Teacher and psychotherapist Mathias B. Freese holds masters degrees in secondary education and social work from Queens College of the City University of New York and Stony Brook University. His short fiction has appeared in Jewish Currents, Pig Iron Press, and Skywriters, among other magazines. His nonfiction articles have appeared in the New York Times, Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, and Publishers Marketing Association Newsletter. In 2005, the Society of Southwestern Authors honored him with a first-place award for personal essay/memoir.
Recently, I had the honour of chatting with Mathias B Freese
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I succumb to plot. It numbs me. It perplexes me. I can say with fervor that most of my work comes from aimless meandering until I find a path and I quickly get on it. Serendipity rules me.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I can only speak for myself. I see a few writers I know obsess over making a buck. Can’t blame them. But it does get in the way when you start out thinking of your market rather than what contribution you can make to the writing world at large.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
To write requires an ego of substance; it all comes down to the management of that conscious pulse. Follow the doctor’s wisdom – Do no harm.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have gotten much from an editor friend, David Herrle – how to shape your book, how to place your chapters for maximum effect, how to cut chapters although you love them dearly, and so on. He is a poet of note as well, so we both share our respect for terseness and concision.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A title of a chapter from my recent book says it all for me. Dive, delve, descend. And to continue as I am now, someone with considerable drive.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Believe it or not, I write as if the other person is more a human being than a gender. I know something of men and women but much more about them as human beings.
What is your favourite childhood book?
ROBIN HOOD, I believe by Harold Lamb. It moved me deeply, emotionally, especially the death scene of Robin as he is bled to death “medically.” The book created empathy in me.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I would never do that. I don’t play games.
How many hours a day do you write?
I have never followed a pattern. I write when it comes upon me. No pressure in that way. And there are no rules, believe me.
Tell us about your latest projects and where we can find them?
Since 2005 I have written a book every two years. In that is more of a personal achievement than as a writer. AND THEN I AM GONE may be my last effort. Who knows? I am 77.