Author Q & A with Joe Cappello
March 24, 2022
This week we are bringing you highlights from our interview with Joe Cappello. Joe lives in the picturesque desert country of Galisteo, New Mexico and writes plays, stories, and memoir. His short play, “Sell Bots,” appears in our latest issue.
We asked Joe to tell us something he learned (about himself or craft or life in general) through writing and revising this piece?
His response: “In my view the root of many of our problems is inequity. We need to be fair in our dealings with each other. I set my play in a workplace because in my experience this environment tends to accept abuse and intimidation of employees as a part of doing business. Some individuals believe they are more important than others, that they are entitled to ignore the rules others must abide by. After completing my piece, I realized in order for us to get along, we have to acknowledge the importance of everyone’s role. Whether a person is the CEO of a corporation or a migrant worker harvesting crops in the field, he/she brings a skill to the work that shouldn’t be valued solely by money.”
We asked Joe how he knows a piece of writing is finished.
His Response: “When I re-read my work for the umpteenth time and it generates at least a portion of the excitement I had when I started the piece, then I know I am done.”
We followed this up by asking what the most difficult part of the artistic process is for him and why.
His response: “Characterization is sometimes problematic for me. I can’t develop characters unless I know who they are, what motivates them in the situation I have created for them. Until I feel as though I am sitting next to a character having a conversation and sharing a beer with her, I won’t be able to do her justice in the work.”
On the flipside, what is the most rewarding part of the process?
His response: “I am most exhilarated when I have finished a piece and know I have done my best. Even if the work isn’t acknowledged by anyone else, it still gives me a sense of identity as a writer who has written and that in itself is reward enough for me.”
That’s a great reminder that even when others are not reading our writing, it still holds value and meaning as something we’ve created and nurtured; in essence, a reflection of self with a backdrop of the wide world. For many writers, having others read their work provides a sense of validation and fuels their desire to write more. We asked Joe to share with us what fuel’s his desire to write.
His response: “I am appalled at the amount of verbal pollution spewed into the air and online daily. I am weary of too many people with too much to say, fueling the negativity and hatred that has become embedded in today’s popular discourse. For me, I channel what I want to say into my work. I take great care in putting words on a page in my fiction, plays, and memoir. I want my work to creatively expose an issue, not coerce people into seeing my point of view like some do through inane twitter posts or the endless “talking heads” we are subjected to on cable news. As in my play, I am simply raising the curtain on one aspect of the workplace. Here it is. If you have a different point of view, I’d like to hear it.
Only don’t say it; write it.”
And finally, as we do with all our authors, we asked Joe what he thinks of when he hears the phrase “The Good Life.”
His response: “The good life is understanding the spirit within, what it is you were put here to do and fulfilling that mission with hope, love and laughter…lots of it!”
Cheers to that! We could all use more hope and laughter in our lives! Thank you, Joe, for being a good sport and answering many of our questions and also allowing us to publish your play. We do hope there is another act that follows, where Sam gets served some justice!
~The Good Life Review Team
Joe has a full-length play, The Stars of Orion, that was a quarterfinalist in the 2020 ScreenCraft Stage Play Contest which also received an honorable mention in the 2020 Bridge Award contest sponsored by Arts in the Armed Forces (AIAF). His short story, “The Secret of the Smiling Rock Man,” was a finalist in the Southwest Writer’s 2021 Writing Contest and has been published in the group’s annual anthology released in October 2021. His memoir, Chain Link Memories, appeared in the November 2021 issue of Shorts Magazine.