What? APIARY online? Yes, that’s right, there’s so much great writing going on that we have an online bonus issue coming up in July!
Nathanael Green is a marketing and advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has published fiction and written articles for trade journals and a local newspaper. Some of his fiction and essays have appeared in 322 Review, Glassworks, New Myths, and Fractured West. Nate has taught English composition as an adjunct professor and is currently writing a historical adventure novel set in Colonial Pennsylvania.
Tell us about your writing community – who are your mentors, your first readers, your collaborators, your fellow workshop participants?
I’m a graduate of the Rosemont MFA program, and when I was there, there were a lot of very talented and dedicated writers who were great in workshops, at readings, and over drinks. Recently, I began attending the Writers’ Coffeehouse put on by some of the people in the Liar’s Club – the meetings are well attended and usually have very informative, informal, sometimes silly, writerly chit-chat.
I’ve found that other writers generally make good first-readers for me. Non-writers tend to be kind people who smile and say, “That’s nice, Nate,” and don’t give a manuscript the thrashing it deserves. So I’ve been working quite a bit with Sarah Rose Etter as one of my trusted first-readers. It’s interesting because our styles are so vastly different, and it’s great to hear her point of view.
Another friend of mine, Brian O’Rourke, has a very no-nonsense style that I admire. Brian and I have traded a lot of our work and he’s been really helpful in his comments. He and I are also writing together now and just recently finished the first draft of a historical adventure novel set in Colonial Pennsylvania. Now it’s time to get the pitch ready …
I love that there’s a huge community of writers here. There are readings, events, workshops and whatnot all over the place. And any writer you meet at an event seems to genuinely want to help all the other writers succeed. It’s a very writer-friendly and encouraging city.
If you’d asked me what to change just a little while ago, I would have said I’d want it to be easier to find all the events around Philly. You know, maybe a calendar of literary goings-on? Except Apiary seems to have read my mind and now you have that on your site! So thank you for that.
The only thing I’d change now would be for all us writers to be celebrated like the bards of old everywhere we went. You think we can swing that?
I’ve heard this from a few different people in different ways. Liz Corcoran, my advisor when I was at Rosemont and another great first reader, likened writing to sharks–that if they stop moving, they die. That was specifically about writing a novel and making sure to keep writing the thing, or you’ll lose steam on the project. But I think it’s true of writing in general. It’s inertial. The more you write, the more momentum you have to keep writing and writing new things. Ideas beget ideas, writing begets writing, and the only way to get better at something is to keep doing it.
Considering I’ve been waiting my whole life for this question, you think I’d be more prepared. But I’m not. Because it’s a three-way tie:
One is the Art Museum, but not just at the Art Museum. I’d be inside one of the suits of armor in the Art Museum. I wonder if they’d fit, or if they’d make one in my size?
Another is Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street. It’s the only place in the area where I’ve found kölsch on tap – and that, people, is my favorite kind of beer in the whole wide world.
The third is from inside the southern white rhinoceros exhibit at the Zoo. The Asian rhino is ok, but its horn isn’t quite as cool.
If none of those work, I’d settle for Citizens Bank Park.
Nate’s story The Slut Buck will appear in APIARY online. Read a sneak preview:
Clint scratched at his beard and nodded to Andrew’s truck. “Well, what’s in the bed? You get something this morning, or were you just firing one off at nothing?”
“Got a buck,” he said. Another gulp.
“Shit!” said Steve with a smile that finally separated his mouth from his whiskers. “He’s popped his buck cherry.” He held out one hand and Andrew shook it.
“Your first?” asked Gabe. The old boy grunted as he pushed himself up from the picnic table.
Andrew nodded. “Got a couple does before. But this is my first buck.” He bit his cheek.
“Just five years late.” Steve pushed at the inside of his mouth with his tongue so a lump of wiry hair bristled on his face.
“Just been waiting for the right one. And he’s better looking than yours.”
Everyone laughed and Andrew tried to cool the warmth he felt with another swallow of beer.
Gabe shook his head. “You can’t eat the horns anyway. But that first one’s something special.”
Clint pointed to the truck with his beer. “Well, if you got one of your own, let’s see him.”
Andrew used his thumb and forefinger to twist the hasp on the bed cap then dropped the tailgate. He squinted into the dark and reached in. A soft hiss of fur against the bed liner as he pulled the body out.
“Nice rack on him. Eight points?” asked Steve.
“Nine,” said Andrew.
The memory came to Andrew in frantic, urgent flashes. The deer peeking out behind the scrub. The tremors in his chest. Trying to stifle his heaving breaths. The jolt of his rifle. Thrusting one fist into the air and choking back a yell of triumph when the buck rolled onto its back. Feeling a warm amazement wash over him at the softness of its fur.
Clint took the antlers in one hand and lifted the head to examine it. His thumb ticked against a chip in one antler. He turned a smile to Gabe.
Gabe squinted and stepped closer. “Well shit. You got the slut buck.”
Clint clapped Andrew on the shoulder. “The slut buck. He makes his rounds and goes home with a new guy every so often.”