Creative Writing at The New School

Randy Winston is the Associate Fiction Editor at Slice Literary Magazine, creator of Milkshake Scholar, and a first grade hula hoop champion ('92-'93). He earned his MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction 2016) from The New School. He has been published at Medium, BrooklynMagazine, Slice Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. Winston is represented by Ed Maxwell (Greenburger Assoc.).

1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?

Protagonist? I'm rolling with Nadia from Mohsin Hamid's Exit West. I sobbed on the Q train from Church Ave to Union Square when she... Well... You'll have to read Exit West; I'm not one to spoil things. Nadia was a force in that book. Patient, stern in her morals, calm under pressure. I trust her with my life.  

I'm going to cheat and roll with another protagonist, Mrs. Vhd Vhd from Italo Calvino's Distance of the Moon, one of the greatest short stories in greatest short story history. She was the captain's wife but loved another man, the main character's cousin. The cousin (he had no name) was in love with the moon.

When Mrs. Vhd Vhd realizes cousin's love for the moon is too great, she stays on the moon alone to become one with the one thing the main character's cousin loved more than her. And every night when he looks to the moon he sees Mrs. Vhd Vhd. 

2. When did you know you were a writer?

In middle school. I wrote poems for my friends in the days leading up to Valentine's Day. That's when I knew I was destined for greatness. Ironically, I had no one to write poems to. 

3. What are you currently working on?

Being simple, squeezing milkshakes into a diet that restricts me from having dairy, life without Waffle House, and a manuscript I've deleted more times than Facebook (I hope my agent doesn't see this).

4.  How has your writing process changed over the years?

In undergrad I'd wake up at 5:15AM every morning and write until my hands ached and a migraine set in. I'd keep my door and the curtains closed until I reached my word count or chapter count for the day. Today I have a full-time job which means writing after 5PM and on weekend mornings. There's no true blueprint to any of this. These days I write with my eyes and ears more than I do my hands. I read a lot more as well. And what works for one draft of a manuscript won't always work for another; I understand this and try not to fight it. 

5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.

In 2010 a classmate told me my writing reminded him of Jim Morrison, "lyrical" he said. I personally would've liked Jimi Hendrix or Marvin Gaye, but a compliment's a compliment. 

Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.  

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