Men New Arrivals image-2 Photography COLIN HOFMAN

Actor, songwriter, and now novelist Val Emmich shares his thoughts
on managing a creative lifestyle, dressing the part, and his
insightful new book The Reminders, out May 30th of this year.

“I’m happiest
when I’m
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I’m happiest when I’m creating something. Filming a music video. Designing a website. Doodling on a pad. Building a birdhouse with my daughters. Cooking a meal. I find the process of bringing things into existence to be therapeutic. Songwriting, in particular, has always helped me cope with life. Also, it’s often a communal experience. That’s certainly the case in The Reminders where the two main characters come together to write a song and in the process each one gains a new perspective. Sometimes you just have to get whatever you’re feeling out and then it starts to make sense. Or at least, it makes you feel a little better.

I wear many hats professionally and because of that I’m not sure I have one defining style. In the morning, I’m in dad mode. Jeans, a hoodie and sneakers is all I have time for. After my daughters are where they need to be, I’ll start writing. If I’m not writing from home, I’ll go to a coffee shop, in which case I might change into chinos, a button-down, boots, occasionally a blazer to spiffy it up. I sort of want to feel like I’m off to a real job. At night, after cooking dinner for my family, I may rehearse with my band. For that, a flannel or plaid shirt and a pair of canvas sneakers do the trick. If I had to summarize my overall aesthetic, it’s probably some mash-up of tousled and put-together. I want everything in its place and then I want to muck it up.

Men New Arrivals image-3“I want everything in its
place and then I want
to muck it up.”

Men New Arrivals image-5The Reminders is my first published novel but it’s actually the third one I’ve written. My first two novels were “practice novels” that will likely never see the light of day. I didn’t go to an MFA program so my schooling involved heavy reading, constant writing and incorporating what I had already learned as a songwriter.

Like a musician, a writer also has to have an ear. How your words sound on the page is partly what accounts for your voice as a writer. I was already attuned to that when writing songs but it’s even more essential when you’ve got only words at your disposal and no music. My career as a musician also taught me how to communicate with an audience, how to make them feel something. The goal is the same when you’re a writer. You’re trying to move the reader in some way.

My favorite books manage to strike a balance between levity and solemnity. They can be funny and playful and also thoughtful and moving. Tragic but hopeful. A healthy mix of light and dark. That was my goal for the book. I suppose that’s reflective of who I am as a person. I’m someone who’s constantly pulled in multiple directions. A true Pisces, or so I’m told.

—Val Emmich
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“Like a musician, a writer
also has to have an ear.”
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Pick up Val Emmich’s The Reminders on May 30th at The Strand at Club Monaco, 160 5th Ave., New York. Special thanks to Olivia Gelade and modcup coffee company, 25 Senate St., Jersey City.

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