Writer John Michael Cummings, BA Art (Studio) ’89, is the author of three novels and has published more than 100 short stories. The non-writing part of his career includes jobs as a business reporter, college English teacher, publisher’s assistant, innkeeper, and tombstone engraver. He lives now in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, home to the Cummings family for six generations.
Q: What led you to enroll at Mason? Do you remember why you applied?
Well, I had terrible grades in high school. I couldn’t dare get in there (at Mason) now—I wouldn’t have a chance! But I did have my art portfolio. So I took the portfolio into the registrar’s office or someplace, and she said, “I don’t know, your transcripts are not good.” I was pleading, because I was really in love with this girl who was going to George Mason. She got in, and I was begging to get in also. The registrar looked at my portfolio and said something like “I guess George Mason could benefit from having an artist of this caliber.” So I was admitted under academic probation, meaning I had to pass three summer classes first. I did, and I got in.