We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Wallace Maguire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark Wallace, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have innately been an artist throughout my life, working in multiple mediums. Graduating with a degree in English, there were not many opportunities to channel my creativity. After a fruitless attempt at making it in the music performance industry, I landed in journalism. I worked in news for 10 years and then segued into magazines where I finally was able to channel more of my artistic flair through creative nonfiction, art direction, and graphic design. That was a real joy for me and opened my eyes to see how much more fruitful work could be when one was pursuing a career that really fed one’s soul. Creative writing, especially writing my six novels the last several years, has continued to be a joyful pursuit as have my other creative work, including videography, musical composition and graphic design. I am very blessed to have been provided opportunities where I could ‘be myself’ in my work throughout the years. I’ve made stabs at other careers, but ultimately come back to what feeds me – a career in creative communications.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Finding success in the creative field is very tough and challenging. Relentless resilience is key to success. In writing fiction, you can never give up after a bad review, a month of low sales, or even undue criticism from others. You have to be willing to keep chopping wood whether that is in regard to writing, marketing or just keeping your chin up. The same tenants apply to other ventures in the creative field. When I saw the market shifting away from print media toward video and digital communications several years ago, I took the plunge to re-invent that part of my creative portfolio. Learning a new skill set in videography after devoting 20 years to print media was challenging, but like many things in life, you get out what you put in. There was a high amount of frustration and a steep learning curve, but I am glad to have made that move and put in the work. I used to abhor the quote about success being 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, but the cliche rings true in many aspects.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The perfect itinerary for a week in Atlanta? Ah, so many choices. I love ATL in all of its various guises.
Watching a Hawks game at State Farm Arena is the prime sporting event in Atlanta. The vibe at Hawks games has always been the best in Atlanta, but the way the organization has ramped it up the last several years is outstanding. We’d enjoy craft beers from metro ATL, food from Zac Brown’s Social Club and then enjoy a good night from Trae Young and the crew dropping 100 points or so.
For food, I would take them to Fago de Chao in Buckhead, Canoe in Vinings, The Curious Pig in Peachtree City, and Six Feet Under in East Atlanta. With those four, you get great beef and experience at Fago, fine dining at Canoe, the best Southern cuisine at the Pig, and at Six Feet Under, a fantastic view from the roof of Oakland Cemetery with outstanding fare.
For culture and art, we’d start with an afternoon at The High. Afterward, we could take in the city’s unique architecture and neighborhoods. Sweet Auburn, Peachtree Street, Miami Circle, Central Presbyterian Church, the gorgeous college campuses throughout Decatur, and Trilith Studios and Community in Fayetteville would be part of the itinerary. Depending on their music taste, we could visit anywhere from taking in an ASO concert at Woodruff to a trip to The Trap Music Museum. ATL has so many overlooked nooks and landmarks it is ridiculous.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Authors can be a very guarded bunch and generally are too invested in their own work to help and work with other writers. That said, I’ve been really blessed to have met and worked with a grand group of fellow scribes. T.M. Brown, author and founder of Hometown Novel Nights, has been amazing at supporting me through interviews, co-hosting book signings and creating a strong community of mutual respect and support for authors and readers on the southside of Atlanta. Author Damon Poirier, the late great Southern non fiction writer Joe Dabney, publishing mogul Celeste Duckworth, and librarian Sarah Trowbridge have been superb encouragers. Many friends and colleagues have been awesome as well at encouraging all aspects of my creative ventures, including longtime friend and writer, Adam Miller and my friend and children’s literature advocate and nonprofit leader Kemie Nix. Of course, there are all those I haven’t met, but who have influenced me ranging from C.S Lewis and Maya Angelou to Film Director Sam Mendes and artistic scions Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane. Big ups to them all! We all stand on the shoulders of those before us!
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