An Interview with Gary Michael, Artist and Author

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Interviewing Mr. Gary Michael was a thrilling experience. I started the interview by asking him why he wrote his book, “Journey from Little Left”.

Interviewing Mr. Gary Michael was a thrilling experience. I started the interview by asking him why he wrote his book, “Journey from Little Left”. He had told himself that when he turned 50 he would try something new each year. He said, “I like to challenge myself to see what I can do.” Mr. Michael wondered if he could write a novel, so he did! “Journey from Little Left” is about a colony of prairie dogs that had to move to a different colony because humans are taking over their land.  Mr. Michael got the name of this book from a canyon in Fort Collins called Left Hand Canyon. The book title has two levels of meaning: the physical place of Left Hand Canyon and “not much left.”  Gary Michael has written hundreds of book reviews and two non-fiction books as well. Mr. Michael stated to me that he definitely thought that non-fiction was easier to write. He told me that it took him about two years to write this book.
 

Mr. Michael used unusual names for the prairie dog characters in his book, such as Hieronymus, Esmeralda, Corot, and Ozymandius. Mr. Michael had stated that he wanted the names to be unfamiliar to the readers because he was tired of the sweet and common names like Fluffy and Molly. He stated that he became familiar with the character names he used in the book throughout the years; they are names of authors, artists, and philosophers that he admires. Mr. Michael didn’t base the characters’ behavior based on how they acted; he based them on how they looked. For example: Mr. Michael made Ozymandius able to climb trees. As you know, prairie dogs can’t climb trees. However, Mr. Michael made Ozymandius able to climb trees based on how he looked; he wondered if prairie dogs could climb trees because they have such sharp and long nails. Everyone knows the nails are for digging, but still, he based a character’s personality based on what a prairie dog looked like. Mr. Michael informed me that the characters represented parts of him. Mr. Michael said that he gave some characters personality traits based on somebody he met who could be mean, nice, a leader, hateful, or rude.

Mr. Michael has many interests outside of being an author. He grew up in Denver not too far from the house he lives in right now and has climbed every 14er in Colorado except for one. Mr. Michael’s real passion is that he loves to paint. When I visited Mr. Michael’s art room, it was like a gallery. Mr. Michael does mostly oil, paint and pastels on canvas. In fact, Mr. Michael painted and drew all of artwork in his book, including the cover and self-portrait. He has also done a couple of sculptures. This interview with Gary Michael was delightful in every way possible.