Jamie Brisick

Artist in Residence, 2018

A person surfing in the ocean.

Artist Statement

I grew up in Southern California. Surfing, skateboarding, and punk rock played big in my teens. My interest in writing began with song lyrics and evolved into literary fiction. I traveled constantly in my late teens/early twenties. On long flights, stuck at airports for hours at a time, jetlagged in hotel rooms in far-flung locales, I started writing.

For 25 years now I have made my living (and life) as a professional writer. I do journalism—profiles, essays, travel pieces, a variety of work that falls under the banner of non-fiction. I’ve written a couple of books (We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations; Have Board, Will Travel; Becoming Westerly). In the last couple of years I’ve been writing fiction.

The worst thing that ever happened to me: my wife died suddenly in 2013. But, perversely, it was the best thing that ever happened to my writing. It broke something loose in me, a one-foot-out-the-door, don’t-give-a-fuckness that I’m still trying to make sense of.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands I will work on my autobiographical novel, tentatively titled Written On Water. In the 1980s I was a professional surfer. I traveled the world chasing waves and contest victories. At that same time my older brother was in the grips of a bad drug addiction. While I tried to access my inner Rocky Balboa, he was in and out rehabs. He fatally overdosed in 1987. I ran from grief. The tour offered the perfect hiding place. But only for so long. Headlands will provide me the time and space to deep dive into the memories and emotions that I hope will charge the writing.

Selected Works

“Post-Post Trump Dystopia,” W Magazine, 2017
“Rhymes With Shove,” Huck Magazine, 2016