A Little About You . . .
I’m a novelist, short story writer, editor, literary critic, and English professor. I’ve published over ten books of fiction and nonfiction as well as hundreds of stories and essays in magazines, journals and anthologies throughout the world. My most recent publications are The Kyoto Man (Raw Dog Screaming Press), a science fiction novel, and Diegeses (Anti-Oedipus Press), a collection of novelettes.
A Little About Your Writing . . .
As a fiction writer, I’ve been called a lot of things. Absurdist. Irrealist. Existentialist. Science fiction and/or fantasy and/or horror writer. Literary and/or experimental writer. Postmodernist. Post-postmodernist. Retro-modernist. Etc. I guess that’s all true, viewed through the right lenses. I think of myself as a meta-writer who fuses—or tries to fuse—the realms of literary theory and genre fiction. My first publications were flash fictions and stories inspired by Kafka, Gogol, Borges, etc. I was too young to be taking inspiration from those guys and really only picked up on the absurdist veneer of their narratives. I channeled that absurdity into about 100 stories worth of silliness. My juvenilia. Only with the publication of my first novel, Dr. Identity, did I begin to move away from that, retaining an air of playfulness (always), but also introducing elements of complexity, depth and acuity. And only recently do I feel like a capable writer. The Kyoto Man should have been my first book. But I say that with every new book of mine.
What Inspired You To Start Writing?
Fame. I thought all writers were celebrities and made a lot of money. Even literary critics. Anybody who had published a book, in fact. I was naïve for a long time. Much too long. But I quickly learned that the opposite was true: writers, generally speaking, are proles. Basement-dwelling, algae-eating nonentities. It didn’t matter. I realized that writing was a way for me to channel the surplus of creative energy I’ve had since I was a kid. It still functions that way. Writing as imaginative exorcism—despite a hatred of formulaic fiction (i.e., most fiction) and an undying pursuit of innovation, as an author, I live by this unforgivable cliché.
How Has Writing Changed Your Life?
It made me smarter. It made me angrier. It made me fearsome. It exacerbated my insecurities. It filled my muscles with blood.
What Is Your Favourite Book, Ever?
Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. The linguistic innovation. The fusion of humor and drama. The critique of media culture, patriarchy, ultimately power and desire. Burgess’s indisputable genius. Horrorshow.
What Is The Best Piece Of Writing Advice You Could Give, And Why?
Stay away from me. And if you can’t stay away: never look me in the eyes. You might not like what I see.
If You Were A Dragon, What Kind Of Dragon Would You Be?
I don’t believe in dragons. Even Komodo dragons are just glorified lizards.