"It's definitely not a bad day when you get a phone call from Robert De Niro and he asks if you can come to his office to talk," said Nick Flynn, professor in the UH Creative Writing Program (CWP). "That's a good day, (laughs) sort of a good day."
That good day led to the filming of "Being Flynn," based on his book "Another BS Night in Suck City," which explores his relationship with his father. Flynn says art in all its forms is about collaboration.
"One of the classes I teach here, through the (Cynthia Woods) Mitchel Center for the Arts, is a class in Collaboration Among the Arts," Flynn said. "We work with various disciplines—theater, music, art, dance, architecture and, obviously, the writing department—to get students together who want to make something, share their intelligence, figure out how to work together."
A professor in the CWP since 2004, Flynn says even the lone poet is surrounded by his influences, whether those are other writers, family or the radio. He says the film, starring Robert De Niro as his father, is the ultimate example of collaboration.
"It became more the story of everyone who worked on it, including the guy who did props, the woman who did costumes," he said. "They all had their own story of their own relationships. Everyone in the film brought some piece to it."
Flynn says a writer's role—poet, novelist, screenwriter—is to go into the unknown and come back with information, and artifacts, and energy.
"The collaboration class is a way to acknowledge that, how to use that energy that's all around us anyway to create something bigger than ourselves."
Nick Flynn is part of what's happening at the University of Houston. I'm Marisa Ramirez.