Michael Xavier is an American underground author who writes of love and loss and all the things that matter. As someone who prefers to let his words speak for themselves there isn’t a lot known about the mysterious figure that is Michael Xavier. It is my pleasure it offer our readers a little more insight into the man behind the writings.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from?
I was born in a small mill-town in northern Idaho, at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. I refer to my small town in many of my writings and the people I grew up around because I’ve traveled extensively and still haven’t found people quite like them. There is a heavy native American influence in northern Idaho, and though I haven’t been back in 25 years it’s never left me—from how I see the world in many ways and even down to the cadence in which I speak and write. When I travel, no one guesses where I’m from correctly. I like that.
What were you like as a kid?
I don’t know how to answer that except to say I was full of love despite not being loved.
Did you develop a love of words early on?
Words have always been a disease with me; I’m infected. They have controlled me through my addiction to them since I can remember. Whenever I read words that someone has put down in a particular order- no matter what the subject- there is a lightning bolt that fires through me. It is a palpable rush that I was struck by long ago and I wanted more- I still do. I am hunted by words- when they catch me, they devour most every synapsis of my brain. Until the story is on the paper. Until they are through. And with each story a new hunt begins.
Do you happen to remember what your very first favorite story was?
James and the Giant Peach and The Little Prince.
What do you love most about the act of writing?
You mean besides the drinking? (laughs) Writing is process, the discipline of writing. The act of writing. I have always been able to write, but when I discovered the process of writing I became a writer. There is so much that goes into that process for me. I study everything I can get my hands on- physics, religions (dogma), philosophy, mechanics- anything that I can pull apart and see how it works. If I can get my tiny brain to understand it, then it stays with me. It eventually comes out in my writing in ways that I’ve pitted it against my own experience; universal truths compared to my truth. When that happens and the words fall just so, I tend to believe in a certain form of magic. The words can’t come out fast enough, and as I’ve always said, they come from somewhere else—I am a simple conduit.
Were you surprised to see that your work has gained a somewhat of a cult following?
It is the best reward for any underground writer that lets their work speak for itself. I’m the luckiest bastard I know.
Do you enjoying writing things that make the reader feel deeply?
I enjoy that my work moves people deeply. It’s all I ever wanted; to find my tribe, the others like me. It is a common theme in my work and in my process. To move and be moved.
Do you think feeling is widely overlooked in today’s hectic, fast paced world?
No. But I believe that the time and silence it takes to delve into our feelings are lost in a million busy acts of self promotion. This modern culture we live in is not user friendly. It lures us into believing that we are not enough as we are and that where to be is more valuable than who we are with.
Are there any little known things about you that your readers might be surprised to learn?
I snore. Loudly. (references available upon request)
You often write of love. What are your personal feelings on the matter?
I have found that loyalty is more and more important to how I feel about love at any given moment. The love I write about in general is the love I hope to one day have. We will see how it all turns out, I suppose. But for me, and I suspect also others like me, have tasted the fickleness of what most call love. I am searching/writing about love that endures. It gives me hope when others read my words and say, “I feel this too.” It is a sort of communion. The best kind, if I may say. It is a kind of hope that is shared. Now what is more wonderful than that . . . . a collective well of hope to draw from.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Who was it?
“Mikey, If you kiss every girl on the block, no one’s going to wonder what it’s like to kiss you.” –Ron Alexander
He was one of a few adults I trusted as a young teen. He was a damn good man and I miss our talks while shooting hoops.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I have two books ready for publication: Heart Like A Hammer is a book of thoughts and prose. The second is a book of Novellas. I spent a lot of time editing Heart Like A Hammer, the manuscript started off with well over five hundred pages. I contemplated splitting it in to two separate books, but instead it will be most likely four hundred pieces placed in one of two chapters: Left ventricle/Right ventricle.
What do you think is the key to a life well lived?
Good friends. Good wine. Good conversation. Good food. (order optional depending on availability of each)
What are you feelings on death and such? How do you hope to be remembered when your time comes? What would you most like your last words to be?
I have lived longer than I, or anyone else that knows my past ever expected- every day is a chance to get it right, whatever that may be. I would like to be remembered for more than my writing, but if not I’m in my words so that’ll do just fine.
Last words will most likely be, “Darling, put the gun down, it isn’t that kind of night.”
What is the one thing you’d most like to accomplish before your time is up?
To be understood. Fully. . . . and to write a book in the south of France.
Anything you would like to say in closing?
Nothing that wouldn’t incriminate me further. It’s been a pleasure talking with you, and an honor to be interviewed by Van Gogh’s Ear.
For more information on his latest works please see: The Michael Xavier Fan Page