Monday, July 19, 2010

Grub Tales: Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean is author of the story collection Why the Long Face? (2008) and the novel Blue Winnetka Skies (2004). His fiction has appeared in GQ, Greensboro Review, Fiction International, Night Train, Other Voices and other quarterlies. He is a recipient of the Frederick Exley Award for Short Fiction and a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. He holds a Doctor of Arts from the University at Albany, SUNY, and has been a proud part of team Grub since 2004.

RUN FOR GRUB: What has Grub Street meant to you?
RON MacLEAN: A writing home; a place to teach at a high level with students who are serious about the craft and colleagues (and students) who challenge and inspire me; a community of friends; an organization I care deeply about giving back to.

RUN FOR GRUB: Can you define your Grub community?
RON MacLEAN: I’ve always looked at Grub Street as – and tried to help make it – a home for writers in the Boston area. So I define my Grub community in light of that. Whoever defines themselves as a writer in the Boston area. Whoever comes to visit is a guest in that home. It’s one of the things I love about Grub as a destination: if you’re there, whether as a student, an instructor, a party-goer, a guest at the Muse, whatever – you’re part of the community. It’s a big, open free-floating network, in the best sense of that word.

RUN FOR GRUB: Grub Street almost closed in 2001, but--thank goodness--it reinvented itself as a nonprofit instead. What would you have lost if Grub had withered away eight years ago?
RON MacLEAN: Half my friends. Most of my moral support. My favorite place to teach. My clubhouse. And one of the few institutions that helps me believe anything is possible.

RUN FOR GRUB: Have you ever complained at a bookstore because the manager wasn’t stocking enough books by Grub Street writers on the shelves?
RON MacLEAN: YES! How did you know?

RUN FOR GRUB: So a little bird tells me you hate running but stand behind marathon crazy. Any shot you’ll consider running with me if I do this again next year?
RON MacLEAN: No, no, and absolutely no. If, however, you want to do a century bike ride, we can talk.

RUN FOR GRUB: I'm sensing some, um, resistance on your part around the whole running thing, though I have to say the idea of a century bike ride has me cocking my head like an intrigued puppy. Especially given that I haven't had so much as a nibble in response to my request for company should I decide to repeat the marathon next year. Alas, Peddle for Prose doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Run for Grub does...

Catherine Elcik is running her first marathon to raise money for a scholarship fund for Grub Street, Inc, an independent writing center in Boston, MA.

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