Bob, folklore says you never took a writing class but wrote every day for twenty years, alone, reading books on craft, before selling your first story at forty-two. Would you recommend the path of ‘closet writer’ to others?
Pulp Literature: Bob Thurber: I wouldn’t dare make recommendations concerning anyone’s path. In my case, I really didn’t know what I was doing for a good many years. My original plan had been go to college and study for a degree in journalism, but life got in the way of that. Personal circumstances required I take an alternate route to learning how to write. So I had a plan B, then a plan C. I went through the entire alphabet. My life kept changing so I had to keep adjusting. Early on, all I wanted to write was non-fiction, opinion pieces, Sunday magazine kind of stuff. Light commentary with a humorous flair. And maybe some bad poetry, or rambling prose poems when the feeling struck. Then I got hooked on the short story. I couldn’t stop reading them. I gobbled up everything from Maupassant to Barthelme, and I became obsessed with learning how they pulled off the tricks they pulled, the craftsmanship, the accuracy, the subtle vagueness,