Dead people, even dead writers, tend not to hold up their end of the conversation…”
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
I’ve always been fascinated how closely aligned a writer is to an actor, in that they both need to get inside the heads of the characters they are creating either on paper or on stage. So, I humbly thought, why not imagine what some of the most extraordinary people in history were thinking at seminal moments in their lives? I tried to choose people who dedicated themselves to physical creations or ideational constructs that fundamentally changed the way we normal folks experience the world after coming into contact with their work, be it psychological, celestial, cinematic, literary, martial, mathematical, etc. An impossible endeavor, so fun to try.
What are you working on now?
I’m still adding poetic biographies to the chapbook “Simulacra,” although I have sent it out to a couple publishers already. I plan to return to revising and amending my book-length collection of fiction, ranging from realistic fictions to hybrids, from short stories to nano fictions, called In the Contemporary Mode.
What was the last great thing you read by another author?
I’ve recently read some wonderfully entertaining comic (mostly dark) contemporary fiction writers. Some favorites: Matthew Klam’s Who is Rich?; James McBride’s collection, Five-Carat Soul; Joshua Ferris’s The Dinner Party, whose titular story kills; Chanelle Benz’s stories, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, ditto; and Miranda July’s shorts, No One Belongs Here More than You. Can’t resist also pushing John Hodgman’s hilarious essays, Vacationland.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?
Dead people, even dead writers, tend not to hold up their end of the conversation, so among the living, I’d like to hear from authors who generally don’t say much in public and whose work instructs and inspires me. Like Cormac McCarthy, whose Blood Meridian ranks in my mind with the best of Faulkner and Morrison. Or St. Charles writer Patrick Parks, whose beautifully written novel, Tucumcari, soon to be published nationally, taught me that taking chances on voice and story, if believed in, can result in a rare, unique, literary tome in miniature. Hey, wait, I have invited Pat to dinner! Maybe I should call Cormac to see what he’s doing next Saturday.