Check out the link below, and be sure to keep up with Zine-scene and all the great work they do.
Check out the interview and write-up HERE.
keeping fiction fashionable since 2010
Zine-scene was kind enough to give Fix it Broken a chance in its 'start up corner.' Many thanks to Richard Mocarski for taking the time to read our first issue, check out our site, and interview me (Greg Dybec).
Check out the link below, and be sure to keep up with Zine-scene and all the great work they do.
Check out the interview and write-up HERE.
The Attempted Interview: Mike Young's Genius
Steve Roggenbuck asks Mike Young some questions. Mike Young says what he feels like saying (relevant or not). Yet, it all makes perfect sense.
Mike Young is the author of LOOK! LOOK! FEATHERS, a book of stories, and WE ARE ALL GOOD IF THEY TRY HARD ENOUGH, a book of poems. He co-edits NOÖ Journal and runs Magic Helicopter Press. Sometimes he makes blogs at http://mikeayoung.blogspot.com/. He was born in 1986.
Steve Roggenbuck: You recently did a west coast U.S. reading tour with Jamie Iredell, about 8 days of 1 reading/day in CA, OR, and WA, including a radio-station reading it looks like. What was/is your touring situation like, and how do you like it? Do you get money from your publisher or any of the venues? Do you book the readings yourself? Are you starting to get some people who know your work coming to the readings, or is it mostly new readers/strangers?
Mike Young: The tour was boss. Trudge work but not drudge work. Seattle to L.A in ten sun-licked days. Helicopters from our respective publishers picked us up in Seattle, and throughout most of the tour we had little baskets of fresh strawberries that outposted agents would give us. One of the agents didn't show up, can't remember where, but I'm reminded of that terrorist who picked Detroit to blow up because those flights were cheapest. This same terrorist was supposed to help blow up the U.S.S. Cole, but he fell asleep. When we ran out of books to sell, Jamie and I just wrote new ones. We did this by taking our shirts off and assigning barnacles to our backs. Also, sometimes we dropped people out of our helicopters by surprise and transcribed their reactions. To answer your last question, I have known and loved and stolen Dick Tracy t-shirts from everyone who's ever read anything I've written, so they should stop blaming themselves.
SR: A poem of yours in Glitterpony includes a set of lines I really liked: "Things that scare me include car dealerships at night / and the fact that snow cannot live inside my mouth. / Boom. That's it." I really don't know what kind of question to ask about the poem. Do you like those lines too, especially the end bit? I think it's great.
MY: I wrote that poem after I gave a girl a piggyback ride. We were listening to "Try a Little Tenderness," the live version. The right version, she said. She said, Write me a hundred love poems and maybe I'll love you back. Later she accused me of stealing her laptop, and I had to sleep in the kitchen. Her father was a shifty politician who nonetheless I admire in concept because he used to spray his wife's perfume behind the couch when he got lonely. Sometimes it's good to write a poem only for one person because then everybody else will want to break into your house. Well, not everybody, maybe seventy percent. This girl was worried I couldn't protect her, which was probably true, because mostly I just wanted to have breakfast with her. When I published the poem in Glitterpony, I asked them to take out her name. For the record, I wish her the best and hope she finds someone who doesn't want to take her name out of their poems. When I do this poem in public, I make it a play between two inanimate objects, like a stapler and a crockpot. Once someone on the street accused this performance cloak of fearing the poem's sentiment. Probably there's no such thing as a love poem, just a thing as love, or maybe just a thing as lovers: good luck knowing for sure.
SR: It looks like you've had your blog since 2006, posting somewhere between 50 and 130 posts per year. What does your blog do for you as a writer or a person? Has your blog given you any opportunities or helped you grow any kind of following that you maybe wouldn't have otherwise?
MY: Before there was the internet, there were these things called BBS's, where computers would just call each other one on one. Mano a mano, etc. There were message boards that different BBS's shared, so a lot of people could talk to each other. Modems made very plaintive noises. Once I showed my friend Josh some message boards and he said "None of these people are real, right? You are just typing them all in?" I could've done a lot to convince him otherwise, but nobody wanted to tell me where they lived.
SR: I keep noticing more and more factions and groups/collectives forming in the literary community/communities. I've been grouped in with some without even really trying; it seems to have benefits and drawbacks. What has been your experience with being grouped with other writers or being labeled as part of a movement or a trend, if any? Do you have any strong feelings about it, either based on the practical effects or on some more fundamental belief?
MY: I just watched a YouTube interview with the Nature Boy Ric Flair. Real class act, sort of like a real life The Wrestler except with fancier boas and swagger—in his day. He had a lot of scar tissue on his forehead. Red is green, he said. One of the YouTube commenters scorned him for losing all his money and getting three divorces, but most of the commenters were fans. One commenter said, "He use to have long blond hair but what does that have to do with wrestling? Besides, just because you don't think highly of plant life, doesn't mean plants aren't alive." When the interviewer showed Ric Flair a picture of himself sitting alone in the hallway of a Japanese wrestling arena, on his retirement tour, he cried. Sixty-four times and that was the last one, he said. When the interviewer asked Ric Flair if the wrestling business was tough, Flair put his finger up and said it was great.
SR: Bro, if you could tell the world just one thing… what would it be?
MY: In regards to the world, one time I saw a sign on the window of a hair salon that said NO DOGS ALLOWED, so I wrote this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXuovh9zB1Q
The Youngest of the Bunch: An Interview with Peter Kispert
Peter is the youngest member of The Youth is Write Series (behind Greg Dybec by a few months), but that doesn't mean he isn't involved in BIG things.
Peter Kispert is a student currently living in New Hampshire. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Word Riot, The Catalonian Review, > kill author, Pear Noir!, and Mud Luscious Press, among others. He is the Editorial Assistant and Proofreader with The Medulla Review and Medulla Publishing and Founding Editor of Sandpaper, a print publication for student-composed creative nonfiction. He was born in 1990.
Parker Tettleton: If you were on a billboard in New Hampshire, what would it say?
Peter Kispert: I have no question that particular billboard would read, “He wants to leave too.” Maybe I’d be smiling, pointing west or something.
PT: I see you're affiliated with several literary publications -- has the editorial process affected your craft?
PK: To some extent, yes, I’m certain having some perspective on the editorial process has proved invaluable. I don’t think it’s influenced my own writing, though. I’m still working to develop that independent of the fiction I edit. It’s nice to be on the other side of things, and I’ve come from my editorial duties with more of an appreciation than anything. I’m still learning, but I positively love every moment of it.
PT: How are you like an oreo dipped in milk?
PK: I don’t drink milk, so this question is especially difficult for me to answer. I guess we’re both sort of confused, out of place. I’ll have to settle for that, though I imagine our parallels run deep and with a good deal of grand, compelling symbolism.
PT: Would you rather write or be right?
PK: I’d rather write. I suppose there’s some novelty to being right, but that’s nothing that interests me nearly as much as creative writing. In the third grade, I was asked to spell the word “right” for some preliminary round of a regional spelling bee. I spelled the word “w-r-i-t-e.” I was almost disqualified, but that lead us to an interesting discussion on homophones. These are the things I retain. Ask me about logarithms.
PT: How often do you write? Do you have a favorite place to do so?
PK: I write nightly. I prefer to drive aimlessly at night and talk out stories. That’s been my preferred means of actualizing these sorts of things. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon something that captivates me, and when that happens it really is the strangest thing. I’m not as easily moved to write creatively during the day.
PT: The bio for your Word Riot piece "Fortune Factory" mentions that you're working on a novel. How is the project thus far? Have you attempted extended works before?
PK: Ah, yes. The novel. Truthfully, it’s been an arduous process. Then again, I can’t imagine it could ever possibly be easy. I’ve tried my hand at writing longer work before, but it never seemed to unfold properly. I began to understand that the stories I was conjuring were not best told in such length. I’ve been putting a great deal of time into fine-tuning characters, their actions—a fascinating situation or location normally does the trick; for me, it’s a matter of finding myself in that place where I feel a story needs to be told. Once I’m there, I’ve at least got something on the page.
PT: How long have you written? Would you call any authors &/or works in particular catalysts for your literary ambitions?
PK: I’ve been writing nightly since high school, so it’s been six years now. I first started writing diligently around the time I discovered Matthea Harvey’s poetry. It’s just brilliant. All of it. The way she vivisects language—the care in which she breaks images and reconstructs them to her own ends—is something I closely admire. As far as fiction writers I love, Jennifer Egan takes the cake. There are a great many others whose writing stays with me. The online community is bursting at the seams with talented writers, many of whom write radiant fiction and poetry I’m always privileged to have work appear alongside.
PT: Do you have any long-term goals for your writing?
PK: I’d like to have work appear in a few specific literary magazines someday, but that will never be the driving force for my writing.
PT: Do your creative habits & skills extend beyond literature?
PK: I like to think so, but then again, it’s hard to say. I’ve been involved with a good deal of theatre in the past, but that’s become less a part of my life as I’ve taken such a keen interest in writing creatively.
PT: Is there any creature more dramatic than a human being?
PK: I’m not sure. I’ll grant that people are pretty dramatic. PT: What role does the internet serve in terms of your literary conscious? Do you feel closely tied to the online community of writers?
PK: I don’t feel particularly close to the online literary community, but I’m content admiring great writing nonetheless. I’m pleased that fantastic work has become so accessible. If I want a knockout poem or short story, I know where to find one. There’s so much beautiful writing online as well as in print. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming.
PT: Compose a bio devoid of publications, age, & location that best describes you at this moment.
PK: Peter Kispert don’t want no scrub. Also, he’s a big fan of grapefruit, remedial geometry, and humility.
Thanks, Parker and Greg!
Who is Shannon?
This is Shannon? An Interview
Shannon Peil lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado. His work has appeared in a few dozen online publications and a couple in print, but more notably he edits for people who actually know what they are doing at http://amphibi.us. He gets referred to as Ms. more often than not in e-mails. He was born in 1985.
Shannon said: "Oh god this ended up really long.. What do you think?"
Ana said: "Long is good."
AC: OMG. Facebook told me you're from San Diego. Why did you leave SD and did you ever visit Tijuana?
SP: I think my FB hometown might be misleading as my mom moved for her company to Boulder when I was four, so I don't actually remember living there. And I haven't been to Mexico yet, but I'm definitely planning on going.
AC: If you were an onomatopoeia, which one would you be?
SP: I would be a fwump like a fire eating up all the oxygen around it.
AC: If amphibi.us was an onomatopoeia, which one?
SP: I think amphibi.us would be a croak like a frog, or a babble like a brook. Can it have two?
AC: Do you ever spend a day without the internet? If yes, how does that make you feel? If no, why not?
SP: The last time I went any longer than a few hours without internet was a music festival in the woods, sleeping in tents last year. I think I did okay because I consciously prepared for it - put amphibi.us on hiatus, told everyone I'd be missing for a few days, and made sure I hadn't left anything undone before I left. Before that, I can't even remember an instance of being without it for any prolonged period of time. I start getting really anxious and worried really quickly without internet. I think I spent too much time alone as a kid, the computer has always been my closest friend.
AC: When/how did you decide you wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing?
SP: I think I've known it for a long time, but I didn't start putting work out until a year and a half ago. When I was a little kid I devoured my parent's bookshelves and wrote stories and poems, nothing serious obviously, but I fell in love with words as soon as I could read. In 2009 I started submitting poems and had a few stories published and started getting more serious about it. Around the time I started amphibi.us I was trying to find as many lit magazines online as I could and just reading everything they'd ever done. It was this whole world I had no idea existed and I knew then that even if I never did anything of real note I wanted to be part of it.
AC: Do you google yourself? Why?
SP: I try not to. I think googling ourselves is the most narcissistic thing about the time we live in right now, but of course I do. I check for comments on my writing, or mentions on sites. A few times I've found link backs or on two occasions, works I submitted and never got a response to that were posted somewhere. Those were kind of jarring and unprofessional, I think, but at least I found them.
AC: Do you write more during the day or night? Do you write more when you’re busy with other stuff or when you have “nothing to do” or when?
SP: I tend to write a lot when I'm in my cubicle during breaks at work, or I have specific lines of dialog or a story that I have to write down, usually when I'm busy with other things. When I'm driving, especially, I get weird lines of text running through my head and I talk myself through it until I get where I'm going have to try to make notes for myself about it for later before I forget. I find that when I'm bored or have nothing to do, and I think "I should be writing something," the results are dismal. They almost always end up scrapped.
AC: Who do you admire? Who/what influences your writing?
SP: I'm going to lame this question up (see below) and say that I admire everybody who's putting their work out there. Not just the writers, but also the people who help facilitate their work, the editors and publishers who help everyone along. I get this feeling when I read something that really affects me, that I'm different somehow for having read it, so I'm thankful for people being really passionate about getting those words out there for everyone to eat up.
As for who influences me, I promised myself I wasn't going to name-drop specific people before I read these questions, so I'll just say that the following sites really inspire me and I'd be outrageously happy if I ever got into any of them:
pangur ban party
AC: Star Trek or Star Wars? Why?
SP: Star Wars (not counting recent additions to the canon,) because Star Trek never really grabbed me all that much. I think maybe Star Trek would hold a higher place in my heart if DS9 and Voyager had never happened, but that's just me.
AC: What’s your writing process? Do you think about cool words or do you magically come up with a line and develop the idea or what do you do?
SP: When I have an idea for a story or just lines of text floating around in my brain, I jot them down in a notepad for later. When I get an idea for a story, I write myself shorthand about where it should start and end and then flesh it out when I have time.
Usually poems come into my head and are written in one sitting, then I let them sit there for a few weeks and if I still like it when I read it again/make more edits, I put them in a separate document for stuff I'm really happy with. The document I'm not really happy with is currently 700 pages long and I don't know what to do with it.
AC: I think the name of a site is important. Names are a big deal. How did you come up with ‘amphibi.us’? Did you think of other names/ideas before that one? How long did it take you to pick amphibi.us and not something else? Do you remember the other ideas/names for your lit journal? Can you name some?
SP: I really wanted to use the tag line "waterlogged words," so I was going for a liquid related word from the start. I had a notepad filled with ideas around the time I was getting ready to buy my domain and I just kept entering them into a domain search engine looking for ones that would be available. I was having trouble locating an original .com that I could buy so I started thinking of words that end in "us" so I could buy a *.us domain instead. I decided to misspell amphibious because amphibio.us looked weird. I didn't really think of it at the start, but I end up getting a lot of submissions to "Amphibi" or "The Amphibi" which always cracks me up.
My next favorite idea was "ragged right" or "ragged right press" as in left justified text. I also bought "wordswordswordswordswords.com" which I still haven't used for anything. I was pretty drunk and thought it was a good idea at the time.
AC: I think rejecting submissions is hard. Please describe a shitty submission. How do you reject submissions you don’t like? or why do you reject submissions? Do you try to be nice?
SP: Examples of shitty submissions I've received:
90 page documents of poetry
Fiction in double-spaced comic sans that are usually way over the word limit
Rhyming Hallmark style love poems
Shit with numerous typos / proof reading done by spellcheck only
Combinations of the above, usually just not reading the submission guidelines.
These are usually accompanied by a shitty cover letter that calls me Ms., misspells my last name, explains that they are submitting to the journal because I accept reprints, or my personal favorite, "I'm submitting to your site because like me, no one's ever heard of you..."
That said, I don't let coverletters influence whether I'll accept a piece or not and I'm happy about the fact that I've never sent out a form letter rejection. I keep everything nice when I reject a piece, even if it's godawful, and I don't offer criticism when I reject a piece, just a simple no thanks, whether it was really close or not. If they are way off base and obviously didn't read the submission guidelines I try to hint at what I'd accept in the future without getting snarky or anything.
AC: I liked your questions so I’m going to steal this one: What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
SP: This one is really hard for me. I'm terribly socially anxious and paranoid as a person, so the tiniest things will embarrass me for days. That said, I should be able to pinpoint a really hilarious anecdote about it, but so much of my life is spent being embarrassed it all kind of melts together.
AC: What’s your favorite emoticon? :)
Steve Roggenbuck, Richard Chiem, & the Pseudo-social Scavenger Hunt
Richard and Steve went super cyber with their imaginative interview for The Youth is Write Series. If you know anything about Steve Roggenbuck, and his love and involvement in taking over the social networking and online literary communities, one guerilla tactic at a time, then this format makes perfect sense.
Steve Roggenbuck grew up in rural Michigan and now lives in Chicago. He has published two short poetry collections as public domain websites. He is a vegan and a buddhist. He blogs at steveroggenbuck.com. He was born in 1987.
About the Pseudo-social Scavenger Hunt
Here's how it works: Richard Chiem asked Steve Roggenbuck ten questions. He asked the questions throughout various forums, social networks, websites, comment areas, etc. Steve answered in the same places. Therefore, this interview is spread out across the internet like the best sort of virus or naked celebrity photograph.
If you would like to experience the interview as it was created, you can follow the links below, and in true scavenger hunt fashion, search for the both Richard's questions and Steve's answers throughout the miscellaneous domains.
If you don't have that sort of time on your hands, Richard was kind enough to supply screenshots for most of the pages, which reveal questions and answers.
We'll post the links first and then the screenshots. Nobody said this would be easy, so if you're struggling to find a few and feel the need to resort to a screenshot, we won't judge you, too harshly.
The Pseudo-social Scavenger Hunt
Question 1: Facebook (Hint: February 22nd)
Question 2: YouTube (No answer yet from Steve, but why not watch the video?)
Question 3: Beachsloth Blog
Question 4: Amazon
Question 5: Tao Lin's Blog
Question 6: YouTube (Pop Serial 2 Trailer)
Question 7: HTML Giant
Question 8: Steve Roggenbuck's Blog
Question 9: Eric Beeny's Blog
Question 10: Twitter
The Man who Fixed it Broken:Greg Dybec Speaks (briefly)
Greg Dybec is the Founding Editor of Fix it Broken. He has work published or forthcoming in > Kill author, Dogzplot, Fractured West, Thunderclap, and others. As you can tell, he enjoys being young.
Amanda Deo: It’s not easy entertaining the big man on campus. I got the chance to have an informal conversation with Greg Dybec, writer and editor of Fix-It-Broken, and inquire as to why this smooth-faced New York native thought it was so important to run The Youth-is-Write Series. Over the course of two infatuating hours of whimsical banter, World Cup envy and the greatness of Tom Selleck, Greg was able to cement why he is one of the hardest pencil pushers on the literary scene right now.
Amanda Deo: So a few things I was wondering late last night, and by late I mean 9:15pm, go kind of like this. I'm creeping you out a little bit and I notice you have one picture with a fake beard and one picture with a fake 'stache on Facebook.
GD: I view facial hair as a sort of pet. Like that great dog you want in your life. Unfortunately, I have not come close to reaching my anticipated facial hair growing skills. (I think we've just touched upon the epitome of being young). So, why spend the time and effort taking care of a sub-par dog when you can just wait and prepare for that great companion. I know one day that hairy friend will appear, and I will treat it kindly and respectfully. Until then I'll just keep getting drunk and wearing fake mustaches and beards. Is there a phobia for not being able to grow a porn-worthy ‘stache?
AD: Raise your hand if you’ve been carded for beer at Rated R Movies! (I don't want to grow a mustache but my hand is raised).
GD: First of all, what movie theater serves beer? And yes, my card may as well be my twin.
AD: I meant carded for beer AND at R rated movies. I fucked up on typing that.
GD: For a second I thought I was missing out on some advanced Canadian theaters.
AD: You go to a Roman Catholic university in NYC. (St. Johns) How does this affect your writing? I say this because I went to a very far-left kind of university and there was a lot of sharing (sharing = caring).
GD: I think it's one of the most crucial aspects of my writing. My university life - being in New York City - really allows me to be an architect in a way. I don't feel confined by school at all, but it's always there lurking. I love the combination of discovering on my own and then being put into a classroom to get some other type of knowledge force-fed to me. People like to criticize the institution and the routine, but for me it's just one more thing to observe and explore. The fact that it's a Roman Catholic school does not at all affect the type of students here. It's New York, so it will be eclectic regardless. I guess the difference is that there is an easy outlet if you are religious. (A lot of service opportunity's, daily mass on campus, etc. ) I feel like I already have one foot out the door anyway, like I'm in some ineffable purgatory between classrooms and office buildings. It's scary but a lot of fun at the same time.
AD: Maybe this goes back to the 'stach thing, but if Tom Selleck were to call you on the phone right now, what would you say?
GD: I'd ask Tom Selleck who the 22nd and 24th President of the United States was.
AD: Do you know the answer?
GD: Grover Cleveland. It was the same guy.
AD: Wow. Good for you. Are you a member of MENSA?
GD: Haha. Not yet.
AD: So I was reading your piece over at Kill Author..the latest one..The Comedy of Shattering Birds…
GD: That was an amazing issue of > Kill Author. I’m honored to be in it.
AD: I had quite a few emotions running through me when I read it. First, I was pensive and then I was uncomfortable...thinking about nursing homes, aging, etc. And then I was laughing by the end of it; well it was actually more of a chuckle because I was by myself and I don't like laughing loudly by myself. It makes me feel weird.
GD: Yeah, it's not a fun feeling laughing by yourself; kind of depressing.
AD: How do you feel about the idea of nursing homes and knowing that you may find yourself amongst the decrepit one day?
GD: Wow. Well as exaggerated as the depiction was in my story, and as much as I kind of deprived all the unnamed patients of any real humanity, my views on nursing homes aren't much different from that. I hate them. I’m not really sure if there is any alternative and I don't think they are wrong, necessarily. I just hate hospitals, nursing homes, and the smell of latex gloves. That’s one thing I can't picture, reaching such an age.
I love sports; I'm always moving and doing something. I can't imagine my body one day failing me. Also, my mind. That's my biggest fear, as I'm sure it is for most people. If I were to ever begin losing my memory or the ability to create, I don't know what I'd do.
AD: Finish this line: If I had a million dollars…
GD: If I had a million dollars, I’d be in Helsinki right now.
AD: Why Helsinki?
GD: I’m really upset with that answer to be honest. It just came spewing out.
AD: If you were a news reporter, what would be the one story you would hate to report on?
GD: A terrorist attack...or a cat fashion show, like in Anchorman. I love that movie, but that would be brutal.
AD: Do you feel like the mainstream media squashes poetry and prose because of its girth, or do you feel like in some ways, the mainstream can be very helpful to smaller mediums like poetry?
GD: Both. I think when you take yourself out of that indie "element" and "medium" you see how overshadowing the mainstream can be. Is there a simpler way to say "mainstream is garbage?" But truthfully, mainstream only means that it's film, literature, music, and the arts getting a great deal of attention. What would we be as a society if we couldn't all watch the same films and have that commonality? So I guess it does allow the smaller presses and arts to thrive as well. Without the big abusive mother country we wouldn't be able to have this amazing small colony. Though of course I feel the quality is beyond better in this smaller realm of the arts. There are so many determinants that go into whether or not a certain piece of work will be considered mainstream.
AD: You started this series. Why is it so important to you to showcase young writers?
GD: I had one of those days when you walk past a mirror and for a brief moment glance over and really feel where you are in the world. I’m fascinated by the fact that everything we do and everything we are involved in is an inescapable process. So many aspects of life that we enjoy were created by a person who was once sucking down breast milk; someone who went through puberty and played pranks in college. There is a certain divinity that comes along with being young, and there is nothing more assuring than people in this crucial point of growth that are able to channel the sensations they do and create such striking material. When you break it down into particulars, I love writing and purveying the writing of others. I’m not really sure if being a young writer necessarily means anything, but I felt like it was something important to display and I still feel that way now. Basically, I’m constantly in awe at the fact that age doesn’t determine skill or wisdom. I suppose, in the simplest terms, I wanted show that in this literary community the young ones are kicking ass.
AD: I got to know a lot about Greg this week. He loves Radiohead, he thinks Fernando Torres is a Judas and he really likes Halloween parties. But most of all, he’s super dedicated to putting himself and the work of others “out there”. He’s a team player. He wants to be crucial in helping steer this small press ship because he believes in it. And nothing, nothing, is sexier than believing in all of this.
"WE'RE NOT REALLY SICK, WE'RE DOING OKAY": An Interview with Frank Hinton
Frank Hinton lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and edits Metazen. No one is sure who Frank actually is. Frank was born in 1983.
Mike Young: Hi, Frank. Is it cold in Canada? It is cold in Massachusetts.
Frank Hinton: It’s cold. Roofs are collapsing. Bums are freezing to the concrete. People are still leaving them change. I feel like I’m supposed to say things that make Canada seem really, really cold. I saw you in the zoo reading video. It looks cold there but your jacket seems thick.
MY: That jacket makes me feel like I can barbecue in any weather. What is your favorite jacket? Have you ever named any inanimate objects like a piece of clothing or a cell phone?
FH: I don't like jackets. I have this long black coat I like. It has lots of pockets and a big collar. I've never really named things, but I do develop deep and illogical connections to things. I have all of these little things around my house that I have thought-conversations with. I get really sad when I kill bugs, sad to the point that I sometimes cry. It's terrible.
MY: I have one friend named Francesca, but you are firmly Frank. One time you said "I just think that when you’re writing and trying to share your stuff with others it’s nice to have some kind of glitz on you ... If I can explore my own loneliness and perversions and fears from behind this weird wall my writing feels truer. I can put myself out into the world as less of a definable person and more in terms of my own feelings and emotions. You get my personality without having to see the pimples on my ass." What do you think is the difference between being a "definable person" and "feelings and emotions?" If I were being fractious, I might say they are the same thing.
FH: They might be. I think what I am talking about is the sensation of not exactly existing and doing things in that space of non-definite reality. I’ve never met a single writer in person. I’ve never met a single one of my editors. I am always throwing out truths and half truths and misdirections. It’s kind of an experiment. Does that make sense? I feel like in my actual life when I get up from the computer and walk out into the world I’m constantly holding things in. I’m me, but I’m not the part of me that I’m most interested in/ fulfilled by because I’m only able to be that me as Frank Hinton, online. That’s not saying I’m not living authentically or that I’m depressed or anything, it’s just that there is a sort of hope and happiness that being not wholly defined in a community brings me. I like being with other writers.
MY: Often I feel your stories take a narration of observing recollection—looking at photographs—or your characters experience life in the manner of observing things as future recollections. Which I guess sort of ties into some recurring phrases I've noticed, like "There is no difference between an object and an event." Can you say a little about all this? Can anyone eat a grilled cheese sandwich without actually eating the history of cheese?
FH: I think that there are a lot of things in writing that are analogous to meditation and the process of meditation. In a lot of ways meditation is basically watching. Some practitioners talk about ‘watching the watcher’. I sort of think of of meditating that way, as observing myself as an observer. Cutting out the consciousness. Everything to me is kind of process, a constant changing and I like to document that. But it feels like it is hard to do that. A lot of things I write about are things that I’ve tried to look at as processes within the moment.
MY: I want to ask a question that ties your concerns with metafiction into this thing we're supposed to talk about, which is youth on the internet. I feel like there is a social dynamic among "young writers on the internet" (I kind of hate all the implications inherent in that phrase, which is why the quotes) that encourages a "fiction" sharing mode that's actually very close to just a shit-shooting mode one would slip into with friends. Many stories I read often feel like people are writing stories to talk about their days with each other. People are not sitting around virtual campfires trying to huckster each other. It's more like couches via couches. Or I could be way off base. What do you think?
FH: It feels like there are moments and feelings I’m experiencing that others are also experiencing and writing about. I like to read about what people do in the non-dramatic times of their life. I like reading about people’s interactions with their environment and the common but sick thoughts that go through their head. I think things that people would call sick are okay and normal on the internet. I feel like we’re sharing our sick minds with one another and saying, ‘it’s okay, I’m sick too, we’re not really sick, we’re doing okay.’ It feels like it is the time to document the reality of being young and a writer and an internet user. The word ‘frontier’ keeps going through my head but I don’t know how to use it. This all sounds stupid.
MY: No, that is a really lucid way to frame it. It makes me think of the idea of young people all calling in sick, but to each other, and sick in the sense you're saying. What if you could get paid for all of this? Like you could get paid for clicking Like on links people post to their stories?
FH: I think everybody likes money. I would take money for things. I don't know what to say to this. Money might mess up the playfulness of it. Thinking about making money from how I play around with writers right now seems stupid. I would probably do a lot of dares for 20 bucks right now though.
MY: One line of yours I really like is "We feed him candle smoke and he tends not to be too haunting." That is beautiful. I like the "tends not" qualifier. If you could feed anything smoke, what would you feed and what kind of smoke would it be? Bonus points for somehow metafictionally inserting your Frank and Lili characters.
FH: Lili likes Deluxe Daddy vaporizer smoke. She’d inhale deep and call the ghost over and touch her lips to his and blow it right through his mouth and out the back of his head. Frank likes Djarum Blacks. He’d light it and try to look tough and cough it into the ghost’s face. Lili would probably find it funny and might give out a hand job later on.
MY: You have one story that ends with a raccoon in the darkness and another story that ends with the line "Let’s see what animals come to pick me apart and carry me away." One of the strongest traits of your work, for me, is its ability to observe and catalog humans concisely and sympathetically. What do you think of animals? What do you think of humans? If you could pick one human to replace with an animal version of that human, who would you pick, and what animal?
FH: I like animals more than humans. I like my dog more than any human. I sleep with my dog and cuddle with her and talk to her all the time. I get visibly upset when I read about animal cruelty. Where I live someone just got caught shooting puppies with staple-guns. I started swearing and cursing in front of everyone around me when I found out, going on about the death penalty. Humans are great too, but they difficult to cuddle with.
MY: I noticed you responded to almost all of your Facebook birthday wishes individually, fairly personalized. It reminded me of that scene in Synechdoche, New York where Caden has all those Post-It notes for all of his actors (http://www.filmbrain.com/filmbrain/WindowsLiveWriter/Synecdoche%20Mind.jpg), except your gesture felt more benevolent. Do you feel an obligation to your online identity? Do you feel like when you're online you're farming or tending to your online identity? Does it feel more like whack-a-mole, a computer RPG, a birthday candle manufacturing company, or a tiny window through which pigeons come with little gifts and you send them out with other gifts and you have to keep track of the pigeons by how neatly their wings have been groomed?
FH: I don’t know. The friends I have on Frank Hinton’s facebook are all writers. So when I’m on facebook I want to support everybody as much as I can. Everything I read now pretty much comes from the writers on my facebook account, so facebook is kind of like where I go to interact with people I think of as personal celebrities. I’m nice to people because I want to impress them because I’m for the most part in awe of them.
MY: Several of your stories have people eating semi-unsatisfying food together, but not really together together. What is your fondest meal memory? What is your worst?
FH: I remember having a MacDonald’s birthday party when I was a kid. And I got to have a hambuger and nuggets and all of my friends only got nuggets. It was amazing. I remember staring at her and watching her cry and smiling while I jammed nuggets into my mouth. We all had on those shitty shiny pointy birthday hats.
I had a terrible meal last week on my birthday. My friends took me out for breakfast and I kept going to the bathroom and throwing up because I’d done so much stuff the night before. I kept coming back and eating my meal and then throwing up. They got really upset because they were paying and I kept puking it up. I even ordered dessert. Rice pudding. I threw that up!
MY: Puking is the worst. I can't believe some people enjoy puking. I am going to Thailand sometime this Winter to visit my girlfriend, and I am really afraid that some mosquito is going to bite me and then I am going to puke up mosquitoes. People keep telling me that's not how it works, but I've seen the movies. Do you like puking? If so, why? If not, imagine you could re-engineer the biology of puking to be more soothing—how would you do it?
FH: I think I have a sound understanding and maybe even a sympathy for puking. I think that there are extreme moments when your body gives you a solid look at reality. Right during orgasm and immediately after puking there is a lot of clarity in perception. I think that's pretty cool. You go out, you party, you hit an extreme and you have sex... the reward is a moment of total awareness. You go out, you party, you hit an extreme and you puke; same reward. One feels a little better than the other but the good moments feel the same. Thailand is really fun. I was really sick when I was there and they gave me lots of great pharmaceuticals because I had money to buy them. Everything was double-tropical.
MY: If you could only eat one more meal before you died, but it had to be with a stranger, describe the stranger.
FH: I’d eat with a stranger that would readily screw/screw me good as soon as the meal was done. I think all I would think about before dying a known death would be if I’d made the most out of my last orgasm. I wouldn’t want it all to be a waste of energy.
Pondering Shannon Peil throws some rapid-fire
with questions in Parker's direction for this
Parker installment of The Youth is Write Series
Parker Tettleton's writing has appeared in DOGZPLOT, > kill author, elimae & Mud Luscious, among other places. His chapbook SAME OPPOSITE is available from Thunderclap Press. He was recently twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Find links to more of his work here. Parker was born in 1987.
Shannon Peil: When you start a piece, do you know where it's going to end?
Parker Tettleton: If it's a prose/short poem that pops into my head, they usually stay intact once
transferred onto paper/my laptop. Otherwise, I have to grind a bit.
SP: Do you force yourself to write when you aren't producing anything good?
PT: I'd rather do other things, like drink beer - so, no.
SP: Do you have anyone to bounce ideas off of or proofread for you before
PT: I have a few I like to share things with, but I leave ideas & proofreading to
SP: Have you ever been embarrassed by any pieces you've had published after the
PT: No. I prefer seeing progress. If the piece is presented the way I intended it at
the time, that's all I ask.
SP: Do you prefer beer or snow?
PT: Beer is my preferred way to snow.
SP: If you built a robot, what would its main function be?
PT: Tickling my fancy.
SP: What makes you think 'holy fuck I have to write this down?'
PT: Every few days I find myself writing many things down. I believe it's an
unintentional mood more than anything else.
SP: When was the last time you cried?
PT: Before I answered any questions.
SP: Do you have a day job? Does it incorporate any skills that make you a writer? Do you plan on writing for a living?
PT: I'm happy to say I'm a part of YesYes, a new literary press founded by KMA Sullivan. I'm helping with the blog, which incorporates all I can give it. I believe I will always write & I'm not fond of planning.
SP: Do you have any poetry from when you were a teenager? Is it awful? Can we see it?
PT: I finished my first several collections, five I think, before I turned
twenty. I'll reference my earlier statement concerning progress, & show anything for living expenses.
SP: What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
PT: Things I hardly remember. I shit myself in elementary school.
SP: What are your biggest current influences in literature?
PT: Form-wise I've been taken for quite some time by prose poetry & very short
fiction. As far as names go, I am remiss to not mention many, but will say the
first that almost always comes to mind: Kim Chinquee.
SP: I know we're both Tao Lin fans. What do you think about people in their
twenties, like ourselves, having multiple novels out and available in major
bookstores, being reviewed by the new york times, etc?
PT: What can be said? It's great. Regardless of someone's feelings towards Tao Lin
&/or his work, his success speaks for itself. I've read Richard Yates twice. I
remember enjoying Shoplifting For American Apparel & Cognitive-Behavioral
Therapy. Yay Tao.
SP: When you read Tao, do you ever start having 'Tao Lin' thoughts? Tragic, vague,
existentially crushing 'quoted' thoughts?
SP: What is the best underground magazine right now? What is special about it?
PT: The best I've kept to myself. Or I'm not sure what constitutes underground. Are
elimae, New York Tyrant, Mud Luscious, etc. underground? I feel fortunate to
have work in many places, & there are even more where I'd feel equally fortunate
SP: Do you have any friends that write? How do you balance social networking as both
a person and as a writer?
PT: I don't make grand distinctions between those I know in person & those I do not,
so I consider myself to have many friends who write. The internet is my
sustained addiction. I feel I'm always a writer as a person, & suppose that
surfaces often in social situations.
SP: What do you think about internet publishing and the direction in which contemporary literature
PT: I believe I will always want to hold books. That said, I'm in favor
of internet publishing in large part due to the accessibility it provides. There
are far too many quality online journals & publishers I likely wouldn't read as
consistently as I do if they were all in print & came with a price tag. I'm not
one for endings. The possibilities for contemporary literature please me. I
don't need to know where everything goes; I'd just like to be a part of it.
SP: What do you want to do with your life?
PT: I want my screenwriting buddy to finish his script & have the tree house I've
been promised built. I want to write as long as I wish to. I want to learn how
not to do a number of things. Others, I want to keep doing.
Check out Parker's Blog
Purchase Parker's Chapbook
Check out Parker at Yes Yes Books
Fix it Broken's The Youth is Write Series continues next Friday (Feb. 18th), when Frank Hinton will be interviewed by Mike Young.
For the third installment of The Youth is Write Series, Peter Kispert interviews the Founding Editor of Thunderclap Press and innovative young poet, Amanda Deo. Not to mention, she's Canadian and proud of it. Does that make a difference? Of course not. Take a look as Peter and Amanda chat about being young and running a press, poetry, and even last week's Youth is Write interviewer, Frank Hinton. Canadian love? Indeed.
Peter Kispert: You’re a fiction writer, a poet, a blogger, a tweeter, and Founding Editor of Thunderclap Press. It’s all very impressive! Have you always been so passionate about language, and do you ever find time to sleep?
Amanda Deo: I do sleep quite well, believe it or not. Since I was little I’ve been on a strict sleeping schedule. You won’t catch me at a bar many days out of the year past midnight. You also probably won’t catch me at a late movie. After 9:00pm, I completely shut down and am fast asleep. Of course, I’m also a morning person. I blame this on my family who was up early on weekends to go to hockey tournaments throughout my childhood.
I’ve always been passionate about language. It began with music, really. I spent a lot of time listening to music when I was small and that developed my love of just hearing people speak. Music brought me to writing. Bands like Placebo, when I was in highschool, really got me around to playing with language. Just a few years later I was studying poets like Keats, Byron and Browning at university in Ottawa, Ontario. It’s been going strong ever since.
PK: As I briefly mentioned, you’re Founding Editor of Thunderclap Press, a print publication for innovative fiction, poetry, and chapbooks. That’s quite the undertaking! What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered with regard to starting up such a diverse and ambitious press?
AD: Well, I find it hard to say no to people sometimes. Sometimes I sit on the fence about submissions and it’s almost a nail biter for me. I want to make people happy and I want to make people feel extraordinary about literature. But at the end of the day I have a vision of my product and what it can do for readers.
Initially it was hard to get the kind of submissions I was looking for because I really had no connections. But the online literary world is so big now, and in just a few months I was able to make connections with writers and other editors that have helped me a lot. I also took Robert Vaughan on as an editor and his connections to the writing community, as well as his zest for literature, have been incredibly valuable to me as Thunderclap continues to grow.
PK: The words, “MY HEAD, YOUR BEAR TRAP” appear on your website. What connection, if any, do you have to those words?
AD: Those words are from a poem by Irving Layton entitled, “Tell it to Peggy”. Irving Layton has been a huge inspiration to me for seven or eight years now. He’s sort of been my writing crutch. All roads lead to Irving (I think that should be written on my tombstone one day). It’s a very sassy, short poem. I think, as a person, I ‘m like a very sassy, short poem.
PK: A lot of your poetry contains elements of both playfulness and seriousness. That intrigues me. For example, in the poem “Carrier Pigeon,” you write:
Mum’s placed my heart in the
fridge and my history in the
downstairs bedrooms so I can
find my way back in a
I’ll fly down pushing
speeds of 90 an hour
to catch those sleigh bells
at Christmas time--all while
carrying the weight of
America on my back.
I appreciate your style, and I think a lot of your writing plays and works at the same time, which results in some particularly effective and organic language. Do you normally set out to write a certain something or do you let your imagination conjure fresh moments as they come to you? Do you have any writing habits?
AD: First off, thanks! A lot of my poetry comes from my displacement, I think. Moving from Canada to the United States has been a really big challenge for me. It’s been very confusing and at times I have questioned my decisions to re-locate through my writing.
Some poets recently had a debate on the “I” in poetry. For those who say there is no room for it, I completely disagree. Maybe I’m biased. The entire argument, however, that “I” implants way too much ego in a poem and leaves no room for much else is bullshit. There is a fine line between a poem being too personal and it being effective. I feel like I’m flirting with that every day.
I tell myself when I’m going to write. I usually do it on the weekends. Sometimes it comes in waves. When it comes in waves, it has to be an unstoppable thing. Look out! No one can interrupt me, not even my dog. (His bathroom breaks must be fit in around those perfect writing hours). I also push myself to write out of fear. It is a continued fear of mine that poetry will become less and less a staple in peoples’ lives. Poetry has evolved into this thing strictly for academics. I think I write the kind of poetry that every day folks can relate to. I know that is certainly the kind of poetry I like best.
I have just started to write some fiction as of late. I’m not a very good or experienced fiction writer so I’m trying my best hand at flash fiction. Those ideas just come off the top of my head. It’s pretty fun.
PK: How do you feel your age has impacted your writing, if at all? Do you think it has impacted your press in any way?
AD: I don’t think it’s impacted me too much, if it has, it’s probably in my own head. 90% of the online writing community is definitely a little older, and probably a little wiser. But I think my experience and educational background adds on a few years. The only time I have felt that someone didn’t take me seriously, or take the press seriously, is from a few writers or small press entrepreneurs that are “out of my league” so to speak. But I kind of expect that and it’s like anything in life, you move on. You give yourself new sets of challenges. You work with people who are willing to work with you.
After a certain point, age has nothing to do with how good someone’s work is or how hard someone is willing to push to get what they want. The world needs Shirley Temples. I should also note that with technology opening up so many additional lanes to bowl in, a lot of younger folks who have great grasps on new technologies are getting involved with writing and throwing some serious strikes.
PK: From your poetry and fiction, it’s clear you’re a reader as well as a writer. What other publications do you most admire, and why?
AD: So many great ones out there! Metazen, decomP, PANK, just to name a few. I admire these magazines because they are continually pushing the envelope and their product is fantastic. You have editors and pencil pushers like Frank Hinton who have just gone above and beyond what most people will do to put their honest self out there. And they do it with pizzazz. I admire her as someone as the same age bracket as me. So there is hope for us young ones. There is hope!
PK: Do you have any future plans for Thunderclap Press? It’s clearly been a successful operation, and I can only imagine it will continue to be! Where would you like to see Thunderclap in, say, five years’ time?
AD: Ahhhh…the inevitable timeline question. I would love for Thunderclap to just continue to give artists the spotlight, to showcase ridiculous talent and to make some cool looking books. I have a family, a full time job and my own sanity to consider, so I won’t be able to get too carried away with it. But a community is very important to me; it’s essential to my existence. I think Thunderclap will continue for as long as my need as a human being to connect with other human beings exists.
Thanks to Greg for doing this series. It’s awesome.
Check out Amanda's publishing ingenuity at Thunderclap Press.
Check out Amanda's writing at her Blog.