“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid and stable business.” ~ Hollis Gillespie
(ITALIAN LESSON: author = autore)
MADNESS: When you were a wee little Hollis, did you dream of being a writer? comedian? star?
I was never not a writer. Except lately. Lately I feel more like a carnival barker.
MADNESS: I did not want to use the term “when you grow up” because why should we, right? Which leads me to ask, do you feel your age these days?
I don’t think about it. If I keep busy I won’t have to. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of math in my head, like, “Wow, I’ve had those chairs 23 years,” or “Wow, I was just starting my job as a flight attendant when Justin Bieber was born.” Stuff like that. Everything seems like yesterday.
MADNESS: How would you describe your family in one word?
MADNESS: What’s one thing guaranteed to make you uncontrollably laugh your ass off?
My daughter, then 8, got a hold of my digital camera and taped a clip of herself titled, “Mae’s Video of Many Many Many Hellos,” and it slays me every time I even think of it. Also, if I think of that scene from Galaxy Quest when Tony Shalhoub beams the Pig Lizard into the transport bay, oh my GOD!! That was funny. There are many others, but those jumped to mind.
MADNESS: You offer mimosas in your writing classes, surely you have some insanity to share (drunken students, etc.)?
I actually had a student show up drunk from the night before! But in truth I’ve never had anyone abuse the mimosa factor. Maybe it’s because they’re weak mimosas. I tell everbody if they want to get drunk they should not let me mix them and mix them themselves.
MADNESS: If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do differently (if anything)?
I would have said yes to that Italian exchange student when I was 23 and it was his last night before flying home.
MADNESS: We love humor at MadnessMomandMe, any good jokes to share?
HOLLIS: For all those men who advise their sons, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”. Here’s an update for you: These days women advise their daughters against marriage. Why? Because it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.
MADNESS: So, how much of your books are really true?
HOLLIS: All of it is true so much as the truth can be trusted to my recollection (barring hyperbole and outright hallucinations), and almost none of it is still true. I make that distinction because, alarmingly, a lot of people don’t. A lot people seriously think that because I wrote a story 10 years ago about how I passed out in the parking lot of the Clermont Lounge, that they can go there this afternoon and find me passed out. It’s one of the bizarre consequences of having won acclaim writing stories that are based on my experience; people believe that these experiences, which are isolated in their depictions and happened in the past, represent me to this day, like as a 45-year-old I’m really gonna spend my nights horking cocaine and f!cking Australian soccer players. No, as a 45-year-old I’m going to spend my nights writing about when I used to hork cocaine and f!ck Australian soccer players. There’s a difference; the most important being that former would make me an irresponsible mother, whereas the latter makes me an ingenious businesswoman who has figured out how to translate her past into income so I can support my child.
Here is what Hollis’ friends Grant, Lary and Daniel have to say about it:
Grant Henry: “Don’t believe a word that b!tch says about me!”
Daniel Troppy: “This is not a real quote. I never said this.”
Lary Blodgett: “Keep walking and don’t make eye contact.”
MADNESS: Hollis, you always have something up your sleeve, what do you have in the works currently?
HOLLIS: I now run the largest writing school in Atlanta, Shocking Real Life Continuing Ed. We will be moving into our own storefront in Castleberry Hill this month. To that end, I’m really interested in all the different self-publishing options lately. Particularly with Kindle and iPad. I’ve included a whole segment on it in my seminar “Secrets to Writing & Selling Your First Book.” It just makes sense — if you can get $6 a download (as opposed to $2 royalty for a traditional hardcover), why wouldn’t you take it seriously? Also, I’m branching out with a lot of fun workshops, such as the one I just did on food writing with Besha Rodell of Creative Loafing and Christiane Lauterbach of Atlanta magazine. The blogging workshop (“The Cure for Blog-tardation“) has gone gangbusters. We sell out every month. So we’ve started offering clinics on Social Media, too. Writing has become such a multi-platform profession, it’s really fun navigating the changes and staying above extinction, and helping others do it as well.
Staying busy, I love it!
Hollis is the author of several hysterical books including, Trailer Trashed:
My Dubious Efforts Toward Upward Mobility, Confessions of a Recovering Slut:
And Other Love Stories, and Bleachy-Haired Honky B!tch:
Tales from a Bad Neighborhood.
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