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CSL Assignment Loven (JingHang) Wu interview with Jock Mackenzie

The Journey of writing

      The writer that I interviewed is called Jock Mackenzie. He is of Scottish descent but was born in Canada so he speaks English and a bit of French. He worked as an experienced language arts teacher, Vice Principal and Principal with RDPSD (Red Deer Public School District) for 31 years. He has a Bachelor of Education and Post Graduate Diploma in English, focused in English/Language Arts Teacher Education from University of Alberta. Moreover, he is also known as a speaker, a carver, and a joke teller, a number of outstanding results have been accomplished in these aspects. When it comes to his writing, he only writes in English. Right now, he is working on a crime-drama fiction, called “Dealing with Dymans”. It is about 80,000 words in length. This novel has a mixture of crime and humour.

      During the whole interview, what caught my attention is about the entire writing process. My interviewee pointed out several tough and crucial moments during his writing and used the word “invigorating” to describe the whole writing process. Based on what he told me, I assume that the writing journey seems to be a bittersweet experience.

      When he started to write, one challenge he met was to make the story intriguing and to keep it fast-paced without confusing or losing the reader. After the first step, he would manage to motivate himself to keep at the book until it was done. However, he said that when he finished a book, it was the most difficult and challenging part of the whole writing process. Frankly speaking, it was an unanticipated answer to me because I originally thought that planning of ideas would be the most difficult stage. He further explained that it was due to the fact that it is hard to find publishers. For instance, for his crime-drama, he sent the book to four Canadian publishers but unfortunately they all rejected it. In addition, for his one published book, called Essay Writing:Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up, it took the publisher a long time to cautiously narrow down the topic and to make a decision to publish it because the publisher believed that other possible topics were not a money maker. He admitted that he had been warned to expect rejection. He remembered reading Stephen King’s book “On Writing”, where Stephen said he would hammer a big nail into the wall of his cabin and use it as a place to put his rejection notices. When there was no room for any more notices, he would hammer in another nail. My interviewee was astonished by these words, since many other well-known authors once also acknowledged this point; however, when rejection occurred to my interviewee, he strongly believed that the purpose of writing was not to find a publisher, and he said optimistically that self-publishing was an option. 

      Finally, throughout the whole interview, I understand that writing could be something similar to a life journey, which is filled with happiness, hardships, and special moments. The writing journey could be the same, it is not always smooth, but we can always view suffering positively.


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