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Fiction author discusses writing, promotes book

Rebecca O'Neil | Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Several dozen Saint Mary’s students studying the work of author Grant Bailie met the fiction writer in person Monday.

The Cleveland-based author promoted his upcoming book “TomorrowLand,” a compilation of short stories. Bailie read excerpts from the work in the Haggar College Center.

Bailie said he found a love for the arts at a young age. While growing up, Bailie said he knew he would be a painter or a writer.

“If I was talking to my art teacher, I would say I wanted to be a writer,” Bailie said. “If I was talking to my English teacher, I would say I wanted to be an painter. I was difficult that way.”

While Bailie ultimately chose to take up a pen rather than a paintbrush, he said he still indulges his love for drawing.

“I draw illustrations to see what image I’m trying to portray,” Bailie said.

Bailie is well known as an author that is unafraid to take unique approaches to his craft. In 2005, he participated in a controversial live-art installation called “Novel: A Living Installation at Flux Factory.” During the project, he lived in the gallery for two months and wrote while guests watched.

“I do very well in captivity, as it turns out,” Bailie said of his month in isolation.

During the live-in art installation he completed two novels, “New Hope for Small Men” and “The Buddha Pill.”

Bailie compared books to dreams.

“I like them to go in ways I don’t expect,” Bailie said. “I want this when I read and when I write.”

Bailie’s said his novels center around a “nostalgic disappointment in the future.”

In “TomorrowLand,” Bailie said he wrote the book with an abstract structure.

“The book itself was a lawyer who became a security guard, who became a real estate agent, who became a book,” Bailie said as he explained the book’s intended format.

The author said he recognizes that depressing sentimentalism doesn’t exactly entice the readers and acknowledges the genius in comic relief. His novels take on a cynical tone rather than a depressed one, he said.

“A great deal of humor keeps life in perspective,” Bailie said. “Any great art has humor in it, like Shakespeare.”