About Bill Gaythwaite
Bill Gaythwaite grew up in Boston and is the author of Underburn, (Delphinium Books/HarperCollins 2023). His short fiction has appeared in Subtropics, Chicago Quarterly Review, Puerto Del Sol, South Carolina Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals and anthologies. Bill has worked at Columbia University since 2006, where he was on the staff of the Committee on Asia and the Middle East and is now the Assistant Director for Special Populations at Columbia Law School.
A Profile of the Author
Notes on "If You Only Knew"
I have a special feeling for this story because I wrote most of its first draft while my son was an infant. Large chunks of it were written in the middle of the night with him in my lap when he couldn’t sleep. I cradled him while typing with one hand. These memories are forever linked. Considering that my son is now 26, I suppose this piece also represents persistence. "If You Only Knew" was a finalist in various contests and came “close” at other magazines, but it was never offered publication. I didn’t give up on it though. I just kept revising it through the years. The story itself was always a pleasure to come back to. Kevin’s sardonic voice remained in my head. In the revision process, I did cut a long scene at the end between Kevin and his estranged father, a “Kill Your Darlings” strategy. It was a really tough decision for me, but I think it helped the story overall. I still do much of my writing in the middle of the night, given other schedules and responsibilities, but sadly my infant cradling days are in the past. I’m so pleased that when "If You Only Knew" found a home it was at Willow Springs!
Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.
I’m a movie guy. I’ve never been a music guy, so when it comes to music I depend on my partner Tom and his all-encompassing Spotify playlist. Without him, I would only be listening to Kelly Clarkson covers, which are fantastic, but there’s something nice about getting some music education on a drive to the grocery store. Unlike Tom, I really only listen to music in the car. I’m always pointing to the dashboard and saying, “Who is that again?” and Tom will grimace and say, “It’s Pat Benatar, how do you not know that?” We listen to everybody from Frank Sinatra to Troye Sivan, from The Rolling Stones to Years & Years. On our drives, I get acquainted with groups like Public Enemy or The Go-Go’s, who I should have been listening to in my youth but I was too busy watching old movies. Tom will sometimes stop the music and tell me facts about a particular singer or about the first time he went to an Elton concert or when he saw Diana Ross at Radio City or the time he met Kenny Loggins after a show. I like these little biographical interludes. It’s like when he lets me pause old movies to explain why Barbara Stanwyck was considered Hollywood’s most cooperative actress or why Humphrey Bogart’s Oscar win was so popular. I guess we each get points for patience.
Found in Willow Springs 92 Back to Author Profile BEFORE MY FATHER RUNS OFF, he suddenly showers us all with attention. It’s jarring at first, like having someone crowd next to you on a bus when there are plenty of seats in back. There’s something desperate about it, but I’m not thinking this at the time. … Read more