Spotlight On Writers - Zach Zajac, interview at

Spotlight On Writers – Zach Zajac

Spotlight On Writers

Zach Zajac



  1. Where, do you hail from?
I grew up in a western suburb of Chicago called Berwyn, Illinois. It’s a small working-class/lower-middle-class town wedged between the infinitely more famous suburbs of Cicero and Oak Park. Many people familiar with the area have no idea where it is. When I mention where I grew up, they usually assume I’m talking about the street named after my hometown.
  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

Where I currently live is next to a sizable forest preserve. It’s like living next to the woods from every fairy tale at certain hours of the day. When I’m having trouble with a project, I find it helpful to pack up my dog and go for a hike. Sometimes, I come home with a fairy tale of my own. Most of the time, I just get some desperately needed exercise.

  1. What turns you on creatively?

Nature. I’m not much of a pastoral poet by any stretch of the imagination, but something about being outside makes my brain boil (in a good way). The greener the space, the more my imagination plays. Right now, the Midwest is stumbling into the depths of winter, and I’m dreading it. Hopefully, my output doesn’t reflect that state of mind.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?

That’s hard to say. I tend to think about words within their contexts rather than in isolation. That’s not to say I don’t go through phases of overusing certain words. I’m currently in a horrific phase. For some reason, I keep reaching for it as a modifier for everything from nasty car accidents to disappointing meals.

The Dog stares through the window with horrific desire.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

I hate when a family member takes the trash out and forgets to replace the liner. It’s such an innocent transgression, but it happens so often that I can’t help being annoyed. It’s become a running joke in my household. My partner will wait in the kitchen for me to discover the empty can so she can see the look of rage on my face.

  1. What defines Zach Zajac?

When I was wasting a lot of a bank’s money on a theatre degree, my classmates and I had to do an exercise about branding. It consisted of each of us performing a monologue of our choosing while the rest wrote down what sort of “type” we thought of the performer as.

I saw myself as a leading man and was determined to prove it with a monologue about unrequited love from Harold Pinter’s Betrayal.

When it was my turn, I poured everything into that piece. My body vibrated with sensuality and angst. For two minutes, I felt like I would die without the love of my imaginary scene partner.

When I was finished, the room was entirely still, and I could barely contain my joy. I had done it. I had shown them what a brilliant artist I was. I was Brando. I was Dean. I was Montgomery goddamn Clift.

Then I got my classmate’s papers back. They had unanimously decided that I was the comic relief.

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This publication is part 384 of 397 in the series Spotlight On Writers