Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reader Meet Author

Sam Pink

The challenge of the fiction writer is to entertain with stories and words that may or may not be based on pieces of their lives while not injecting too much of their own history. Yet if you are too mysterious or unusual then people will believe that it is all an act or false persona. The writer must walk that line where they are visible, accessible, blogging, but always holding something back. The problem comes in when the reader and the critic confuse genuine thought and creativity for an artificial reality. True, literature has been known for pen names, ghost writers, larger than life persona's, but their are a growing segment of writer creating honest, perhaps unusual, stories simply because that is what comes out.

Sam Pink could be considered an internet writer, and he maintains a strange and entertaining blog that is currently called, CROWN YOURSELF THEN KILL YOURSELF. His writing is hilarious and random, and you never know what is coming next. He currently has a chapbook out on Jaguar Uprising called Yum Yum I Can't Wait To Die, and his first collection of short stories called "I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT" will be published by Paper Hero Press in the fall.

Recently, Sam Pink was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Earlier this month you announced that your first book, I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT, will be published by newcomers Paper Hero Press. What can you tell us about the book?
Sam Pink (SP): I can tell you everything I know about the book. But if I said one thing I would have to say it all. I don't want to tell you everything. So I will say nothing about the actual book. I will tell you about the time in which I wrote it. I wrote it last year during a period of time that was horrible. Every day I wrote parts of it. Sometimes I took long breaks because I felt like I couldn't do anything. One day I stayed in bed with the blanket over my head and I kept looking at my knees while moaning. Some people came to my door and knocked to find out where I was but I didn't answer the door. I kept feeling like I was about to throw up. One time I took a break and went for a walk. I found the skeleton of a deer. It was off a big road, on a decline near some woods. The bones were all pretty much still in place. They were atop a bed of fur. I am assuming the fur was the deer's fur. The fur was laid out like a bath mat. I picked up two of the vertebra and took them home. I boiled them in a pot and all the black shit around the bones floated off. It smelled horrible. I inhaled some of the steam by accident and after that I kept worrying that it would kill me or change me. Then I stopped caring about that. I put a shoelace through the hole of the vertebra and hung them over my bed. That felt good to me eventually. But the first night I couldn't sleep at all. I just kept looking at the bones. I feel like I could talk for a really long time about the book but I would rather people just read it and then whatever. I feel like I don't care if people know about what I think about the book and that as long as I know what I know I am secure.

OA: Many of the stories in this collection have appeared on-line. Do you feel having a story printed makes it more legitimate? Do you write differently when you know a story will be printed?
SP: A small amount of the work has appeared online. After reading this question, I copied and pasted the things online that would be in the book. The things totaled 4000 words. The book is 32000 words right know and even the things that have been online are different in the book than they are online. I have sent some people the book, but no one except for me and barry graham have seen the last edit. I say this because I like to change things constantly. Internet is one thing, and print is another thing. I feel like if I have a collection that is long, I want people to have it in their hands and not have to read it online. Online and print are two aspects of publishing. Having it in print does not make it more legitimate to me. I do not have the either/or attitude about media that some people seem to have. The internet is the shit and I still really like books. A book is one way of expressing things. The internet is another way. Songs are another way. Cartoons are another way. You pick the one that suits what you do and how you want to distribute. As for the third part of the question, I have never thought to myself "this will be in print, time to write like it will be in print" or "this is for the internet, time to write for the internet". I write whatever entertains me and then I do whatever with it. I am glad there will be a book because I like to make things. Maybe the next thing I will do is write a long poem and print it all out on a huge piece of paper and fold it up like an atlas.

OA: Also you recently had a chapbook released by Jaguar Uprising Press. What can you tell us about YUM, YUM I CAN'T WAIT TO DIE? The cover is great, who designed that one?
SP: The Jaguar Uprising are cool as hell. Mike Bushnell emailed me after I posted that I had written a book. He said he'd be interested in publishing it or whatever else I had. I sat down and wrote the chapbook YUM YUM I CAN"T WAIT TO DIE. I love the chapbook very much. I feel that is different from CLONE in that it is one long piece. The style is similar. It is a hand made chapbook that will probably not be read by a lot of people but I wish it would be. Every time I read it I feel proud. I drew the design of the guy with a hole for a head eating his own eye and then the jaguar uprising put the American flag over the cover. When I saw that I laughed. I think it is a great addition. If it could only have a belt buckle on the cover it would be complete. We discussed maybe somehow putting a spring loaded knife on the inside cover so people would get killed before they could even read the book but then someone said "if people die that shit will get around and then no one else will buy it and we are all only doing this for money". I agreed because I want money. That is all I want. I don't even really care about the chapbook or the book anymore. Honestly, I just beat an old man half to death and recorded what he said and that's the chapbook. Even though all the money goes to their press, I want money. I want a lot of it. I figure, money is awesome, so I should just get a lot of it, because then I have a lot of something that is awesome. If there wasn't money, I wouldn't write. Writing is stupid and pointless. Oh look at me, look at my fucking poems. Aren't I deep and interesting? Don't I have like, the deepest thoughts? I am so philosophical and fucking artistic. That's not me. I just want money.

OA: There seems to be a community of writers/bloggers forming that all appreciate each others writing, but have never met each other. Do you feel writers are connecting and sharing ideas and stories in ways that had yet to be fully utilized? Do you value the ability to connect with a writer for London and a writer Boston all in a matter of seconds?
SP: Yes, the internet has done something with distribution that has never been done. There is no way to put writing in as many hands as the internet. I value the ability to connect because, I think, like most people, no one around me really gives a fuck about writing let alone writing like mine that could be perceived as "stupid as hell" or "shitty" or "totally fucking lame as hell" or "unimportant" or "poopy" or "about as dumb as that movie 'fantasia'" or "not even good enough to wipe my bleeding asshole with". So the internet is a good way of getting away from the people who would say the writing is "shit ass shit" or "like those little pieces of toilet paper that get stuck on your butthole" or "pretty much the stupidest ass thing since those Charlie Brown cartoons" or "motherfucking lame".

OA: Word association: Give me one word for each...
SP: I only got phrases. Here are some phrases that these names evoked.
A. Blake Butler
"flaming dildo bazooka"
B. Tao Lin
"melted condom"
C. Chris Killen
"when I went to England I watched chris killen break his roomate's legs while his roommate was sleeping and chris killen turned to me and said, 'should've refilled the ice cube tray'."
D. Daniel Bailey
"super hot dude who is really hot and totally hot as hell"
E. Colin Bassett
"while I was trying to think of something to say after seeing the name colin bassett I saw a video on tv that showed a person stomping on a fox's head to make a fur coat or some shit and when the guy stomped on the fox's head blood drooled out of the fox's nostrils"
F. Sam Pink
"probably implanted in a woman by a penis that wasn't fully hard"
G. Noah Cicero
"one time after going for a walk I came home and was turning off lights at my apartment to go to sleep and at the end of the hallway I saw my dead uncle and when he saw me he put his finger to his lips and smiled and went, "shhh"."

OA: What's next for Sam Pink?
SP: Finish editing the book. Finish chapbook for a collective book coming out sometime later on this year. Write story for "Dragons with Cancer" collection assembled by Bradley Sands and Mike Young. Finish novel. Hopefully get novel printed. Then I don't know. I seem to always think I am done. Then I think of something to say again. I have no clue. I would like to have a girlfriend and have sex more often. I think the one thing I am making sure I never encounter is making myself into a caricature. So many people talk to me like the writing is part of some persona. I don't understand that. These are my thoughts and my attempts to entertain people. If I want to write a romance novel tomorrow I will. I am whatever I want to be. A persona is a commitment to stagnation. The idea of a persona means that you are contriving something to show to people that is qualitatively not who you are. But I am this. And tomorrow if I delete my blog I am that too. I don't believe you can ever know another human. So I am not trying to put my picture on the internet or release information about myself. To me that is celebrity garbage. So, looked at logically, I could either try to manifest myself in my entirety on the internet, thereby eluding any persona (but ultimately this is impossible), or I could put up writing and that's it and if people want to in retrospect assemble a persona about me, then fine. But the idea of a persona is a pretension and if I want to completely write something else I will. I am very aware.

Bonus Questions:
OA: What is the coolest indie bookstore in your area?
SP: My floor.

OA: What type of music do you listen to, and who are a few of your favorites?
SP: I will only say what I read while writing the books. Otherwise it will seem like I am trying to characterize myself. Honestly, I will listen to anything. The coolest thing I ever heard was a bunch of frogs in a swamp. But, while writing the books, I listened to the album "constantly terrified" by hair police and "junkyard" by the birthday party. Sometimes I listened to prurient. I think the albums by prurient that I was listening to were "shipwrecker's diary" and "black vase". Also "creature comforts" by black dice. I like to write to those albums because they are all almost painful to hear. Prurient actually hurts my ears and brain. I start laughing and moaning and rocking back and forth when I listen to prurient. I saw a video of the guy from prurient playing live on stage while some guy molested his girlfriend. But I am not one of those people who is like, at a party and I go, "oh have you ever heard of "_______" to show people how different I am. I can still listen to slayer and eat arby's in my car.

For more information on Sam Pink please visit his blog.