Friday, November 6, 2009
Writer Spotlight: Randy Lewis
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Paul Smiths, N.Y.
FIELD: Writer: poetry, creative non-fiction, nature writing, newspaper columnist
EMPLOYER: North Country Community College (adjunct writing instructor and math tutor)
Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
A. Biweekly column, “Actively Adirondack,” published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise; in May, “A Garden Library” poem published in the Northern New Yorker, literary journal at North Country Community College; in July, a presentation: A Walk in the Woods, at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center; on Sept. 19, journaling/writing workshops for 11th annual Adirondack Arts and Healing retreat at Great Camp Sagamore, Raquette Lake, N.Y.; and Sept. 29, a lecture/reading at Paul Smith’s College from “Actively Adirondack” for PSC college freshmen’s First Year Experience classes
Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A. Putting together the manuscript for my next book. And since I am working on two, it may take twice as long! One is a compilation of poems written daily during National Poetry Month for the past five years. The other is essays and photography, honoring this strange wild place I find myself calling home.
Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
A. Monday through Thursday in my writing classes at North Country Community College. After the semester is over, I'll look up to see if there are any upcoming appearances on my calendar.
Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
A. I think it would be mighty difficult to write a book with someone, if not annoyingly frustrating. But my sons Colin and Nathan and I frequently discuss putting a book together with our photography and words … and I think that would be fun. I also think every year I teach Creative Writing that I would love to assemble a book with my students on a unified theme. But phew, that would be a LOT of work, so I doubt that will ever happen.
Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
A. I like how much this environment feeds the soul. Most folks don’t allow that to happen, or make themselves available for that to happen, but if they would, it would. There are real and obvious lessons to be learned from the world that isn’t totally orchestrated by man. I also like the visual stimulus … the photographer in me is constantly reaching for the camera. There is art in every single view we see. Now, about winter? I dislike winter and the dry indoor heated places, and the slippery roads and careless drivers … but there is nothing more inviting than having a day off, and seeing a wilderness of whiteness out the window, begging for words to be written on its empty page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Titles: “Actively Adirondack: Reflections on Mountain Life in the 21st Century,” which won Best Book Award, People’s Choice, for 2007 at the Adirondack Center for Writing’s Adirondack Literary Awards, and contributor to “A North Country Quartet”
I teach writing, walk in the woods every day, and drink a lot of tea. I read poetry, enjoy visiting NYC whenever I can, and am the proud parent of three grown sons who live far away. My favorite spot to visit is the Pacific Northwest, my favorite ocean is the Pacific, my favorite west coast city is Portland, and my favorite trees are redwoods. I am a hermit most of the time, go to bed early, and would always rather respond to an email than talk on the phone. Among jobs I've enjoyed are copy editor at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, veterinary assistant, bookstore clerk, advising coordinator at Paul Smith's College, writer for A Writer's Almanac (for Minnesota Public Radio), and being a math tutor for college students. I love teaching writing, but when it takes time away from my own writing (which of course it does), I find myself with a dilemma that confounds me. I dislike summer heat and winter cold, but fresh apples in the autumn? Nothin’ better.