By Jessie Fanczi
Before he was a creative writing professor and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing director at Reinhardt, Bill Walsh was a restaurant owner, swimming pool repairman, newspaper deliverer, computer programmer and private investigator. Those experiences, he tells students, have enabled him to become a better writer.
“Certainly, you can create an entire world from nothing,” said Walsh, “but working an interesting, weird job will provide insight into many aspects of life, characterization and motivation. Having an adventure will allow you to pull from those experiences and create the terrain.”
Walsh has had his share of adventure, including winning an exhibition tennis match with partner and Wimbledon-champ Don Johnson, running a sub-5-minute mile, holding his breath underwater for nearly 4 minutes, and camping with his sons in the Netherlands, Canada and Uganda.
Because of these experiences, which have made their way into many of his poems and novels, Walsh teaches his students that they don’t have to choose between following their passions and making a living.
“No doubt, every student needs to think about their education in terms of a career. However, do not make the mistake of choosing your career path based on money. Life is too short to be in a career for 20 or 30 years only to dream about something else. Dream now,” said Walsh. “And just remember, anything you tell me might end up in a poem.”
Walsh’s latest poetry collection, Fly Fishing in Times Square, will be published by Cervena Barva Press in May.