John McDonough was born in New England, but currently resides in Dickinson, North Dakota. He has spent time as a Park Ranger, Dog Groomer, and Lifegaurd. Currently he works at Dickinson State College. He has two stamps left to get on his Montana Dinosaur Trail Passport before it is complete.
John's work appeared in Pond 49
Why do you write?
I write because I like to feel, and even more so than that I like making others feel. Writing is a little bit like doing magic, only we aren’t pulling rabbits out of hats. When I am on, I can reach behind your ear and pull out the feeling you got when you were nine and your dad didn’t have enough time to play catch with you. I like that.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
I am earnestly dedicated to the craft of wiffle ball. I rather like pitching. I can produce no velocity whatsoever, so I rely heavily on junk balls. Making the plastic sphere do unexpected things at unexpected times. Changing the angles… playing with timing and delivery… well damn… look at me… now I’m talking about writing again.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Poetry begins and ends with Frank O’hara for me. I strive to be as simultaneously jaded and in love with the world as the speakers were in his work. His words are seamlessly and effortlessly dynamic. If all poets are magicians, than he is the love child of Merlin and Houdini.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
Smoke. Lots of smoke. I am a pen and paper guy, so all of my notebooks just radiate cigar smoke. I used to write a lot in cigar lounges, until I moved to North Dakota where it is illegal (freedom hating bastards). I don’t miss it much, there can be a lot of misdirected and juvenile masculinity in cigar lounges. When one of the old farts finds out you are writing poetry, it can be just a hop skip and a jump until they are stoning you as a Witch. Massachusetts is known for that sort of thing.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
Magikarp is the most dynamic carp that I can think of. Compelling in a lot of ways, this fish really seems to embody the American Ideal. A rugged individual, this little pokemon proves: from even the most humble among us anything is possible. You could even become a big blue dragon for Christ’s sake.