Moving from south Florida to Ohio, Mac McClelland, 60, is currently a novelist and professor at Wittenberg teaching English, journalism and creative writing.
As an environmental writer, McClelland has written four novels thus far, and is working on his fifth, “The Magnitude of Her Fury.” Some of his other novels include “Tattoo Blues,” “Oyster Blues” and “Turtle Up,” in which he writes in a comic mystery genre with an environmental slant.
During a colloquium held on Jan. 25, McClelland stood surrounded by beach chairs and umbrellas as he discussed his new novel. McClelland explored the realms of corporate politics through a presentation and then showed how he applied these ideas in his literature through his readings.
With the slogan, “laughing truth to power,” McClelland examined the past and how folk tales, literature, film and more depict how we can speak up to power through laughter.
“Laughter can disarm people,” McClelland said.
One example he used during his presentation was when Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo the Possum comic, depicted Senator Joseph McCarthy as a Klansman in one of his strips.
While writing his fifth book, McClelland suffered a loss that inflicted much damage to his spiritual home, Tallahassee, as well as his soul. The BP oil spill, also known as The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, was the largest petroleum spill in history, causing extensive damage to marine life, and more specifically, to McClelland’s spirit.
The oil spill left McClelland distraught and lost when writing his novel. He recalled a time when he could stand on the beach back in Florida and smell petroleum creeping down the coast.
“I was terrified,” McClelland said.
Writing on and off for nearly seven years, McClelland said he had to return home to remind himself of what was actually at stake. He had to recall that laughter and beauty derived from Alligator Point.
“To write about what was lost, I had to re-experience what I loved so dearly,” McClelland said.
McClelland plans to finish his novel this summer. He gave the audience a little taste of his novelistic talents and satire by performing a reading of chapter two and the start of chapter seven from “The Magnitude of Her Fury.” He opened chapter two by following what seems to be the President of the United States walking along a beach surrounded by press. Out of the water something arises and assassinates the president, who turns out to be a CEO of the company that caused the oil spill along the Gulf. Further readings followed CEOs of the company and their relationship with media and how the company is depicted.
The serious nature of this novel is interesting, to say the least, but what drives home McClelland’s points are the way he uses humor. This battle between a serious tone and humor throughout the novel leave you wondering how McClelland is going to finish “The Magnitude of Her Fury.”