Joseph Tidwell joined the Writers’ League last November. He lives in Burbank, California but is relocating to Austin with his family in the near future.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Joseph Tidwell: Dramatic fiction, comedic fiction, novels and screenwriting, playwriting, short stories, poetry, biographies and ghost writing on many topics. I have also taught screenwriting on and off for sixteen years and plan on doing that when I move to Austin.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
JT: Since I had the opportunity to lunch several times with Horton Foote at his home in Wharton and study with Edward Albee, I would think a long lunch perhaps with Chekhov or Proust might be very interesting. Of course again, I would love to have a visit with a whole bunch of authors if the Tempter himself didn’t have to know.
Coffee or beer… hum… well I would love to sit and talk at length with Tennesse Williams again. I met him in the early sixties and it would for sure be a little heavier beverage than the aforementioned. I’m positive whiskey would be the call. In a short time he taught me a good deal about writing depth of soul. As a writer, his main advice was “getting some reality under your fingernails with your words so to speak.” He critiqued the very first draft of my stage play Southern Rapture, that Dwight Yoakam made his acting debut in with Peter Fonda directing.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
JT: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men written by James Agee and photographs by Walker Evans. Of course I’d have to cheat the devil and take along a few more books he wouldn’t have to know about.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
JT: My association with the Writer’s League has been a short one so far, only two or three months I think. But after hearing about it for a couple of years and all the wonderful writers who were members I thought hell, I better get with the program and get my butt back to Texas and some like minds so I could learn something. My wife and I plan on moving down around Austin somewhere as soon as she retires from Walt Disney Studios or sooner if one of my screenplays is produced between now and then.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
JT: Hummm, interesting question. Well, its sure has jerked me a thousand ways from hell all these years. Run my ragged ass from place to place and took me through more mental phases and stages than Willie could think of, so I guess I’m gonna be like one of my characters in my Texas Fables, (The Whip Gunn Series) who says, “Whichever way my (literary) nose is pointed at the time is where I’m bound.”
I try with all my heart and soul to create, even though fictitious “real characters and real events and places”–at least in the minds of my readers. On the other hand I have taken my writing to many a dark place but fortunately for me the bright spots ruled over that. When you write and tell stories for a long time you eventually run through most every kind of story known to man. As my character Millard T. Lippenpool III in Palace Of The Oleander Moon says, “Some stories are unknown to man as of yet.”