An award from the Wisconsin Arts Board will afford Ron Rindo the chance to break out of his comfort zone as well as travel to a different time zone.
An English professor and department chair at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Rindo received an arts fellowship in recognition of his literary accomplishments, including three award-winning short story collections. He is among seven writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction honored with arts fellowship in 2009.
Rindo, who teaches fiction writing and American literature at UW Oshkosh, finds the short story, as a form, most conducive to life as a faculty member.
“I always have a handful of stories that I’m working on at any one time. I might have an hour or two in the middle of the day to go the computer. With a novel, you can’t jump around as freely. You have to set aside larger amounts of time,” he said.
Rindo’s “Suburban Metaphysics and Other Stories” (1990) and “Secrets Men Keep” (1995) earned Outstanding Achievement recognition from the Wisconsin Library Association. His latest work, “Love in an Expanding Universe” (2005), puts genuine characters in situations that are extraordinarily complex.
“Most of the stories are in some way a love story, but not the kind you would see in Hollywood,” Rindo said. “Marriages are in trouble. Siblings struggle. A couple copes with the loss of a child.”
While Rindo is most comfortable writing short stories, he hopes to write a novella and a story cycle, wherein each story can stand on its own but, when put together, they read like a novel.
Rindo intends to put the $8,000 arts fellowship toward computing, printing and traveling expenses.
“A lot of information can be acquired in the electronic world, but if you’re going to write about a place, you pretty much have to go there,” he said. “One of the pieces I’m working on has a fairly large section taking place in France.”
Rindo plans to visit Paris in the summer to research a character who runs a movie house in the Latin Quarter.
“One of the things you have to do as a writer is convince readers that they are there, using all of their senses,” Rindo said. “I’ll experience the very things I will want to describe.”
A Wisconsin native, Rindo also received a Wisconsin Arts Board fellowship in 2003.
“This state means a lot to me. I grew up here. I am thankful that the Wisconsin Arts Board is still working hard to support Wisconsin writers and artists in spite of the economy,” said Rindo, who is originally from Muskego and now lives in Pickett with his family, bantam chickens and Shetland sheep.
“Writing can be a lonely thing. You’re sitting at your computer, you’re working and sending work out,” said Rindo. “Winning this award makes me feel like my work is being read appreciatively by folks to whom it matters. It makes me feel hopeful.”