featured filth purveyor: josh davis,
part i of the interview
1) Are you more fond of American writers or European writers?
that sort of depends. i like american novelists almost exclusively, and i'd even boil that down to 1900-1959. besides a few english and irish writers, and dostoyevsky, foreigners can go fuck themselves when it comes to long form. i must say though, i do like a good dirty 19th century french poet. the more whores and devils, the better.
2) Do you like Asian writers?Is there really a difference between Asian, American,European, SouthAmerican writing?
all asian writers cango fuck themselves. there's probably a really genius group of asian writers out there, but I sure as hell haven't heard of them. to me, stuff like "the good earth" is as crap as anything faulkner did. to me, writing that requires a firm knowledge of a particular culture or distance from the equator is bogus, awful, unartful self indulgent nonsense.
3) What do you think of genre writing? What genre are you?
i think as a word, it's a marketing tool. on one hand, i'm happy i don't have to wade through a sea of bloated basement boy science fiction and debby does sally's two mommies to find a copy of you can't go home again, but on the other hand i'm a relentless bastard when it comes to my taste in art. in a perfect world, i'd hope we'd just have big fucking piles of everything. I think exclusive based on any standard outside of quality is always a mistake.i think my genre is ineffective.
4) What connection do you see between music and writing? What kind of music do you think Homer would listen to today if he were alive? What about Joyce?
i think everything is related to everything. some people write books about being mechanics. others make three and a half hour movies based on a single line in a pop song. whatever inspires
creativity is worthwhile. for me, music is something I grew up around, and hear all the time. it's certainly become part of my overall pallette as an artist.i think homer would be listening to the streets "a grand don't come for free" and joyce would be into radiohead. and they'd both probably dig tom waits.
5) Are you a sports fan?
6) Who is the best writer I've never heard of?
7) I hear the publishing world is full of tramps and whores, is it true?
there are people who consider themselves things of this sort, and like to carry on as if they were true tortured demonic homeless sexual magicians andintellectual savages. honestly, I don't understand how anyone could romanticize the prostitution of the soul as it were in the current state of modern society. or why. i'm sure everyone has their demons, but i know all of mine live comfortably between my ears. but are there people who treat authors like tramps and whores? absolutely. if you use the word "industry" to talk about anyone other than the artist, and a few rare golden exceptions, you're going to get a lot of money minded individuals in a lot of nice suits taking advantage of a lot of nice people's nice heart and soul. it's a bitch, but if you're aware of it you can avoid most of it. although this sort of uncompromising resolve towards purity also means you probably can't afford to live indoors without a second or third job.
8) What are writing groupies like?
writing groupies aren't so much the sexual delicatessens one might imagine as they are people who simply want attention and will do things that they think might be worthy of notice. being someone who makes something lasting that has a chance to be seen by a great number of people for all eternity invigorates said desire for attention, and drives people into a lot of exaggerated posturing that might be deemed grandiose enough to be incorporated into some sort of artwork
which may merit circulation.
9) What is the least important thing to know about writing? Why?
everything is important. if you're going to do something representative or an idea or a life or a history, every little molecule of knowledge is important.
10) What do you think of critics? Would you sleep with one or two to get a better review of your book?
it's possible. maybe if scarlett johansson started working for the new yorker.of course, i love critics who give off wonderful grappling glowing insight into my work, and i despise critics who write me off as senseless amateurish garbage. but i also enjoy being really nailed on my shortcomings every now
and then. i welcome a good wellplaced punch to the ego. critics are critics. i'll probably become a critic myself the second i run out of stories. luckily, if and when that happens, i have a device carefully inserted into my brainstem that will explode the moment i write a query letter about reviewing the latest grisham novel.
part ii, coming soon...