The Last Page with Michael Wanzie

By : Rick Claggett
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What kind of writing do you do for Watermark?

Viewpoints, often political but almost always humorous.

What is the name of your Viewpoint Column?

The Wonderful World of Wanzie

What made you want to write for Watermark?

They asked me. I like to write. I said yes.

What is your favorite thing about writing for Watermark?

The paycheck. Seriously. Anytime I actually receive money for writing, it makes me feel vindicated. I’m a high school dropout. I’m dyslexic. I can’t spell. I was discouraged by certain teachers from aspiring to be a writer. I had a high school English teacher who actually told me that wishing to be a writer was an unrealistic goal and that I needed to adjust my aspirations to better suit my limited skills. Fuck You, Mrs. Velms!

When did you develop a passion for writing?

I was always interested in writing but was made to feel I couldn’t. So I stopped trying for a good long while. It was because I couldn’t get cast in shows that I began to write my own. Once I wrote and produced my first play I was hooked and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What do you like writing about the most?

It’s not a “what” but rather “how” I like writing most. I love to write dialogue. I do think I have an ear for writing the way people talk. I’m fascinated by communication and the use of language. I love to write conversations.

What is your favorite LGBTQ Event?

Gay Day in the Magic Kingdom which will always be the first Saturday in June and cannot be changed! I also thoroughly enjoy and appreciate Come Out With Pride, but there is something terribly gratifying about the enduring tradition of that designated visit-day to The Magic Kingdom by carefree LGBTQ individuals, families and allies – born of a simple concept with no political agenda or profit motive. That touches my heart every time I attend.

What is your favorite thing about the local LGBTQ community?

Our willingness to be seen. Our ability to be outstanding members of the Central Florida Community at large.

What would you like to see improved in the LGBTQ community?

I would love to see a greater interest and pro-active involvement in the political arena and the governance of our county and state by a much greater percentage of the LGBTQ community. Also, I am often disheartened by the lack of knowledge among our youth with regards to our local gay history. I am truly saddened that with all the information, education and support that is so easily and readily available in our area regarding HIV/AIDS that Florida and indeed specifically Central Florida still ranks so very high in the number of new cases. We lead the nation I believe and that is truly sad.

What do you want the Watermark readers to know about you?

There is no guessing who I am. What I write is who I am. I strive to be authentic, truthful and genuine in all my associations, whether in person or in print. If you don’t care for me or my opinions that’s your prerogative, but no one need ever second guess my motives or agenda because I hide nothing. I will always be passionate about what I think is best for – or what I perceive to be a threat to – our community and our country.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Never listen to those who tell you “you can’t.” The wasted time spent doubting yourself can never be recovered.

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