NYT interview: Dean Heagle has a big list!

Your 4-part article about the 2016 election was recently published in Rolling Stone. Was that a big surprise? It was a really big surprise. I had already been turned down by The Nation, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and Dissent Magazine. So I submitted to Rolling Stone as a last ditch effort before I self-published. Wow!

Have you had other writing published? My writing always get published, but usually it’s self-published.

Why do you write about politics? I think it all comes from the desire to make the world a better place. I was an anthropology major for my undergrad,  so I’ve gotten some perspective on history and different cultures. In looking at our American politics, I decided that since it really is a two party system, that it’s important to throw down with one of the parties. Then it gets into a matter of values. Even though their are a tremendous amount of things wrong with the democratic party, their core values and most of their historic stands on issues, more closely reflect my own values. Ultimately it would be better to change our political system so that more voices get heard. However, change in this area is very slow going.

When did you start writing? I wrote some in college and became the publisher of a “zine” called Nowhere which was a mixture of art and politics. My personal treatise began, “Out of boredom, I became a revolutionary…” That was in the 80’s. And I really didn’t start writing again until George W. Bush became president. After 911 there was an absence of dissenting voices, so I was motivated to write about things that I felt were under-represented. In time, there were plenty of voices of dissent against the Bush administration and I also got busier with family matters so I found that I wrote less and less.

I have begun to write more again, mostly in blog form. So many things about our society seem more like distopian science fiction than reality. I find these trends both humorous and scary at the same time. So I write about them. And as a political topic, we now have Trump and that trajectory is so unfathomable that it’s motivated a lot of activism, not just writers, but a lot of other people are getting out there and trying to make their voices heard.

Were you surprised that the NY Times wanted to interview you for their Sunday Magazine? I was really really surprised.

What’s your fantasy project? I actually have several. They are not so much fantasies as things I hope to ultimately get around to doing. First, of course, I want to write the great american novel. I have a few ideas, one is just writing about the current state of the society which is almost like science fiction that writes itself. Another is a novel about moving to another country where one is suddenly displaced and has to learn everything quickly to survive. I also have an idea for a series of tween novels in which the main characters will somehow help save the world. I know that “saving the world” sounds grandiose, but hey, why should it be about anything less? I also have ideas for a few photography and coffee table books. And I’d like to get back into doing more with music.  So, I have a really big list.

What’s next? I have notebooks with lots of unfinished projects. So sometimes, I just pick something and try to see it through. Finishing often gets harder than it should be. There’s lots of unexpected obstacles. I hate that part, but I love the satisfaction of seeing something  through.


  • Dean is an award winning New York City based graphic designer who also writes about culture and politics. Besides numerous writing projects, he is also putting together his first solo photography show.
  • Age: 59
  • Occupation: Designer / Writer / Producer
  • Hometown: Buffalo, Minnesota (I have now lived in NY twice as long as I lived in MN)
  • Heroes:
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Carl Jung
    • Al Gore
    • Gandi
    • Thorstein Veblen
    • Rachel Corrie
    • J.K. Rowling

 

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