Go Forth (Vol. 22)
Go Forth is a series curated by Nicolle Elizabeth that offers a look into the publishing industry and contemporary small-press literature. See more of the series.
Reading Jamie Iredell is like sitting at a bar counter with an old friend you admire and respect who is saying, “I have got to tell you this story.” His sentences weave in a tone sometimes so languid, so poetic, that one feels as if they’re reading through softly crafted melody, no matter how harsh the content. His most recent collection of essays, I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac, is the rare kind of book that delivers painful stories, and in a way, he makes them our stories, too. We talked over email about writing, and his new collection.
NICOLLE ELIZABETH: When did you realize that you were a writer?
JAMIE IREDELL: The honest answer would be that I decided that I wanted to do this when I was nineteen and a sophomore in college and I took an introductory level creative writing course. But I had written before that. I was always a big reader as a kid, and often I’d finish a novel and think “I could write a story like that.” I’d start scribbling out my story, get a paragraph into it, look out the window, and decide that tossing the baseball around with my brother or dad was far more fun. So, while I wanted to do it when I was younger I had commitment issues, I guess you could say. When I left home for college I went through some pretty huge changes: I studied philosophy and psychology; I learned to play the guitar; and I started writing bad poetry. Just for fun though—no real work, no revision—until I took that creative writing class.