Author Q & A with Craig Moeckly

This week we bring you highlights from our interview with Craig Moeckly. Craig was born in Iowa and now lives in Minnesota with his wife and two daughters. Read on to learn what he shared about his play “Dakota County,” and also about his writing life and the importance of finding time to capture those great story ideas when they come to you…

Author Q & A with Craig Moeckly

July 7, 2022

This week’s Q&A is with Craig Moeckly. Craig was born in Iowa and now lives in Minnesota with his wife and two daughters. Occasionally, during the long winter nights, he writes. His short play, “Dakota County,” appears in our spring issue. 

We asked Craig to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of his script. 

His response: “Some who read Dakota County may find Roy’s interactions with Eleanor and his depiction of her to Tom confusing – she is generous and loving to Roy directly but Roy paints her as a controlling woman. I understand the potential confusion but relationships, especially long-term ones, are usually complicated. I have found through many conversations with my own parents that in the minds of those in the relationship both things can be true. Additionally, after one of them is gone the recollections of the one remaining can shift. I find this observation interesting and wanted to capture it in the script.”

We asked Craig to tell us something he learned (about himself or craft or life in general) through writing and revising this piece?

His Response: “I had the general idea of this script for a while, but the characters don’t really start to come alive until you write them. I didn’t really know how Roy would sound until I started giving him dialogue. Then it was interesting how the phrases he used were influenced by real people that I’ve met in my life. A small example of how we are impacted through our life experiences and draw on them, consciously or not.”

We followed this up by asking what the most difficult part of the artistic process is for him and why. 

His response: “Making the time to actually do it. You get an idea in your head and think, “I should write that”, and then time is so easily filled that it just passes. Meanwhile, details of the original idea have fled along with the time so when you do force yourself to write, the story is no longer as clear as it was once. It can be frustrating, and you tell yourself that you’re not going to do that again, but you know you probably will. We’re our own worst enemies.”

I think many people can relate to this. Our daily lives are so consuming and our personal passions are often neglected. Time is a hot commodity and if we don’t prioritize the writing, those great ideas slip away. But when we do find the time, there is value in it. We asked Craig what the most rewarding part of the process is for him.

His response: “When someone else reads your work and it touches them in some way, especially when they come away with something you really didn’t think about when you wrote it. To me, it’s like cooking, what is really rewarding about the process is when others enjoy something that you created.”

We asked Craig to share his biggest fear as a writer and what fuels his desire to write. 

His response: “I don’t mind constructive criticism of something I wrote, in fact, I enjoy the opportunity to improve the piece. So, I guess receiving non-constructive criticism of something I wrote from someone I have reason to respect would be my biggest fear. That and forgetting a “really great” idea I had for a story. 

“I write for enjoyment–the process of writing and the exciting possibility that I just might write something that others enjoy, too, if I choose to share it.”  

We asked Craig what he would tell his younger writing self.

His response: “As soon as you get an idea, start writing it down, at least pieces that are clearly in your mind. I should tell my current writing self the same thing.”

When asked what he likes to read and why he admitted he’s an awful reader, “I probably have a dozen different books lying around that I’ve started to read but never finished. So, I’ve always enjoyed short stories, probably due to my short attention span, and that’s also what I like to write. Some of his favorite short-story authors include Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.  

And lastly, but as always, never least… we asked Craig what he thinks of when he hears the phrase “The Good Life.”

His response: My much younger self may have answered this question in terms of fame, glory, or excessive wealth.  But living has changed my perspective of what “The Good Life” means to me, and it is now much more in line with that of the ancient philosophers. Most of them essentially agree that the good life is living a just life with virtue and good character, such as being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, honest, selfless, generous, and such. Aristotle, however, was more comprehensive in his view of the good life. He laid out some objectives in addition to virtue, such as health, prosperity, friendship, respect, and engagement. I think if you take time to reflect on these principles proposed so many years ago, they serve as a sensible guide in striving to lead a good life. These principles feed into something I strongly believe in, which is genuine generosity, and I feel that engaging in this will ultimately make your life and the lives of others better. What positive contributions can you make to the world?”   

These are definitely words to live by. Thank you, Craig, for taking extra time to participate in our Q&A and also for allowing us to publish your script. We hope you continue to live that Good Life and always find time to write.  

~The Good Life Review Team