Arts Illustrated: Author Interview with Mark W. Sasse

Arts Illustrated recently published an interview they conducted with me. Arts Illustrated is a wonderful website celebrating the arts. They profile artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and actors, and I am real honored to be chosen for one of their profiles. 

Click HERE to check out the entire interview and to browse their their great site.

Below is a short excerpt from the interview itself. 

2. Why writing?
I realize now that I’ve always been compelled to create. I’m not the scientific type – so I knew my creativity would never find its way out as an inventor or something like that. But as a writer, I can be an inventor of ideas – an inventor of situations – an inventor of stories. This creativity into writing took a dramatic turn about seven years ago when I wrote (with some students) my first play. Since that time, I’ve had the writing bug, and the ideas come at me from all angles at all moments, so I categorize my ideas into different genres of writing. I love writing novels for the intricate plots of a full-developed story. I love writing full-length plays in order to chisel away at some well-defined characters in unique stories. I love writing short plays (10-minute plays) because of the variety and creativity they afford. I even love writing musicals (though I am no musician) because of the melodies which are constantly rattling around in my head. Writing has become a compulsion for me, and I love everything about it. (Though it can be as frustrating as heck sometimes!)

Recognition is nice, but it’s not why I do it.

Why do writers write?

No doubt there are a myriad of reasons. Some noble. Some mundane. Some exploitative.

I always wanted to be a writer because I felt that being a writer would be cool. How’s that for pithy? I thought that being a writer would make people go “ooohh” and “ahhhh” which would in turn make me feel good about myself. Everyone wants approval and validation, and I thought that being a writer would give that to me.

Well, I am now a writer, but I no longer write why I thought I would want to write. I write because I am completely and utterly hooked on stringing words together and telling simple stories in unique ways. I feel compelled to write. If I don’t have time to write, I get anxious and keep looking ahead at my schedule trying to figure out when I will have time to write.

Actually, it has become very basic. I write for me. Period.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not immune to good reviews and recognition. After the production of my musical, “Boardwalk Melody”, in May, it would have been easy to get a big head. I heard wonderful review after wonderful review about the production and story. But I realized this: recognition is nice, but it’s not why I do it.

I would write if no one ever read my works. I would produce plays and work with actors if no one ever showed up. Of course, my preference is that I have readers and theatre patrons, but none of that is ever guaranteed. All I got is my metaphorical pen and the ideas in my head. That is where is starts and ends with me. That’s all I have to work with and that is really enough for me.

I am truly blessed that my works have found some readers who have appreciated what I have communicated. I am ever so grateful to everyone who ever read one of my works or attended one of my plays. Thank you for the kind words – they do mean a lot and they do help drive me to continually get better.

But I also know that it is not why I do this.