He's Memphian Rob McGowan, circa '69, in a pic taken at Oakland Army Base on his return from Vietnam, and he wore the "PEACE NOW" button under the lapel of his uniform. The Savage Kick, a British journal specializing in murder and mayhem, is running that photo, along with one of McGowan's more gruesome stories, "Worse Feeling There Is" — uncharacteristically gruesome, he'd like it known — a story from McGowan's yet to be published NAM: Things That Weren't True and Other Stories. (For the title story from that collection, see the summer 2007 issue of South Dakota Review.)
Less gruesome: McGowan's art-world short story "A Clutter of Old Papers" (from his yet to be published UNTITLED: Artist Stories), a story that will appear this fall in the Connecticut Review.
What else is there from McGowan, who's been writing like mad and getting published like crazy the past few years?
Brand, a literary and art journal out of London, has a photo by McGowan. (The subject: a set of steps on Central, near Cooper-Young.) Rome Review, out of Washington, D.C., is running a portfolio of photos in the fall, those photos based, again, in Cooper-Young.
McGowan has worked as a teacher, librarian, book-store media manager, and art critic for the Memphis Flyer. He was also founder of Number:, the local arts journal, and he was founder of what was the Memphis Center for Contemporary Art on South Main (when South Main was practically a ghost town).
He's an artist himself still. Now he's a writer more than ever — short stories, novels, essays, you name it. Except:
"In my down moments," McGowan says, "I've thought I should maybe write a family saga or quirky mysteries or some good ol' Southern redneck song-and-dance. But, alas, none of that is what's in me to write."
Check it out, all over the map: what is in McGowan to write (and, with his camera — no gun — shoot).