Get to know Clayton Bradshaw, our newest AB Newsletter collaborator.
AquaBrew: So Clayton, What brought you to San Marcos? How long have you been around here?
Clayton: I came to San Marcos two years ago to begin working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Texas State. I have one more year left in that endeavor, but I have fallen in love with San Marcos and the river that embodies its culture, so I might stick around after I'm done with school. AquaBrew: What made you start writing? How did this become not only your passion but also your career?
Clayton: After I left the Army, writing became a therapeutic exercise. I read Hemingway in a deep, dark moment of my life and decided that I should pursue this activity that had become central ito my life. I went to school to learn how to share my story, but, now, I have the tools to tell more stories about more subjects. AquaBrew: What kind of stories can we expect from you from this point on?
Clayton: While I have historically focused on veteran experiences (the subject of the book I am writing), I plan on branching out into fantasy and science fiction as I move forward in my career. Currently, I'm developing an idea in my head about a small, community based around a river. It is filled with mermaids and other fantastic creatures that look to preserve the magical flow of the water that gives them life. AquaBrew: Understanding you’re probably an avid reader, what are the three top reads that you feel everyone should do this summer? Clayton: I would have to begin with Karen Russell's Orange World. Karen writes magical realism with a beautifully poetic voice. She is absolutely obsessed with haunting images and ideas. Jennifer DuBois's The Spectators is another one that is well worth the read. Jennifer loves the emergent I character, and she used it here in a book based on a Jerry Springer-type television show. Everyone should pick up Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys about two boys navigating Florida in the Jim Crow south. Whitehead won the Pullitzer for his last book, Underground Railroad.
AquaBrew: Writing has definitely changed in the digital age, it seems now that writers must think in a multimedia/Transmedia way, and add other types of media to their articles and stories, do you agree with that statement? Where do you think that your field is heading in the future?
Clayton: Literary mediums have been evolving since spoken poems about mythical heroes reigned supreme in ancient times. The digital age simply provides more opportunity for writers. Developing a following on Twitter has changed the face of the literary establishment. Instagram poets such a Rupi Kaur have dominated book sales in poetry. Freelance work is much easier to come by thanks to the internet. Sites like Medium permit self-publication, while Amazon has made it possible to easily publish books without suffering constant rejection. To be a successful writer able to tell a story, we have to adapt to this changing medium. I've written entire essays on Google Maps. We have also learned to tell a story in 5,000 words instead of 15,000 to adapt to digital magazines. Writing will evolve with technology and social consciousness. We will create choose-your-own-adventure stories that are clickable on twine apps. We will bring the reader in closer through social media while incorporating more visual elements.
AquaBrew: Tell us something interesting about you that most people do not know Clayton: A friend of mine just learned that I make my own barbecue sauce. It's an apple cider barbecue sauce that I like to slap all over ribs when I grill.
AquaBrew: So, What’s your favorite AB brew or dish? Why did you decide to join our newsletter as a new AB reporter?
Clayton: The Austin Street Porter BBQ Burger stands above the rest. I love a good beer-based barbecue sauce, and this one pairs so well with the juicy ground beef in AB burgers. I think that this newsletter is one that highlights the successes of the San Marcos community. AB is a place I like to go when I need a moment to sit and enjoy my food and drink away from the bustle of academic and professional life. I believe in community, so I want to contribute to this in any way possible.