What is the role of art in the world? And what is the responsibility of the artist? After the death of his wife, Michael Benchere, a well-respected sculptor and once-famous architect, looks for ways to redefine the meaning of his life through the purpose of his art. Determined to create a sculpture that celebrates nothing more than the pure beauty of art, Benchere heads into the Kalahari Desert, where he is followed quite unexpectedly by a ragtag mix of people. Over the course of his months in...Forward
Writing is Zen.
Writing isn’t about inspiration or waiting for your muse to arrive and undress.
Writing is about getting down to it, about finding your way into the moment and sustaining the energy for as long as you can effectively and in the rhythm of your narrative.
I used to teach creative writing at Eastern Michigan University. (I loved teaching and but for the demands on my time from my myriad of other projects I would still be teaching; but I digress.) My students were grad-level,...Forward
“Gillis keeps it tight, focusing on Benchere, who is engagingly free of self-importance and hard not to love. Benchere might be a little willfully oblivious to the forces his work unleashes, but he’s also the kind of guy who, when offered the chance to make a profit by bringing luxury goods to the Kalahari for onward sale, swaps that for the opportunity to smuggle in his dog. Gillis also writes with economy and verve, a bit the way Benchere makes his art. This is a book with a message—and...Forward
Did you read Steven Gillis’ excerpt from Benchere in Wonderland and want to know more about this author? Yes? Well, thank you The Nervous Breakdown for posting his Self Interview:
Steven GillisWould you care to elaborate?
Steven GillisArtists make art. As a writer I write. The process begins there. To become distracted during the creation of one’s art with thoughts of attracting an audience and worse, garnering awards and fame, is the surest way to kill the soul of an artist. I write what I...Forward
Steven Gillis guests on Carl Woflson’s Get Lit! segment on XRAY.fm 91.1 to discuss his upcoming novel Benchere in Wonderland (9/15/15) and how all his novels begin with a philosophical question. Carl and Steve cover a range of topics such as why Benchere is set in Africa; does art have meaning without an audience?; and what it’s like to be called the “21st-century heir to Saul Bellow and John Cheever.”
Listen to the podcast at XRAY.fm 91.1.
“This month—and yes, there’s still time to join and receive this book—we’re reading Benchere in Wonderland by Steven Gillis, about which Dawn Raffel, author of The Secret Life of Objects, writes:
Steven Gillis has created an indelible character in Benchere and let him loose in a slyly subversive wonderland of art, violence, love, grief, greed, and grand ideals. At once magnificently strange and achingly intimate, Gillis’ novel lingers and burns long after the covers are shut.
“Gillis also sets up a conversation about art and the artist’s role (or lack thereof) in political conversations. Should art’s influence be removed from politics—can it be? Equal parts adventure, sociopolitical critique, love story, and emotional exploration, Benchere in Wonderland is a meditation on the fact that “all actions have consequences,” whether immediately predictable or not.
To read the entire review, go to Foreword Reviews.
Richard Grayson, author of Winter in Brooklyn calls Steven Gillis “the 21st-century heir to Saul Bellow, John Cheever, and Stanley Elkin.” In Benchere in Wonderland, Gillis asks, “What is the role of art in the world? And what is the responsibility of the artist?” After the death of his wife, Michael Benchere, a well-respected sculptor and once-famous architect, looks for ways to redefine the meaning of his life through the purpose of his art. Determined to create a sculpture that celebrates...Forward