Today I have the privalge of interviewing George Geisinger. Mr. Geisinger is a seasoned writer who has written about many subjects that relate to his personal experiences; some are short stories, while others are novels. His passion for writing shows that despite your disability, creativity can find away to enrich your life.
George Geisinger studied music education in the early 1970’s at Appalachian State University, in North Carolina, but after two years of study, he had a disastrous turn of health, with which he has struggled for a lifetime. Mr. Geisinger, a naturally creative person, composes music for classic guitar, as well as for piano, writes poetry, fiction, and autobiographical stories. In the late 1980’s, Mr. Geisinger achieved an Associate in Arts Degree in the liberal arts from Catonsville Community College, in Maryland. He studied creative writing there, and has subsequently published short stories and poetry in literary and “little” magazines over a period of several years thru the 1980’s and 90’s. Now, he publishes independently on Amazon and WordPress
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I enjoy expressing myself, and writing gives me the opportunity to go on at some length about what’s on my mind. When I write, I’m the one who’s in charge. I don’t have to worry about time or space. I do the saying, and no one else is directly involved at the time, while I’m developing my expression. It helps me to organize my thoughts, which is challenging to me, considering my disability.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write classic fiction, as well as various confessional autobiographical pieces. I’ve been to a lot of psychotherapy, and I’ve finally found a therapist I can write to: It is my laptop!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I’ve written several books; that is, I’ve written a plethora of short stories I’ve collected into book format. The most difficult thing about writing, for me, has been developing the determination to keep on writing, after I finished one or two book-length works. Once I got over that hurtle, I’ve been writing like a house afire ever since. It’s the one book syndrome I found difficult to get past.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Let me see… I don’t figure out plots ahead of time. I figure out some kind of hook, or setting for a story to take place, and do the fleshing out from an overall scheme of an idea.
Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?
I think that’s a question every writer should ask himself. I work very hard at making myself understood on the page, and also work hard at being entertaining and amusing when I write. With a certain kind of reader in mind, I address my public with a thought of conscience and purpose. I feel a moral imperative to write, and believe absolutely that there is an audience out there who needs to read what I write.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
In many of my stories, I’d like the reader to come away with the idea that they absolutely don’t have to continue practicing any of their addictions, regardless of whatever they might be addicted to, that there is Divine help out there for every practicing addict of every conceivable addiction. In others of my stories, I’d simply like my reader to come away entertained.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That there is a God, and we’re not it. He is very powerful and caring. He wants us to ask Him to help us, with the things we cannot do without His help. That it’s alright to trust Him, and that He’s Someone worthy of our trust.
How long have you been a writer?
All my life. I’m over 60 at the moment.
How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?
I did some publishing of short fiction and poetry in the little magazine and literary magazine markets in the 1980’s and 90’s, but when I started writing my autobiographical stuff, my message, if you will, I went straight to Amazon Kindle, because there’s no editor on the other end to say “No,” we won’t publish that.” It’s left up to the reader to choose for himself.
What other careers have you had?
I’ve been a disabled citizen all my adult life, struggling to do the most simple delivery driving jobs, or factory jobs on occasion. I’m registered disabled with Social Security, and live off a pension.
Do you write under more than one name? Why?
I haven’t done much with pseudonyms. Whenever I want to write about myself, I’ll make up a name to call myself, and become one of the characters in the story, not the pseudonymous author. Stanley Hockenschmidt is one of my several aliases. Another one I enjoy using is Barry Burns. I’d rather sign my own name to my own work..
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
Yes. Speaking of my nonfiction, well, of course they’re real people and real events. Speaking of my fiction, there is always a dose of reality mixed into the fictional setting of whatever I’m writing at that moment. I believe fiction ought to ring true to the reader.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
I’m a circumlocutionist, not a quick study.
What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
That I know very well what I’m writing about, and what I’m trying to say, regardless of the fact that my disability has to do with a hampering of my brain function.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I’m trying my best to be informative, and inspirational, without being pedantic, if I can avoid it. My father was an unsuccessful Methodist Minister. I’m not trying to take over his pulpit and finish what he left undone. I’m trying to circulate my own message, generated by my own calling.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
There have been so many, it would be impossible to come up with a list. I’ve read a lot of classic English and American Literature, as an independent study project for much of my sober life, which spans about thirty years. When I was first recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, one of the things I did to organize my thinking was read classic literature voraciously.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My family and friends are proud of the idea that I’m doing as much writing as I’m doing. My brother and his wife have been very supportive, taking me to get a current day laptop, with an amazing amount of storage space, to help me with my creativity when I asked them to.
Where are you from?
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, raised from the age of 13 in Aberdeen, MD, spent most of my life in the Baltimore area of MD, and now reside in the Tidewater Area of Southern VA.
How do you come up with the titles?
I do my best to settle on one word, or a very short phrase, to save my file shortly after I begin a project, which becomes the title of whatever project I’m working on. On rare occasions, one of my friends with give me a title that I can wrap a story around.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
No, because I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer, in one context or another.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
I mostly write one story at a time.
When not writing, how do you relax?
I like to go for walks around the hallways of the big assisted living building where I live. It helps me clear my mind, and it’s all contained indoors. Sometimes, I’ll mindlessly flip channels on the TV, or listen to Funk music on my stereo.
Thank you very much for giving us insight into your life as a writer, Mr. Geisinger!