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Terry Gavin: A Milwaukee Writer-Actor

Dec. 29, 2009
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English teacher, performer and author Terry Gavin knows where he’s positioned these days. And with his first novel, Shaving Without a Razor, about a self-medicating, golden-child financier, he is “bound and determined to put Milwaukee on the map.”

How’s business?

It’s quite fine actually, quite fine indeed. I expect to have a book-signing at Barnes & Noble in the near future.

Do you want to leave Wisconsin?

Of course there’s always an ultimate destination. Anyone who knows me knows for me it is London, but I am where I am right now.

You act, you’re a novelist: How do you describe yourself?

I am a writer who acts. Next act: MacBeth at Off the Wall Theatre in February. Novelists are so incredibly brilliant and smart—adept at accomplishing most anything.

How close to your career dreams are you?

It’s funny, but at the magic age of 5 years old, what I can remember, literally, is wanting to be an actor. I have always wanted to make the wildly exotic, that might have seemed impossible, possible.

Describe the soil you tread on these days.

Tentative at best—we all live and have lived through tenacious times like these, yet keep plugging away. Frankly, I just wear down the competition. On a good day, I am graceful, because duty calls—that is just part of the gig.

What is your contribution to the world?

An honest voice—I am able to say things most people might think but are afraid to verbalize. For me, it truly comes from within and it has to be bold.

What are people most surprised to find out about you?

Probably that I’m not some intense machine. I am relatively calm—relatively.

Why are you newsworthy?

Let’s face it: We have zero novelists. I can’t think of a single cutting-edge novel that tells a more unique story of excess, extreme wealth and drug abuse untold from Milwaukee about Milwaukee. I guess my impetus for writing was inspiration and pain, though not necessarily my own. I think it is important to write our biographies, observing the challenges and rewards unique to this city.

According to Terry Gavin, what is the “big issue” with the city and with the world?

Political hypocrisy and self-righteous indignation.

Can the “big issue” be fixed by actors as role models?

It can be fixed, but only if they are personally enlightened.


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