NLCU Fresh Fish Award Shortlist Profile Series: Terry Doyle

On Thursday, November 23, the winner of the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award will be announced. This week, we’re profiling the three talented WANL members who made the award’s shortlist.

Meet Terry Doyle!

Tell us about yourself and the type of writing you do, or that interests you.
I’m from the Goulds. I’m a stay-at-home-dad, and a plumber. I mainly write fiction, right now. Aiming for stories that are compelling, accessible, and hopefully feel true. I read almost exclusively fiction. Favourites lately are Michael Winter, George Saunders, and Lorrie Moore.

When did you start writing?
I started writing in my early 20s (I’m 35) and tried, unsuccessfully, to write a novel. Then I stopped. For a decade. In early 2016 my best friend got sick, and that prompted me to reevaluate my priorities, which led to me writing again. Because (a) it was therapeutic, and (b) life’s too short to not at least try to do what you really want.

What inspires your writing and keeps you motivated?
I’m inspired by the talent and passion that abounds in this city – not only in writing, but in all creative work. The arts community in St. John’s is more than one could hope for. Inspiring doesn’t even do it justice. I’m also inspired by previous failures – saying I’d do something and never again wanting to admit defeat. I’m doing it. Someway, somehow.

How do you recharge your creative batteries?
I recharge by playing ice hockey, playing Legos with my son, Burgess, and by getting a coffee and thrift shopping with my partner, Allison. And I read.

Are there people and activities that have helped you advance your writing?
I’ve been helped by so many I know I’ll miss someone. First, Meg Coles directed me to WANL, where I met Carmella Gray-Cosgrove, who was so warm and generous, and who then wrangled me an invitation to my writing group, The Naked Parade, who’ve been instrumental in making the last year productive and bright. Carmella also suggested I take courses at MUN, where I found the tutelage of Lisa Moore (!!!), in whose classes most of these stories [in the Fresh Fish manuscript] were born. I’ve also had the privilege to be awarded one of WANL’s mentorship programs, where I’ve worked one-on-one with Ed Kavanagh. Additionally, I’m incredibly lucky to have met and befriended Amy Donovan and Susie Taylor who both chat with me almost daily – connected as we are by our solitary endeavors – keeping me from wandering too far into my cave of stories.

Any advice or recommendations for future submitters to Fresh Fish?
Find or start a writing group. And take some of the creative writing workshops at Memorial. Feedback is essential, both giving and receiving. Other than that? Take it seriously. Art is Work. So work at it.