(Ash City Stomp)
Were there any particular
writers or stories that influenced the writing of the story that will
be appearing in Trampoline? If so, how exactly did they influence
the writing of your story?
Yes. The other writers of the Sycamore Hill Writers' Conference.
The final version of the story is much improved from the original
draft, thanks to those folks pointing out the flaws (and the non-flaws).
That's actually a disingenuous description of the workshop process,
and of why I run and attend that thing, but it'll have to do.
Is your Trampoline
story generally representative of the sort of story you usually write?
To elaborate: is this story a departure in style or subject matter
(or any other sort of departure, for that matter) for you? If so,
what was different or new for you in the writing of this story? Do
you think it is a new direction for your writing, or simply an experiment?
It's representative in that it's serious at the core but overlaid
with goofist trappings.
So, come out with it, already
-- you really believe in alien abductions. Don't you? All sci-fi writers
What is the writer's role
in inhabiting the commercial spaces of publishing?
Infiltrate then immolate.
Who's been eating my porridge?
Danny Goldberg, of course.
What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Thank nobody for small blessings. Pink
Moon gonna get us all, therefore no immortal hands, no immortal
eyes. This is a good thing.
Can I get there by candlelight?
If you walk very very slowly.
Who cleft the Devil's foot?
Me and the Devil were walking side by side. So I say to the Devil,
I say, "Satan, I see England, I see France, I totally see your lacy
pink underpants." The Devil says, "We don't call it France anymore.
We call it ... Freedom. Everyone knows that Freedom is where they
make the best lingerie." He hitches up his pants as he says
this. His French, his Freedom-ish, is perfect. "Do you remember when
we were in Paris?" he asks. "I was never in Paris with the Devil,"
I say. "Certainly not with a Devil who wears ladies undergarments."
The Devil stops and laughs, then he cups his hand to his ear. "What's
that?" he says, squinting. "Can you hear it? Sounds like ... mermaids
I stamp on the Devil's feet, cleaving his hooves. He falls to the
ground and clutches them with his idle plaything hands. I leave him
there on the sidewalk to ponder Leviticus 11 while I trudge off in
the general direction of Freedom.
Where do you hope to haunt
when you're gone (or, I guess, when you come back)?
A nice modern house. Maybe Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth
House, the one with all-glass walls for the exterior.
If I had really good haunt-y powers as a result of being non-alive,
then I'd haunt the homes of my enemies.
If I could just hang out and chat, then I'd haunt the homes of my
What office supply best
captures your personality, and why?
Man, all of these questions are me, me, me, me. What office supply
best captures Alain
Robbe-Grillet's personality? Huh?
When's the last time you
changed your mind about something? I think I mean a radical shift
of personal values -- regarding art ("Suddenly, I'm not crazy about
Billie Holiday, in fact, I'm not even sure I'm spelling her name right"),
regarding anything ("Actually, you can go home again").
I'm proud of the fact that my personal values haven't shifted radically
due to the tremendously positive or tremendously negative events in
my immediate external world. Like the fat man said, to thine own self
be true. If I had to offer an example of a shift, though ... one is
that certain tedious phonies -- say, Andy Warhol or William Burroughs
or Timothy Leary -- don't bug me as much as they used to. Possibly
because they're all dead.
What book or books do you
press upon friends?
Who Saved My Life, Wilton Barnhardt
A Few Last Words, James
Where did you grow up?
Camel City, of course.
Did you ever go to a really low rent amusement park that had trampolines
stretched over shallow pits and bounce and bounce and bounce and get
really confident and start bouncing from one trampoline to the next
but then kind of lose it and bounce in to your cousin Jeff and cause
him to fall into a split timber fence and knock out one of his teeth?
Did you ever do that?
What can we, as a group,
do to increase the popularity of multi-stage bicycle racing as a spectator
sport in America?
Absolutely nothing, Christopher.
I once had a creative writing
teacher tell me that he didn't understand why authors used science
fiction or magical realism to tell a story or impart a theme. Why
do you think we do, when good old realism might do the trick?
"I sit with a philosopher in a garden; he says again and again 'I
know that that is a tree,' pointing to a tree that is near us. A second
man comes by and hears this, and I tell him: 'This fellow isn't insane:
we're only doing philosophy.'"
--Wittgenstein, On Certainty
My story has a semi-wild
chimpanzee in it; does yours?
Depends on how you define "semi-wild chimpanzee."
Have you found that during
the Reagan-Bush-Bush-Quayle-Bush-Cheney era the quality of your writing
has gotten a little dodgier?
Yeah, not like the stack of genius tomes I produced during the Clinton-Gore
If you couldn't write what
would you do?
Stein said: "I have destroyed sentences and rhythms and literary overtones
and all the rest of that nonsense, to get to the very core of this
problem of communication of intuition." The relationship of form to
content. Form as it facilitates communication, particularly communication
of the remote, of the mysterious. Form as it permits the dramatization
of states of mind. As it serves to make comprehensible the incomprehensible.
What are your views on this subject?
My view is, Gertrude Stein sure could be a pompous boobie sometimes.
-- Alan DeNiro