A Conversation With Jan Notzon

You may recognize the name Jan Notzon for some of the well-known titles he has authored. The Dogs…Barking, And Ye Shall Be As Gods and The Id Paradox just to name a few. But did you know that this accomplished novelist and playwright, has called South Charlotte home since 1994? “Charlotte is such a beautiful city,” Jan says. “My favorite color is green and everywhere you look here, there is an abundance!”

Born in Laredo, Texas, Jan is the youngest of five children and was raised in a Catholic family with a strict upbringing. He explains that from the time he was about seven years old, after seeing a production of Macbeth, he had a strong desire to become an actor. Discouragement from his siblings however would lead him in another direction. “While I was still pursuing a career in acting, an idea came to me for a one-act play, and that is the first time I put pen to paper,” explains Jan.

He shared the play with his most trusted inner circle, whose opinion he holds in high regard. Jan says the group of friends felt the work was exemplary. With their vote of confidence, he went on to write more plays and would complete seven before turning his attention to writing novels, a passion that continues today. “Narratives and story writing are much less restrictive,” Jan explains. “I can detail what is running through someone’s mind. The storytelling can flow and to me, it is much more free.” 

Jan is known for his unique, thought-provoking style that prompts contemplating life and its’ various nuances. “My storylines are mainly the product of my own puzzlement about this bizarre conundrum called life that we share. How do we live with our own flawed humanity? What is it ultimately that we seek? How do we function in a world where the ideal is always out of reach?”

Currently Jan is in the middle of writing his fifth novel. This storyline will take readers through a fictionalized version of his father’s family’s emigration from Poland during the 19th century. He adds that only recently did he become comfortable with mentioning a piece of work before it is finished, something he used to avoid due to feeling a bit superstitious until a novel was ready for press. Today, those feelings are securely behind him.

When not at work, writing and creating, you can often find Jan on one of Charlotte’s beautiful greenways, volunteering with local school children or taking in the arts in Uptown. “I love exploring our area greenways with my dog Sheba! I also love going to the theater and seeing fellow actors do their thing.” But he admits, parking in Uptown can be less than desirable. “There are so many opportunities to connect with talented and interesting people, from Charlotte Writers’ Club to the International House.”  

But when it comes to his greatest accomplishment, he explains it’s not his literary works, but rather how he and all of us live our lives. “I think of the complexity of raising children now compared to when I was growing up and think that if you can raise your children to be caring, responsible people, you’ve done more than all the great novels, plays, paintings or music ever created.”