Olive Branch, Mississippi is home. What used to be a map dot just south of Memphis is now a booming community. There are few gravel roads left, all the dairy farms have long closed down, but Olive Branch still holds firm to small town values at its core.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
My backyard is our family farm. The pastures, forests, and The Coldwater River have watched five generations of our family dwell in their presence. The greatest thing about where I call home is that regardless of this wonderful land, home is my family. It truly is a blessing to walk my children through the fields in order for them to visit their grandparents.
What turns you on creatively?
Creativity and inspiration come in many forms for an artist. Music is influential upon me and either sets, or encourages, the artistic mood. From Ludovico Einaudi and Apocalyptica, Blue October to George Strait, and U2 to Kevin Max, there is always a song to provide a beat for the heart’s pen to follow. …Art, specifically Van Gogh, inspires me as well. Even an individual who is not inclined to gaze upon a painting cannot help but stand in awe in the physical presence of a true masterpiece. …Then, there is my muse. The words of F. Scott Fitzgerald are profound as he states, “…and that is the beginning and end of everything.”
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
As a writer and student of the English language, I find appreciation in the quest for the best word for the moment. It is exhilarating how words can be so simple, yet so deep and complex, once they are dissected to their purest forms. Such a word would be fire. Should a sentence in poetic form come to mind, it would be this:
Set me on fire; let others watch me burn.
What is your pet peeve?
Oh, my word. This could fill a journal or twelve. From a college professor’s side of the desk, I would have to say it’s the sense of entitlement that I so often witness. I’m not too keen on fostering laziness or holding hands or issuing participation trophies. I’d rather deal with the person who gives their best efforts than cater to those with the mindset that the next level should be handed to them on a silver platter. …rap music, chewing food with an open mouth, excessive cursing, and lack of clarity are a few more that come to mind. …disrespect irritates me. Open doors for ladies, listen to those who speak without allowing the mind to wander, and display integrity through tribulations. I believe we can learn something from each individual we meet, so when I see people being disrespectful towards another, it irks me.
What defines Greg Massey?
Simply complicated. I’m a wanderlust, and this includes the mind and spirit. I’m also just the Mississippi farm boy who likes to sit on his porch and enjoy the moment at hand. I would define myself, though I don’t think I’m all that cut out for being defined, as a student; a student in life, of people, of bettering myself for another… I’m a poet and a writer. Hemingway states that “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The bleeding part is what encompasses me. I’m all in, or I’m not. There’s very little gray area with me. I’m simply complicated.
JAN/FEB 2020 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Greg Massey is an American writer and poet who resides on his farm in Olive Branch, Mississippi. He obtained his B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of MS and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Greg is an English professor at Northwest Community College.