Nevertheless, despite the spiritual fulfillment of his rescue work and the creative fulfillment of his writing, in 2013 Mr. Newcastle felt he was in need of a bit of new intellectual stimulation, as well. “I had always been interested in learning new languages,” he says. “When I was first in college, Japanese was my best subject, and in my thirties I picked up some Greek by osmosis. But in 2010, I was up in Montreal
Aside from his stints in music and IT consulting, Mr. Newcastle counts among his life experiences his work as a background actor, a restaurateur, a freelance writer, the founder and editor of a comedy e-zine, a men’s suit designer, a stand-up comic, a carpenter’s assistant, a sprinkler-system pipecutter, and, since 2011, a transport consultant for an animal rescue organization, which he avows, has been the most rewarding work of his life. “Every day, I take animals off death row and bring them to new homes,” he says. “I watched a muscle-bound construction worker break down in tears upon first sight of his new dog, crying “She’s so beautiful. She’s so beautiful.” What could be more rewarding than that?”
He had started out his adult life in theatre, attending the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts, but it was after a few semesters that he succumbed to the lure of music. Particularly, it was noisy, raucous, trashcan pop-punk music that Mr. Newcastle performed, and in short order he was back in his native New York playing clubs on the Lower East Side, the infamous CBGB being a regular stage for his group. Records were made, major success was elusive, but nevertheless, until his mid-thirties Mr. Newcastle continued to writes songs and perform in several outfits. His day gig at that time was IT consulting, and it eventually led to the opportunity to work for
Jack with a few happy (and relieved) friends. Since 2011, Jack has been involved with the rescue of over 10,000 animals, including dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, ferrets, turtles, snakes, and even two alligators.
himself. "It was a mixed-blessing, though," he says. “Working for myself afforded me the time to start writing, but every day I had to deal with my boss, who I have to admit was the biggest jerk in the world.
Although Mr. Newcastle had actually begun to write fiction in his twenties, he was of that rare breed of writers who realized that very few people of that age have anything interesting to say. “You simply have no life experience,” he says, “and while I thought I did have enough of it to write songs in the vein of three-minute angst, there just wasn’t enough of it for an entire novel.” It was this decision to forestall the development of his craft, till he actually did accumulate some life experience, that Mr. Newcastle believes led to his ability to write about anything. “Perhaps .01% of my writing reflects my personal life,” he says, “The rest of it I make up. That is, while I use the entire experience of life to create situations, the roman à clef is certainly not for me, and I have to admit I cringe a bit when I read certain book jackets. The book may be about a Wall Street lawyer involved in a phony stock deal, and lo and behold, it turns out that the author himself was a Wall Street lawyer. Again, I have to follow the advice of Kingsley Amis on this one, who said, “A writer shouldn’t write what he knows. He should write what he doesn’t know.” One of the best compliments I have ever received was about my description of a Bulgarian airport that appeared in a short story I wrote. "You absolutely nailed the bleakness of it," a reader had said, and she was shocked to learn I had never even been there.
The British comic novelist Kingsley Amis once said that a proper writer ought to be able to write anything, from an Easter Day sermon to a sheep-dip handout, and certainly, Jack Newcastle adheres to that tenet. Along with his comedic novel, The Fine Art of Mixing Girls, and his illustrated storybook, With My Tail in the Air, he has written a musical comedy, situation comedies, teleplays in the realms of drama, horror, and science fiction, general lifestyle pieces and essays on men’s style, while currently, he is simultaneously working on both a light-hearted children’s storybook and an emotional literary novel that deals with the problems particular to certain segment of society. While it is true that the literary world does tend to believe a writer should keep to one genre, Mr. Newcastle contends that it is his long and varied history that precludes him from doing so.
for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and I came back thinking I wanted to learn French. Immediately, I enrolled into a language school, and completely fascinated by the process of language acquisition, I entertained the thought of pursing an old goal of obtaining a degree in linguistics. You see, as a kid, I had left the theatre program to play music, and over the years I had always wanted to return for a degree in either English of linguistics. Afforded by my flexible work schedule, in 2013 I finally did it.”
It was after two and a half years of study that, in February of 2016, Mr. Newcastle earned his BA in Linguistics from Queens College CUNY, and it was his perfect 4.0 GPA record that earned him the acceptance of the CUNY Graduate Center, where
Jack bashing away at the Underwood
he will be pursuing his masters in the field. “Yeah, I’ll be juggling a lot,” he says. “There are the animals to save, the novel and children’s book to write (and in the case of the latter, to illustrate), and there’s also the sequel to With My Tail in the Air to write and illustrate, but I think I’ll manage. As an existentialist, I never feel like I’m pressed for time, because quite simply, I just don’t believe in it. Even Einstein said it’s an illusion.”
Regardless of his full schedule, Mr. Newcastle is still interested in freelance writing, in all genres and mediums, so whether it’s an Easter Day sermon you need, or even a sheep-dip handout, he can be contacted through his agent for immediate hire.