Nick Reding

recorded in St. Louis, MO

 

Nick Reding

I’m Nick Reding and I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I was born west of St. Louis in an area called Chesterfield, in 1972, and I left there when I was 18, to go to school, and I moved back 18 years later. I now live in the city proper of St. Louis.


The Knox Writers’ House

Is there a writing community in St. Louis you would consider yourself a part of?


Reding

You know, I have a couple friends who are writers, but it doesn’t feel as much like a community as it does just two people who I like a lot who happen to do the same thing. Although, there was a funny thing in…I think it was the paper the other day, where somebody has written a book that contends that St. Louis now has a writing community that’s on par with Paris in the 1920s, which seems like a kind of awkward argument to try and make, but I don’t know, I haven’t read the book, it may well be fully fledged. I don’t know if there’s a real strong community here. My wife and I drove here from New York, where I’d been living for 14 years, and where she’s from, and the night we got here, she took a pregnancy test and she was pregnant, so our entire time here has been being pregnant and having a child, so we haven’t had much of a chance to form any kind of community.


KWH

Do you feel that’s something you need, as a writer?


Reding

I don’t think so. When I lived in New York, I only had one friend who was a writer, and we didn’t talk about writing. We talked about everything but. For me, I just need a place that’s cheap to live, more than anything [laughs]. And when I go on book tours, it’s nice to meet like-minded people, but I don’t miss it, I don’t think about it. I think it’s also, being from here, almost nobody with whom I grew up lives here anymore, which is typical, unfortunately, in a lot of areas of the Midwest. But I nonetheless have my things that I’ve always done. I look at writing as work, and I don’t like to be in the office any more than anybody with any job. I’d rather be out doing what I love to do. Writing is kind of a job, as opposed to a lifestyle, I guess.


KWH

Do you think there’s a Midwestern voice or aesthetic in writing right now, or do you think you’re part of a Midwestern voice?


Reding

I don’t know that I would locate myself in that. One of the things that occurs to me about the Midwest is that it’s sort of foolishness that Missouri and North Dakota would be considered part of the same region. To me, the unifying aspect of the Midwest is in some ways the fact that the lines that designate it seem awfully arbitrary to me. I think that Missouri, as a for instance, is a much more Southern place than a Midwestern place. So in terms of voice, I don’t know about locating myself, but I know that what I like to read are things that feel more—I love Southern fiction. And I guess I’m not sure where I’m headed with that, but I don’t think I’ve written enough books to be considered part of anything is what I’m trying to say [laughs].

from  Methland

from  Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

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