on the prairies, on a horse, just feeling the wind brush against my face, the sun softly caressing me and there is nothing there for miles. The world just seems so endless all around you and you feel limitless in the possibilities, and perhaps you’re not even riding anywhere, still you could end up anywhere. It’s sitting there, next to someone you love, watching the stars dance above you, your arm wrapped around them, and feeling this boundless hope that stems from a deep connection with them. Nothing else matters and the world, it just seems to melt around you like a drifting dream. Wherever else you could be, you can’t imagine anywhere else you’d rather be in the quiet simplicity that weaves around you like a warm blanket. Moments like that, they are perfect happiness, because, whenever life gets hard, whenever it gets too tough you draw back to it, and you can’t help but smile as a wistful feeling just overtakes you.
What turns you on creatively? Music, I suppose, more than anything else. When I start a story I pick a playlist right from the get go. Sometimes I will alter or add songs to it, sometimes it will stay the entire story. When I run into a block I’ll sit back and I close my eyes, just listening, letting it move around me, using it as a soundtrack to the thoughts and the ideas that I have, just pushing me forward to create the scenes in my head. Sometimes I just sit with my guitar and I’ll pick at the strings, just sort of thinking, relaxing my mind.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? If you have a dictionary, open it up to a random page, pick a word and chances are I have overused it and abused it at one point or another. “Indeed” has been a long favorite, as has “The simple truth of the matter is…” but then so has my customary expression of frustration, “I put pants on for this? Seriously” and “Bizarre” Honestly it all depends on my mood, though I have been told I abuse the word “Softly”, “Slight” and “Just” in my writing from time to time.
What quality do you most admire in a man? I’d say, more than anything else, Courage. You know, life is full of changes and challenges, and it can be hard, even a little overwhelming at times. In many ways we let that define us to the point where we are unwilling to take chances anymore. Then, one day, we wake up and we don’t even really recognize ourselves. We’ve just let so much pass and slip by us. What was it that Oliver Wendell Holmes said? “Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them.” I admire the men of courage, the ones who, with whatever fear life may bring, act with conviction towards their dreams and truth in who they are, the ones who are capable of looking past the struggle to see the inevitable end. They act in a courage, setting their sights on who they want to be, who they need to be, grabbing hold of it and never letting go, whatever crisis to the spirit it may bring.
What quality do you most admire in a woman? Beyond anything else I would say Grace. The most admirable women carry themselves with a sense of dignity and elegance that shows a beauty in their spirit and their souls. They’re the ones who have a kindness about them that shines even in the moments of their greatest difficulty. They’re the ones who are poised as they stand firm in their resolve to be who they are as they are, even when they don’t necessarily understand. In that they have the ability to be such a blessing, such a miracle, not just in the lives of those around them, but in the way that they carry themselves through their own lives. These are the women who inspire, the ones who transcend, and who show us just how incredible life can be for the simplest and the greatest that it has to offer.
What is your greatest regret? Honestly, I’m not sure I have a greatest regret. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made mistakes in my life, probably more than I’d care to mention at any given time. Some of them play out in my mind more vividly then others when I feel a little tired. Regrets though? I just generally don’t believe in them. Yes, there are moments I’ve been ashamed of, that I’ve had to seek forgiveness from, some I may never really find forgiveness in. I choose not to live in them. I try not to let them burden me because even the stupidest mistake I’ve made, even the greatest disappointments I may have caused, they taught me a little more about who I was as opposed to who I needed to be, pushing me forward to try and be a better, stronger person in the future so that I would never be defined by those moments. They are cautionary tales, for those who take the time to see it, so that we never willingly fall into those traps again. In that way regrets are nothing more than a bump in the road that you stumble on, some larger than others, some more damaging than others, but all of them unable to keep you down or define you if you are willing to pick yourself up again afterwards.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’m going to change enough over the course of my life. I have changed enough over the course of it already not to go looking for things I want to change about it. Far, far from perfect, I’m in the process of growing, evolving and changing., Where that takes me, I tend to think, I’ll find out when I get there, knowing that each thing about me, as I am right now, contributes to that path I’m on. Even the things I find hard about myself, the dreams I give myself over to far too easily and the fact that I end up hurting myself too simply by losing myself in them, the idea that I care far too much about things that will never really happen but that I hope will, they’re a part of the journey I’m on of self-discovery and self-realization. To want to change any of it is to want to fundamentally change the direction that it is leading me in. For however long it takes, for however hard it may be, I’m willing to be who I am and who I will be to find the eventual peace that comes with living my life the way it needed to be lived.
What is your greatest fear? Besides Snakes? I would have to probably say mediocrity. I don’t expect to be a great man, but I want to live my life beyond something of the ordinary. As I said earlier I admire courage, and the truth is that I want and expect myself to live my life with it. Still, there are times when I hear this little voice that gnaws at the back of my head. It whispers, telling me that I’m a failure, or that I’m never going to live up to my potential, it’s a voice that perpetually asks me, “What great things have you done?” I’m just afraid that that voice is never going to go away. It scares me that I’m going to leave so many things undone in my life, and there’s going to be a day when I don’t recognize the person I’ve become because he is so far removed from the person that I want to be. I don’t know, it’s just a scary thought sometimes for me.
Which living person do you most admire? My Mother… just no telling her I said that, I like to make her feel guilty and that might ruin my chances…
Honestly though, if there was ever a stronger woman than her I’m not sure who she would be. The amount she’s had to live through, the things she has had to overcome, I honestly don’t necessarily know how she did it at times. Yet, every step of the way, she has been there for me and my brothers, encouraging us even when we’re foolhardy, telling us that there are some things we can’t do. Still there is nothing we shouldn’t go after so long as it’s what we want. It all goes with her mantra for us one she had repeated throughout my life, “The only thing I can teach you is to live a better life than I did.” Maybe, at times, I’m not right, maybe at times I’m dead wrong, and she knows it, she isn’t going to sugarcoat it. I know it as soon as she says “Wyatt-James Taylor McIntyre…”, the lead off to every conversation where I did something that she’s going to proceed to give me some form of a lecture in. Still, when it’s said and done I know that whatever it may be, whatever it is, she is going to be there for me, encouraging me to help push forward in the direction of my dreams, overjoyed in my triumphs, while still letting me make my own mistakes and offering me what I need when I come back to her after making them. Whatever else life may have brought, she never lost hope, not for herself or for us. She really is just an incredible woman.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Professional orange eater… is that a profession? Actually, in all seriousness I wouldn’t mind trying acting. I used to love being in community theater and was actually good at it but it was nothing I ever actually pursued beyond that, there was also so many other things I thought I had to be doing, and it sort of fell by the wayside trying to be a grown-up with all my grown-up responsibilities.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? Not a flipping clue…
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a person people can talk to. I mean I’ve done things with my life so far, won a few awards, been in newspapers, met leaders and heads of governments, written two books, but the truth is my greatest achievement is being able to be there for people. Most of my friends know that if they need me it doesn’t matter what else is going on, I will take the time for them. They know that regardless of what it may be I’m going to understand and not judge because I’ve seen enough in my own life and the world around me to understand life is rarely as it seems to be and I am going to be there for them. In the end, I think that’s really the only real achievement that matters in this world, being able to find a compassion and a love inside of you that you are able to share with others, that lets them know that they matter to you and that they can always come to you when they need to, even if it is the only time you really hear from them.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Beyond anything else hubris. I don’t mind people being proud of their accomplishments, or believing in themselves, but when it goes beyond that to the levels of arrogance it becomes something different entirely and I start to have a problem with it. To me it reflects something deeply missing in their lives. It’s something they aren’t willing to address that makes them want to tear everyone and everything else around them down just for their own sense of self-worth. I never end up admiring them or even looking at what they are so desperate for me to see because I’m blinded too much by them. I just end up pitying them more than anything because something is obviously so flawed with them that they can’t even begin to handle their own life in a way that this doesn’t grip them.
What is your greatest extravagance? Without a doubt or a question in my mind, Comic Books, I mean seriously I may have a problem here and need to seek help.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? Truly and really live…
I’ve never really kept a Bucket List or anything like that. Maybe, as I get older, that could change, I’m not entirely sure. For the moment though I’m a simple man with simple wants and needs, and the only thing I really want for my life is to be happy, to be strong and to live with courage. I want to be able to look at myself 10, 20, 50 years down the road and say, “Maybe I did some things wrong, maybe I did some things right, but I’m genuinely happy with the way I lived my life because I did it the way it needed to be.” I want to be able to say that I lived, I loved, I hoped, I dreamed and I found myself along the way. To me there’s nothing else to want for before you die than the ability to say that.
What is your favorite music (genre/artist/album/song)? Oh, now that’s a toughie, that’s probably one of the hardest questions I think you’ve asked yet. You know, once upon a time I might have been able to answer that question easily. Of course, once upon a time, before that, I would have still answered it easily but it would have been a different answer. I don’t know if I have a favorite genre. I mean to pick out a favorite is to limit yourself when there are so many with good and bad, phenomenal and terrible in it. I can say I listen to a lot of Classical (especially Bach and Pachelbel ), a lot of folk and folk rock (from John Prine to Townes Van Zandt to Bruce Springsteen), I love Mark Knopfler, and have been waiting for an album from a singer I just discovered in the past year or so, Tucker Perry. Fred Eaglesmith has been up there for a while too as has Richard Wagner. A favorite album honestly depends on my mood considerably, though Nebraska by Springsteen is just an amazing album, it is probably right up there on my top favorites of all times.
As for a song, there is no question about that, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor. My mother wanted to name me James but her cousin was already James, so I ended up with, like the first line of it, a cowboy name, Wyatt-James. When I was still small Mom would sit there and rock me to sleep, running her finger, petting between my eyes, as she would sing that song. Even now, when I get to missing home, when I get to missing her, living so far from it, I put it on, close my eyes and let myself drift away.
What are some of your favorite curse words? I don’t know if I have one. I mean I swear, but I try not to even as I use the term “Hell” a little more often than I like. I don’t know, to me the name of these words seem to say it all, they’re a bit of a curse to expressing yourself in modern language in and of themselves in my mind but then that’s just me.
What is your motto? Besides the before mentioned “I put pants on for this? Seriously?” I’d probably say “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit” (“Perhaps someday it will help to have remembered even these things.”) from Virgil’s Aenid. As I said, life can be rough and hard, it can be filled with struggles and challenges. Still, it’s a learning experience, a growing experience, one in which we are always evolving in. Even the harshest moments are lessons we needed to learn even if we don’t see the purpose of them right from the start. In that we need to remember that sometimes we need to keep it all there so that later we can perhaps look back on them and understand what we were meant to know.
It’s been a real pleasure having you here, Wyatt. Along with this interview, I’ve also posted my 5-star review of The Last Dance on Amazon.
Readers, I encourage you to get to know Wyatt and grab his book. He’s an amazing person to have as a friend.
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Connect with Wyatt
As an amateur woodworker, Wyatt McIntyre sees crafting a story in the same way he carves. Starting with a blank and rough surface, each word, each sentence and line is meant to express a vision that slowly turns the original material into a finished work of beauty. Along with The Last Dance, his first novel, Wyatt is also the author of the theological work, Coping Through Christianity: Strengthening the Wounded Heart and Broken Spirit through God’s Love.