Featured writer: J.P.J. Fox

Picture of J.P.J. Fox and brother Russ - 1959
Me (left) and my brother Russ – 1959

Biography

     Raised in Litchfield County, Connecticut, Jason Paul Fox came to Westchester County, New York in 1976 to study at Pace University. Perfectly situated between New England and Fire Island, he stayed. A 35 year career in IT kept him busy, while Fire Island relaxed him and New England kept him grounded. Annual visits to New Orleans became habitual.

Pictue of Fox siblings in 1964
Fox siblings – 1964

     Then after an early retirement, he began writing short stories from imaginary places, to appease ideas cluttering his alter ego’s mind. He chose to write as J.P.J. Fox because he remembered creating that byline name in his late teens (but can’t recall why).

     As an introverted Scorpio and veteran middle child, he knows he’s not easy to live with, so living alone suits him fine and gives him time and space to write. But he’s hardly antisocial. He finds people to be far more fascinating than their social media, and he treasures his friends more than they know.

Interview

confetti: Who or what inspired you to write?
J.P.J. Fox (JPJF): A composition teacher in high school encouraged me to write when I was 17. My favorite genre at the time was short story, so I started drafting ideas for short stories, but then got distracted with college and an internship that turned into a 35 year career. After I retired early, I soon realized I needed a hobby. Short story writing came to mind after I read “Sea Oak” by George Saunders on the flight home from a vacation in New Orleans. I dove right into writing and haven’t stopped since.

confetti: 
How would you characterize your writing style? 
(JPJF): Developing. Meticulous. I write conceptually, and usually more about character than plot. Some readers have mentioned resemblance to Raymond Carver, but perhaps that’s a stretch!

confetti: 
What are you currently reading?
(JPJF): Mostly the writings—any genre—from members of various writing groups I participate in, or short stories and plays from publications that I explore and consider. Lately I like reading what people are writing now.

confetti: 
What are your three favorite books?
(JPJF): A Clockwork Orange, A Confederacy of Dunces and Webster’s Dictionary.

confetti: 
What are your three favorite movies?
(JPJF): The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Reservoir Dogs and The Big Lebowski come to mind.

confetti: 
What is your favorite song of all time?
(JPJF): One song? Seriously? Today I might say “99 Year Blues” by Hot Tuna because it’s stuck in my head. Tomorrow it could be “Come On in My Kitchen” sung by Aoife O’Donovan with Crooked Still, or “Donkey Town” by Mark Knopfler with Emmy Lou Harris. Both songs tell a short story inside a fitting tune. And all the aforementioned tunes (CDs) have been in my car the past few months.
     But you asked for an all-time favorite. . . . I’ll dig deeper and settle with “Oh Well” by Peter Green with Fleetwood Mac—in 1969. Those powerful first few minutes. And the lyrics resonate for me. They’re sharp, yet honest, in a way I strive to be honest about myself.

confetti: 
What advice would you give to young writers?
(JPJF): Don’t get distracted like I did or procrastinate. Make time to write. If you haven’t already, join a writers’ group. Developing your writing craft takes time and effort. More importantly—writing can be rewarding—so even when it’s a struggle, enjoy the challenge!

Here are some pictures that remind me of good times, and I look cool . . .

. . . and I don’t care what you think about wearing socks with sandals. They’re comfy, and I’m old enough to do it.

But don’t ask me what I think about you
I might not give the answer that you want me to

~ from “Oh Well” by Peter Green, 1969

Short Fiction Excerpts

“Coincidences will confuse you … Don’t dwell on them, but don’t ignore them if they bring pain or joy.”
     —from Lifeline

“You left the house in the Spider Man costume we bought you. . . . And then you did this behind my back and your mother’s.”
     —from Trick or Treat

Buzzy found people vexing. Everyone. Like they were impossible to avoid.
     —from Buzz Off

… a man was crouched on the curb, sobbing into his hands. Sitting beside him a boy, about six years old, looked bewildered and scared.
     —from Nobody Was Hurt

Writer Profile for J.P.J. Fox

Use the “Leave a Comment” form below to submit comments.

confetti

confetti

Westchester Writers Workshop Magazine

confettimag.org

 © 2021–2022 Westchester Writers Workshop  All rights reserved.confetti

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: