Textnovel.com: Can you tell me a little more about yourself?
Mark: Here is the most important thing I can tell you about myself: Whatever is personal about me, about my life, is hollow and insubstantial compared to “Marienbad My Love.” My novel is the story of my inner world, of what Carl Jung called “the self-realization of the unconscious.” This is all that matters. All of the outward events of my 47 years – the professional accomplishments, people, travels – pale beside this inner reality. “Marienbad My Love” is really not a novel at all, but an autobiography of the “I” who dwells within.
Textnovel: When did you start writing?
Mark: I have been writing my entire life, even before I actually knew how to put words on paper. For me, the process of writing is really just dictation. I am taking down the words spoken by my “unconscious,” the inner me. The majority of my ideas come from my dreams, which are a type of movie filmed and directed by the unconscious.
Textnovel: Have you published anything yet?
Mark: No books, but I have been a professional communicator for the past 25 years. My work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines
Textnovel: Have you tried submitting your work to agents or publishers?
Mark: Oh yes, many times – so far without success. But I am not discouraged. The first-time novelist travels a very long and winding road, and I know mine is a particularly daunting journey. I abhor labels; however, to keep my comments to a reasonable length I will define my writing as “experimental.” I’m not doing anything that William Burroughs didn’t try in the late 1950s, but it’s still somewhat shocking – if not downright appalling – to the typical reader. My use of a modified cut-up method to generate what I call a “non-linear literary collage” seems to generate an almost visceral offense. And I’m OK with that. During my 25-year writing career, my work has been revised and modified – and, yes, sometimes butchered—by many editors. Long ago I lost the ability to be offended, which is rather nice because it allows me to read the comments of my critics with a sense of distance and detachment. I honestly enjoy their critiques, and I have incorporated some of the more colorful ones into my work: “The incoherent ramblings of an insane mind … I am not sure there is even a classification for this one … long stretches of surrealism, where we are in this character's head and not grounded in any recognizable reality...What was that?! Was this person using drugs or what? … It's terrible … Vomit.” And I have a new favorite. This one was recently posted on a Wikipedia talk page: “If you skim the pages of any random chapter of Marienbad, you can see that it's all computer-generated... when the author him/herself has not, unless he/she is in fact completely insane, read the work in its entirety, I don't think you can really say that the stream of words was written as a novel. Marienbad especially is an absolute joke, I can't believe people are taking it seriously.” By the way, I am not a computer. I really did write the novel. But that’s beside the point. Writers need to embrace the words of their critics, even (and perhaps especially) when they don’t agree with them. If you can’t take criticism, you shouldn’t be a writer. That’s my unsolicited advice to every person who posts a story on textnovel.com.
Textnovel: Where did you go to college?
Mark: I am a 1983 graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. My favorite courses were surveys of literature, specifically 20th century writers. It was in one of those classes that I first saw the French classic "Last Year at Marienbad," which of course is the inspiration for "Marienbad My Love." Screenwriter Alain Robbe-Grillet took me on a little trip, and I've never come back.
Textnovel: Where do you live now?
Mark: I am a life-long resident of Texas. My wife and I have been living in Coppell (a suburb of Dallas) since 1988. Someone asked me recently if I would prefer to live in the mountains or on the beach. I said "neither." The prairie-like landscape of North Texas may strike many as plain and uninspiring, but to me it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Textnovel: Do you have children?
Mark: We have two teenage sons.
Textnovel: Do you have a day job?
Mark: I am director of media relations for a Texas-based corporation with offices in the U.S., Europe and the Pacific Rim.
Textnovel: Have you written more fiction? If so what stage is it in?
Mark: I’ve written quite a bit of fiction. A few years ago I took stock of my body of work. I realized that everything I was writing was dealing with the same themes and settings. I was always writing the same book, just revising it slightly each time. The protagonist was always – well, me. So I took all of my previous writings and merged them into a literary collage that has become “Marienbad My Love.” Someday I may decide to extract some of these works and attempt to get them published as independent novels. But they will always pale next to “Marienbad My Love.” This is the only novel that is important to me. I will be writing it for the rest of my life.