Friday, June 12, 2009

Rob McGowan: Writer/"Shooter"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Who he? 3157/1244821550-rob_nam_69.jpg

He's Memphian Rob McGowan, circa '69, in a pic taken at Oakland Army Base on his return from Vietnam, and he wore the "PEACE NOW" button under the lapel of his uniform. The Savage Kick, a British journal specializing in murder and mayhem, is running that photo, along with one of McGowan's more gruesome stories, "Worse Feeling There Is" — uncharacteristically gruesome, he'd like it known — a story from McGowan's yet to be published NAM: Things That Weren't True and Other Stories. (For the title story from that collection, see the summer 2007 issue of South Dakota Review.)

Less gruesome: McGowan's art-world short story "A Clutter of Old Papers" (from his yet to be published UNTITLED: Artist Stories), a story that will appear this fall in the Connecticut Review.

What else is there from McGowan, who's been writing like mad and getting published like crazy the past few years?

A personal essay in Etchings, an Australian journal, is already out, and there's another personal essay in Wild Apples (out of Massachusetts).

Brand, a literary and art journal out of London, has a photo by McGowan. (The subject: a set of steps on Central, near Cooper-Young.)9197/1244821933-approaches__8.jpg Rome Review, out of Washington, D.C., is running a portfolio of photos in the fall, those photos based, again, in Cooper-Young.

North Carolina's Crucible is running another Vietnam story. Gander Press Review (Kentucky): another art-world story. Plain Spoke (Indiana): another essay.

McGowan has worked as a teacher, librarian, book-store media manager, and art critic for the Memphis Flyer. He was also founder of Number:, the local arts journal, and he was founder of what was the Memphis Center for Contemporary Art on South Main (when South Main was practically a ghost town).
He's an artist himself still. Now he's a writer more than ever — short stories, novels, essays, you name it. Except:
"In my down moments," McGowan says, "I've thought I should maybe write a family saga or quirky mysteries or some good ol' Southern redneck song-and-dance. But, alas, none of that is what's in me to write."

Check it out, all over the map: what is in McGowan to write (and, with his camera — no gun — shoot).

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