Over the course of approximately a week, Ashley Crawford grilled me on all kinds of topics and themes having to do with my books, My Pet Serial Killer and The Sky Conducting.
Below, I’ve comprised a “Cliff’s Notes” version, where I’ve trimmed it down to 14 bullet points, 7 per book. Here we go:
Reel 1: The Sky Conducting
1) “As in Ballard’s Millennium People notions of trade and commerce are central and some of the most gripping scenes occur in the battered and muddied interior of a mega mall and one pauses at time pondering whether this is in fact America’s future or in fact its present denuded.”
2) “America is a paradox. For every inch of repression and complacency, there is anarchy and a deeply-vested interest to rebel, explore, and idealize. In many ways, what is ‘wrong’ with America fuels what is ‘compelling’ about America.”
3) “The heart attack is, indeed, symbolic …’It pertains to our national pride and expectations for what it meant to be an American. Freedom. The American Dream. Privilege. A pastime to die for. A better life. Not to say any of these have expired, but our hearts are no longer as strong. We are suffering from hypertension. We are looking the other way rather than healing what needs to be healed. For any safeguarding, we attempt to make our lives, and our nation, better… but it might be that there is no ‘perfect plan’ to do just that. We have been hurt and we want to feel better.”
4) “Since reading Sky Conducting it is hard not to become fascinated watching people on trains and in the street and in their cars staring at their iPads, iPhones or blissed out listening to their iPods bumping into each other and walking under oncoming traffic. It seems that, in less than the space of a generation, reality has been obliterated. They are unaware of other people, their immediate surroundings, even the weather and, no doubt, The Family.”
5) “We don’t want to be alone when something goes wrong. In fiction at least, family instantly taps into a reservoir of human empathy.”
6) Fuck I sold my copy of Michael Gira’s The Consumer. Desperation and being poor will do that to you. Be warned.
7) “One day, we simply won’t wake up. Be it our death or the death of our species, I assume, for the individual, it doesn’t matter, does it?”
Reel 2: My Pet Serial Killer
1) “If apocalypse as cliché was turned inside out in The Sky Conducting, then the mass murderer as cliché is eviscerated in My Pet Serial Killer.”
2) “I was afraid, but only after I was finished,” he admits. “I was afraid of where I had gone. I was afraid that I simply stepped into the same steps so many other writers have stepped. I was afraid I’d be lost in Ellroy’s footprints. And yet… there’s something strange about serial killer/investigative crime fiction. It’s a wasteland of clichés but I can’t help but treat it as a perfect opportunity to step into a carnal sideshow of identity issues. I’m fascinated with the serial killer as an object. I could care less about the killer aspect; rather, I enjoy exploring how serial killers, spree killers, terrorists, and other media-centered criminals become stuff of urban legend, myth, and spectacle.”
3) “[My Pet Serial Killer] was only as shocking as I needed it to be in order to maintain Claire Wilkinson’s interest.”
4) “Everything I write seems to consider, somewhere deep within its core, the individual, the human being in terms of identity. I am fixated, subconsciously obsessed, with the concept of self-identity versus perceived/public identity. The sum of my fears has to do with the inability to perceive the identities from which we are fully-bound.”
5) “I consistently fear that I’ll forget who I am, as if I were anything at all to begin with. It isn’t vain; it’s more like an ideal. I read, write, live, indulge, and obsess as if I only have a month left to live. A lot of my friends and family have noticed this level of heightened rapidity in everything that I find value in. I treat it with such importance and yet I act like I will be unable to fully enjoy it for any longer than a moment. Who is to say that I have any more than today? However, this condition has helped me, at the very least, identify what is of true value in my life.”
6) “If anyone finds anything recurring or valuable in the fiction I create, it is most likely going to be a reflection of the human psyche in a state of continual sensory abundance.”
7) “I’ve done some stuff in the past but now I stare at a computer screen a lot.” I drink a lot. I think a lot. Too much?
Who wants to host an intervention party? I’d be up for an intervention party but make sure there’s plenty to drink. Also, it would be cool if there was Drunk Pictionary or some form of icebreaker because people standing around awkwardly only talking to people they know is a real downer.
My Pet Serial Killer is now available for purchase. Clickety click.