I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota and was the oldest of three boys. After my father left home I was raised primarily by my mother who was a strong willed but compassionate woman. She taught me to be considerate of others and to not take myself too seriously, advice I still try to follow to this day.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I live in Long Lake, a small town of just under two thousand, located twenty miles west of Minneapolis. It is a land rich in rolling fields, woodlots and forests, not to mention its many lakes, pond and wetlands. A trail, a converted railroad track, runs from Minneapolis west to the central part of the state, a distance of sixty miles. I ride my bike on it for at least eight months out of the year and am fortunate to sometimes come across interesting wildlife. Last year I saw an owl, deer, wild turkeys, a pack of coyotes and a scarlet tanager. I do a lot of thinking on that trail, planning out stories. I’m fortunate that it’s there.
What turns you on creatively?
When it comes to writing I love the challenge of creating something out of thin air. I love coming up with an idea and running with it to see if I can create a story with emotional impact. If I read a finished story and it sends a shiver down my spine I know I’ve done the best I can.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
After my mind went blank thinking about how to answer this question, two words popped into my brain, transcendentalist and celestial. Here they are in a sentence:
The transcendentalist loved nature and would often close his eyes imagining a night sky filled with stars spinning in a cosmic celestial dance.
What is your pet peeve?
Like the transcendentalist in the above answer, I love nature. People who litter, don’t recycle and use chemical fertilizers drive me nuts. But first and foremost are people who don’t signal their turn when driving. It drives me crazy! What’s so difficult? The little lever is right there on the column. It’s easy to use, people, so use it! Please.
What defines Jim Bates?
I’d like to think I’m a decent human being. Sure, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in life but I’ve always tired to learn from those mistakes and do better the next time. Being a mistake prone person it’s a life long process. I try to look for the best in others, even my pet peeve people. With that in mind, a friend and I were talking recently and I was told that I was naive in my view of other people; that I had a simplistic and romanticized vision of others. After thinking about it for a minute, I had to agree and took it as a compliment. As far as I’m concerned there could be worse ways to be.
DECEMBER 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared online in CafeLit, The Writers' Cafe Magazine, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard, Spillwords, The Drabble and World of Myth Magazine, and in print publications: A Million Ways, Mused Literary Journal, Gleam Flash Fiction Anthology #2, The Best of CafeLit8, Nativity Anthology by Bridge House Publishing and Gold Dust Magazine. You can also check out his blog to see more: THE VIEW FROM LONG LAKE.