Archive for: March, 2005

Interview with Jason Little • Artist & Creator of “Bee”

SM: Where do you look to for relief from emotional distress?

JL: My life is fairly free of major strife and conflict, so emotional distress is usually the result of a lack of intellectual stimulation, as a by-product of doing too much grunt work. So I like to re-ignite my creative fuse by doing what I like to call “The Grand Tour”. This consists of taking the subway to the Public Library and trying to track down information on obscure painters (like John Martin (“The Deluge”), or Julius Klinger (“Humorous Pages”)); walking through the park to the Met Museum and wandering around there for a couple of hours; then down to Jim Hanley’s Universe to buy some comic books, then a nice dinner, then a revival at Film Forum (say, Orson Welles “The Stranger”).

SM: If you were seen looking at the sky, what would you likely be looking for?

JL: Not stars, in this town. Too much gegenschein. But if I’m looking at the sky I’m probably looking for stars anyway.

SM: If you were to illustrate a secret below a bridge, what, besides a lurking troll, would you be sure to include in your drawing?

JL: The first thing that leaps to mind lurking under a bridge is actually a camped-out homeless man, which is probably the origin of the troll archetype. But there’s nothing secret about that. So, let us say that the homeless man is furtively masturbating.

SM: When you get lost, what is usually your first course of action?

JL: Accelerated heart-rate, light sweat. Next, I try to obtain a map.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

JL: This one doesn’t have much of a punch line, but I like the character. I had just biked into the city from Brooklyn with the express purpose of visiting The Complete Strategist in order to buy my wife a cribbage board. To set the scene, picture an unshaven, sweaty man in grubby pants and a sweatshirt locking his bike up in front of a store devoted to Role Playing Games.
Suddenly, a round-faced girl in a short skirt walked up to me and, in a working-class English accent asked me where she could buy some boots. “Boots?” I asked, about to send her down to West Ninth Street. “Fetish boots,” she replied. “Fetish Boots?” I echoed, thinking now of the Fluevog store in Soho. “Yeah,” she continued, “like, for go-go dancing, you know.” Aha! This woman was a stripper, fresh off the boat from the old country. I sent her to Crazy Fantasy in Greenwich Village. Only as I write this now, do I realize that I should have sent her to Empire Erotica on Thirty-third Street, two blocks away. Oh well.

SM: C.S. Lewis, William Blake & T.S. Eliot have commissioned a hot air balloon for a trip around the globe, but have unfortunately sprung a leak and landed their balloon atop the roof of your home. How will you be spending the rest of your afternoon?

JL: I expect that I will end up stuck in the kitchen making bacon-cornbread waffles for them while they sit in the dining room eating, drinking whiskey and talking. At least that’s what happened last week when Heinz Edelman, Georges Perec, and Abner Dean crashed through my front window in a Model-T Ford.

SM: What song would you like to hear when you encounter your worst enemy for the first time?

JL: “Deus Irae Psychedelico” by Ennio Morricone.

SM: What are you willing to stay up all night for?

JL: If recent history is any indication, to hang the work in an art show that opened the following day. But I might stay up for a film festival of rare movies that I’ve had a hell of a time tracking down: (Donald Cammel’s _The Demon Seed_, Polanski’s _Cul-de-Sac_)

SM: How would you say your name if we spoke by showing each other pictures?

JL: I think I could do it in one picture: a very small Greek man with one sandal.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Spring (a haiku)

Springtime in New York.
Winter clothes come off to show
tightly clad boobies

Interview with Jason Kottke • Professional Blogger

SM: How do you usually act when you find yourself speaking to a representative of your local law enforcement?

JK: I’ve never been a “fuck the police” type of person, so I treat cops just like I would anyone else, with interest and politeness. They’ve got a challenging job to do and I’m not into messing around with someone on the job or giving someone a hard time just because of their profession. Of course, as a clean-cut white male with the face of an angel (at least that’s what my mom says), I’m not much of a target for any potential police unfairness. Maybe if I were black and got stopped on the freeway all the time for doing nothing but the speed limit, I’d feel differently.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself in trouble in a location far from your home?

JK: My then-girlfriend and I visited her mom in Paris a few years ago. On the morning we’re set to leave, her mom heads to the airport early to pick up her dad and we’re supposed to meet them there to say hello/goodbye quickly before we board the plane. As we go to leave the 5th floor apartment, we find the door locked and unable to be opened from the inside, keys or not. No fire escape and our flight leaves in 3 hours and we still need to get to the airport.

After cursing in English and trying to ascertain the number for information at Charles de Gaulle with our poor French, we decided to yell down to the street for help. My first “excuse moi, monsieur” fell on deaf ears, but I finally managed to flag down an American couple…thank god they spoke English. After verifying several times that the building does not in fact have an elevator that goes up to our fifth floor location, the guy agrees to help. We wrapped the keys up in a washcloth, tossed them down to him, and a few moments later we heard him jiggling the keys on the other side of the door. I’m not sure being stranded in Paris for an additional day qualifies as being in trouble, but we sure were glad to see that guy when the door opened.

SM: Do you dance well? Please describe your style.

JK: I’ve been known to dance well, but not in any style that has a name. I go where the music leads.

SM: When was the last time you took a risk that surprised you?

JK: Just the other day in fact…an attempt to repair a relationship that means a lot to me. It seems to be working out well so far, which I never would have expected.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

JK: Oh no, I regale poorly. In lieu of that, I’ll relate something that happened recently. I bought a new pair of pants with shorter front pockets than I’m used to. Upon wearing them for the first time, my only pair of house keys slipped from my pocket into the back seat of a taxi, something that would never have happened with my typical deep-pocketed pants. Being paranoid about the shallow pockets thing, I checked for my possessions upon exiting the cab and noticed my keys were missing just as the driver was pulling away. Mustering my high school track skills, I sprinted after him, catching him halfway down the next block in the — lucky for me — slowly moving traffic. The next day, I went to the hardware store and got an extra set of keys made. (This is the point at which everyone at the cocktail party excuses themselves from my presence.)

SM: If we lightened considerably gravity’s pull on you for one day, how would you spend it?

JK: I used to spend hours in high school emulating the dunks of Jordan, Wilkins, Dr. J, and Shaq on the 8 and 1/2 foot hoop in my parents’ driveway. In college, I was never in good enough shape to dunk anything but a volleyball (once) on a regulation hoop. If Newton let up for a day, I’d probably spend a big chunk of it dunking the shit out of a basketball on a 10-foot rim. That and flying like Superman everywhere.

SM: When you are listening closely to the world around you, what are you listening for?

JK: Relationships between things you wouldn’t necessarily think would be related. I tend to agree with James Burke in believing that everything tends to be connected, and I enjoying discovering non-obvious connections.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself preparing for a fight?

JK: I tend to avoid fights, so I guess you could say I’m always preparing for a fight so that I don’t have to (if that sounds like Mr. Miyagi talking, I’ll admit I watched the Karate Kid more than a few times when I was a kid). The last time I physically fought someone was in the 4th grade. This 3rd grader named James Claussen was picking on me (he was my age and bigger despite being a grade below me) and I got so mad that I kicked him square in the balls, at which point the “fight” ended.
I’ve never seen another person cry so much, but I’ve never regretted inflicting that level of pain on him…James was one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever known.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

JK: Inspired by my new neighborhood:

peninsula, frozen
graffiti on warehouses
cobblestones untouched
“home of fine hypertext products”

Interview with Sage Francis

SM: When we say the word “languid”, what does it make you think of?

SF: Fluid language. Then I think of a flaccid penis.

SM: Beyond your biological parents, what would you say you are a child of?

SF: I am a child of sports, karate, hiphop, punk rock and classic rock.

SM: What is an activity you feel you never have enough time to do?

SF: Reading. I want to read more and play guitar/piano more.

SM: Please complete: When I speak out loud, I am….

SF: Expecting to be heard.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

SF: Man, this is really difficult for me to answer for some reason. I can’t think of a particular moment that made a lasting impression on me but there must have been a thousand. When I was very young I picked up a cigarette my mother threw to the ground and I put it to my mouth to be funny. She scolded me for that and I have hated cigarettes ever since. I fight people now.”

SM: If you were to be described as turning into something, what would be the final stage of your transformation?

SF: A non-klan affiliated wizard. Or a ray of light.

SM: When was the last time you went on something you could safely refer to as “an adventure”?

SF: My last BIG adventure may have been when I went horse back riding with my girlfriend in the south island of New Zealand. It’s the area where they filmed Lord of the Rings. Beautiful lake and mountains. Scary horses.

SM: How do you act when you feel like everything is happening at once?

SF: That’s my element. That’s usually when I feel most in control. I multi-task for a living and if lots of things aren’t happening at once I get anxious. So I guess I act pretty normal when everything is happening at once. I like when everyone’s got something to do.

SM: Please recommend a four word combination to say out loud before we
sleep to protect us from unpleasant dreams.

SF: “Not on my watch.”

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Robert Van Winkle
AKA Vanilla Ice
was To the Extreme

Sage on Southern Records

Interview with Elena Dorfman • Photographer

SM: In your calmest moments, what is usually the first thing you want to know about your surrounding environment?

ED: Is there anything to eat?

SM: When was the last time you found yourself losing yourself in fascination?

ED: At a convention for video game fans

SM: What question have you been waiting to be asked?

ED: When are you going to shut the fuck up?

SM: What is your most notorious habit?

ED: Having one foot out the door

SM: If you ran to the opposite end of the city where you live to tell someone one thing, what would you be in such a rush to tell them?

ED: That they are kind and beautiful, even if they are not

SM: How would you recommend we calm an upset cat?

ED: Dangle a small shrimp in front of its nose

SM: What song would you like to hear on the day before the most important day of your life?

ED: Anything by Pete Townshend before – or after – his pedophelia controversy

SM: What was your last memorable encounter with a stranger?

ED: On a plane, having an intimate conversation about marriage and children with a hedge-fund manager from Ohio.

SM: Please recommend how we would recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming.

ED: I’m the one with the amputated arm.

Interview with Paul Hornschemeier • Artist

SM: Please describe the way you dance to someone who’s never seen it.

PH: Complete Spinal Liquidation. This sets in slowly, with an initially timid bopping motion, followed by a sideways pseudo-swimming. Then everything goes jello and I’m on the dance floor in a big way, taking up some serious real estate and confusing physicians.

More concisely: Epilepsy with purpose.

SM: If you were heard to say,”I feel lucky to be a guest here.”, to what situation would you likely be referring?

PH: Americana Amusement Park. They have a patriotic bear on their logo,if I remember correctly.

SM: T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis & William Blake have been tricked by a sinister magician, and their lovely girlfriends have been spirited away to the magicians lair. How will you help them ensure their maiden’s safety?

PH: Eliot and Lewis, you’re running point. Blake! Pay attention! You think that engraving’s going to save your ladyfriend? Look, let’s get serious here. Eliot and Lewis, you’re dressing as… you got the costumes, right? Okay, good, good. So you’re the emus, and we get Engraving Boy here on the back wall, in the blind spot. What?… okay, kiwis, not emus. Kiwis, everybody’s got that, right? Blake? Okay. So while the two kiwis are confusing the magician with… well, you’ll have to think of something, won’t you? But you two are good at diversions. We can do this! So while you’ve got the asshole scratching his head and rolling his eyes, Blakey here scales the blind stretch of wall. Straight to the top with the harness. I’m on pulley detail. Now we… Blake! I’m not warning you again! Don’t think I won’t drop you half way up, you fancy sot! All right. Enough talking. Ready? Okay. Let’s do this thing! On three: Teeeeeeeam Murder!

SM: When do you go for a walk, and what do you look for?

PH: Almost never. Probably food.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

PH: On the way back, walking over the bridge again, all of the sound is siphoned from the world. The city is quiet and gray over my left shoulder, and all the cars purr to nothing. The light has turned red and there is an almost tangible quiet enveloping all of us: me, the drivers, the people on the pavilion. My steps are warm, and I am trying to capture any of this, but then the light changes, the engines buck to normalcy, and whatever we were in loses us to the rest of our day.

SM: When was the last time you were in a church or house of worship?

PH: Easter 2004? Not sure. But I’m sure I enjoyed it. Church is my favorite theatre.

SM: How do you act when you travel alone in an unfamiliar place?

PH: Completely quiet. Hopefully people think I’m a killer. Or a writer. Or a writer who kills people because he’s not really such a great writer and has a deadline to meet and needs material. Or a killer writer. As in awesome.

SM: Please describe the last time you were caught in extremely unfriendly weather conditions.


SM: If you were to illustrate what you think your archenemy has in his pockets right now, what would you be sure to include in your drawing?

PH: Folded glossy 8 by 10 of Slipknot? Signed?

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Jill, what’s the problem?
I don’t think it’s contagious,
So stop freaking out.

Paul Hornschemeier

Interview with K. L. Cook • Fiction Writer

SM: Please recommend a phrase to mutter under one’s breath, moments after running out of bullets, crouched behind a rock, hearing the approaching footsteps of a rival.

KLC: Sucken-rusen-rusen-frat!

SM: How would you recommend we recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming?

KLC: I’m a friendly, smiling soul, but I’m also the size of an NFL fullback with a dark beard and glasses, so in the land of sleep and dreaming I could very well be mistaken for Emmit Smith’s lead blocker or the bouncer at Lyzzard’s Lounge who is either going to toss you in the street or read you a Rilke poem.

SM: What do you think would be a good opening line for a romance novel?

KLC: Here’s the opening line from the first chapter of my forthcoming novel, The Girl from Charnelle, which has plenty of romance in it: “She’d only tasted beer before, never champagne; it was sweet and sharp and stung high in her head.”

SM: What is the first thing you want to know on arriving in a strange city?

KLC: Where’s the nearest bathroom because I always drink too many liquids on planes, and airplane bathrooms are woefully small for a man my size!

SM: Please tell us a brief anecdote to enliven our evening/afternoon/morning.

KLC: Last fall, my family and I embarked on a 9-week book tour—a self-funded affair, what I called “The Great Futon Tour” since we depended on the hospitality of friends and family. At the end of October, we stayed in Nashville with my sister-in-law, who was 9 ½ months pregnant. I was driving back there late from a gig in Memphis. Within minutes of my arrival, my sister-in-law’s water broke. My wife and I went to the hospital the next morning, kissed the new baby, and then I caught a ride, minutes later, with a colleague to Kentucky, where I would be teaching at another university. That night my wife phoned to tell me that a friend and colleague of ours from Arizona had just been killed in a bicycling accident. The next day, I flew to Austin for a book festival. Two high school friends took me out on the town—Halloween Eve. Within a 48-hour period, I had traveled to four different cities in three states, my niece was born, my friend had been tragically killed, I met about 250 writers, and I sleeplessly wandered, with the friends of my youth, down the streets of a strange city cram-packed with drunken vampires, monsters, ghouls, and Disney characters. It was the most surreal 48 hours of my life.

SM: Please invent an imaginary friend and an imaginary enemy, set them to dueling, and let us know who wins.

KLC: Creating imaginary friends and enemies at odds with one another is my job. When I’m stumped for a story idea, I give myself this task: create a character who wants something from another character (e. g., gold, love, a buffalo head nickel) that the other character doesn’t want to give up. In my story, “Knock Down, Drag Out,” an oil-rigger, motivated by sun-induced hallucinations, returns from his offshore rig to rescue his estranged wife, who he believes is being seduced by their landlord. She doesn’t appreciate his brand of chivalry, but determined to save her, the oil-rigger ties her up, puts her in the back of his pick-up truck, and drives away. Of course he only thinks he won until he hears her in the truck bed, “squirming, rocking slightly from side to side, crying, calling to him in what now seemed like a song he’d heard long ago, a lament or hymn.”

SM: What aspect of your work are you proudest of?

KLC: Several years ago my writing seemed dead to me. I went to the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and was housed in this amazing chateau where Leonard Bernstein had written his requiem mass for John F. Kennedy. None of the projects I brought with me—an unfinished book of stories and the beginning of a novel—seemed any good. I walked around the snowy acres for a week, expecting the fraud police to boot me out of the colony for impersonating a writer. About a week and a half in, I began a long, sentimental love letter to my wife. I couldn’t stop. I laughed and wept for hours as I wrote. By the end of my stay, it was 135 pages. I titled it Private Magic, bound it, and gave to my wife as an anniversary present. Writing that letter reminded me that writing is supposed to be a gift—for others and for yourself—not a job to be dreaded. After that, I was able to finish both the collection and the novel. But Private Magic—a deeply embarrassing, sentimental book that no one but my wife will ever read—is what I’m proudest of.

SM: When was the last time you drank to excess?

KLC: I could report a shameful and harrowing story, but my wife tells me that this is just the sort of thing that would pop up first on Google and Yahoo.

SM: What was your last good deed?

KLC: Last November I visited my mother and grandmother in Childress, Texas as part of my book tour. They set me up with non-paying gigs at a high school, an assisted-living center, and a prison: all captive audiences with no money to buy books. I was nervous about the prison. I’d never been inside one before, much less addressed a large group of inmates. The other two events were okay, but those inmates were great, eager for stories, eager to have someone there who didn’t condescend to them. Laughing with them about the way stories can clarify, lighten, and even save our lives was one of the best moments of my professional life.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

KLC: I’m not a good poet, but my good friend Joe Schuster (who is actually a fiction writer as well) wrote this series of wonderful haikus that he encouraged me to give to my students or to myself (depending on my mood):

Work moved me to tears
Not of joy but something else:
Pinprick in raw skin

Such a waste of paper,
Impossible writer:
Brazil deforest’d

Think of something else:
Sewer cleaning, plumbing, crime.
But write no more. Please.

Interview with Christopher Moore • Author of “The Stupidest Angel”,”Lamb” and “Fluke”

SM: What two elements would you recommend we combine to feed men in order to make them speak to animals?

CM: Humility and Acorns.

SM: C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot & William Blake have run up a remarkable financial debt to you, and have gone into hiding. Where will you search for them to recover your money?

CM: In the Lake district, on a ski boat.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself looking around and feeling like you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else?

CM: Last spring, on a surfboard in Hanalei bay, with a rainbow and waterfalls around, as well as what the special effects guys call God Rays streaming out of the clouds.

SM: Where do you look when you want to see something that soothes you?

CM: To the mountains.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

CM: One night, about twenty years ago, I was working the desk at motel, when a tiny Arab man in a red stocking cap came in and said, “Can I trouble you for a small quantity of salt.” That seemed to be all he could say, and he just kept repeating it. He looked ancient, was wearing a wrinkled suit, and his eyes were a cold blue, a little bugged out. Anyway, I somehow, because I was at a desperate point in my life, I think, convinced myself that this guy was a genie, and I really, really, needed to get him the salt. I looked all over the motel office, and ended up leaving the motel unattended and running across the street to a pancake house, where I got some packets of salt. I returned, gave the salt to the old man, and he toddered off. That was it, except I said to myself, “Okay, I get a wish. I wish to be a wildly successful writer.”

Well, that character, that little old guy, ended up being a character in my first book, Practical Demonkeeping. And by the standard of a motel clerk working for five bucks an hour, I’ve become that wildly successful writer. Who knew?

SM: If you were seeking out a large group of people for something important, who would you be looking for and for what?

CM: Bone marrow donors. To save people’s lives.

SM: If you were to illustrate yourself on the day before the most important day of your life, what would you be sure to include in your drawing?

CM: Sneakers

SM: If we removed a room from your current living arrangements, how would you adjust?

CM: I’d be spun until I could find a place to sit and write. When I travel, that seems to be the element of discontent.

SM: What’s to be done with the flatterers and seducers of this world?

CM: They should be paired up.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Chocolate morsel,
One joy among all the meat
South Beach diet blows.

Interview with Colm Mac Con Iomaire • Fiddle Player for “The Frames”

SM: If scarecrows are for scaring crows, what scares the scarecrows?

CMCI: Pteradactyls

SM: Barring yourself, what’s the best thing to come out of your hometown?

CMCI: Gallow’s humour.

SM: Why did they kick the devil out of music heaven?

CMCI: He/She couldn’t hold a tune.

SM: What’s the closest thing you know of to a religious experience?

CMCI: The birth of a child.

SM: Please recommend a phrase with which to win back our girlfriends, after a series of romantic misunderstandings, right before she boards a plane to England to marry that jerk.

CMCI: No, Stop, Don’t…… You deserve him. Oops..

SM: What was your last good deed?

CMCI: Foot massage to pregnant wife.

SM: What was your last encounter with a lunatic?

CMCI: See above…… no but seriously…..Probably last band rehearsal.

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

CMCI: A long time ago.. about ten years I suppose, The Frames were bizarrely invited to play at the Miss Soviet Union beauty pageant in the Ukraine. To tell the full tale would stray well beyond the bounds of an anecdote..suffice to say that we found ourselves in Kiev at a remote airfield boarding a1950’s style dc10(?) twin prop aeroplane resembling something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.. with seats facing each other and a table in between like a train. We were headed for a small town on the Black Sea.
Before we took off, all passengers (25 or so)…were given a shot of vodka (as we found out case we didn’t land). Not being familiar with the safety procedures on that class of aircraft we decided it would be a good idea to locate our lifejackets in advance of taking off. Our guitarist at the time (Dave) reached under his seat and instead of a lifejacket pulled out a full size watermelon!!
It then became clear that we should either repent or get drunk fast.. We decided on the latter. Take off was more of a get off as we lurched slowly into the air. It wasn’t long before the mix of neat vodka and thoughts of Lynard Skynard and Buddy Holly broke out into a last party on earth/ sky sort of thing. As time passed, the party seemed to gravitate naturally towards the cock pit.. My abiding memory is of opening the cockpit door at one point and looking in to my right.. There, was Noreen O’Donnell (our then other singer), sitting on the knee of the co-pilot with her hands on the controls… and when I looked anxiously to my left.. the pilot turned around, waved both his arms in the air and said in russian what I instantly understood to be “Look no hands!!!
I decided at that point to resume my seat and carve a canoe out of that water melon…. The pilots of the plane(we were to find out later) were ex-russian airforce MIG pilots and were driving the aviation equivalent of a tractor….. it was the beginning of a very strange trip!

SM: What was your last encounter with a stranger that you wish had been longer?

CMCI: Our new Postman this morning…. maybe tomorrow…

SM: T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and Wiliam Blake have invited you aboard their Space/Time machine. What sort of fanciful adventures do you have?

CMCI: We go greyhound racing in Narnia… where we are fed magic mushroom bhajis…We then we sail over the horizon in my watermelon canoe!

Interview with Philip Warner of Lithium Picnic Photography/Suicide Girls

SM: Please describe your most recent brush with danger.

PW: Driving in LA traffic last week. They like to honk. LA drivers tend to view their horns as a tool for punishing.

SM: When was the last time you felt like you were very close to understanding something intangible?

PW: About 10 years ago. That isn’t a part of my brain that I allow free reign these days… I practice optimistic pragmatism and try to focus on the tangible. One day at a time. I know what I know if you know what I mean.

SM: What is the closest thing you know of to dreaming awake?

PW: This feels like a trick question to get me to talk about my sex life. There’s an answer buried in there if you dig.

SM: When was the last time you felt a sense of mysterious urgency?

PW: Every time I take uppers to get the house cleaned.

SM: Please enliven our day with an anecdote.

PW: Well I’m no doctor, but I once read that chewing bay leaves can counteract the poison from a copperhead bite. I haven’t tried it. Mema said wet tobacco from cigarettes made into a poultice would keep fire ant and bee stings from swelling. I think I tried that.

SM: If your eyes came down with amnesia, how would you jog their memory so as to be able to see again?

PW: A jab with sharp pointed stick? Hmmm… The user interface to photoshop would likely ring a bell as they tend to be glued to it 8-14 hours a day.

SM: How close is what we fear to what attracts us?

PW: Closer than I care to think about right now.

SM: Which would you rather have in your mailbox each morning:
1.A new and different photograph of heaven
2.A photograph of the most important thing that will happen to you the following day.

PW: Wow. That question made me revaluate my priorities in life. For about 12 seconds. Since there are no guarantees about heaven I would have to go for the important thing a day option. I wouldn’t want to be caught somewhere important without pants or extra batteries for my camera.

SM: Please recommend something memorable to speak aloud moments before your wedding to a rival pirate’s beloved is disrupted by his appearance aboard your ship.

PW: “Hi, dad.”

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your teenage years.

PW: Tragically discovering the difference between an anecdote and antidote… I thought captured russian spies just had a bad sense of humor.

Interview with Jim Rugg • Artist; Co-Creator of “Street Angel”

SM: Barring an airplane, when was the last time you spent an extended period of time at a high altitude?

JR: Last summer. I went on a hot air balloon ride.

SM: When was the last time you were the recipient of good fortune?

JR: My life has been pretty easy lately. I can’t pinpoint when it started, but I’ve had nothing but good fortune the last few years (it kind of makes me nervous).

SM: Have you ever been or come close to being forcibly ejected from a public venue?

JR: Not really.

SM: Have you ever felt compelled to talk to a stranger?

JR: Yes. The stranger was a girl with an eye patch.

SM: T.S Eliot, C.S. Lewis and William Blake are teaming up to stop a super villian’s death ray. How do they go about foiling his plan?

JR: Knowing them, they drop to their knees, lock hands, and pray.

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

JR: When I was 6, I wanted this toy Bigfoot truck for Christmas. It was a high-demand item that year. To stack the odds in my favor, I told my parents that, it was the only thing I wanted – the Bigfoot truck or nothing! Christmas morning, I woke up and eagerly ran down stairs. My sister had a big pile of brightly wrapped gifts waiting for her, and I had one small box wrapped in newspaper and bailer’s twine (the stuff that binds bails of hay).
That’s fine, I thought, the box is the right size. I tear off the newspaper, and it’s not the Bigfoot box? It’s just a plain, brown cardboard box with a note, which read something like, “Dear Jimmy, I’m sorry for the newspaper and bailer’s twine, but I used all the nice paper and ribbon on the good kids. Merry Christmas, Santa Claus.” I open the box and it’s a lump of coal.
My neighbor, a farmer, masterminded this little deceit and my parents, whom I trusted, I was only 6 afterall, went along with it. I was devastated. It was so traumatic that I can’t remember all the details clearly, but I think I started to cry. Then they felt bad and gave me my real gifts – including the Bigfoot truck.

SM: When was the last time you had to improvise to solve an important problem?

JR: I can’t remember. I’m pretty detail oriented (i.e.,obsessively-compulsive, control freak). Plus my life is so mundane that I
don’t often have important problems.

SM: What would be one thing you love unequivocally?

JR: My cat, Rocket – he’s like my little pal that doesn’t talk back (he can’t meow for some reason, but he purrs like he swallowed a chainsaw).

SM: If there was a law entitled Jim Rugg’s Law, what would it require?

JR: It would require that people arrive on time. I hate when people make me late. I don’t mind if someone is a little late for a meeting with me (depending on various circumstances), but I hate if I’m riding with someone and their tardiness makes me late.


Always round up when estimating how much something will cost and how much time something will take and always round down when estimating income.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

It’s freezing ass cold
Like living in Alaska
Winter in Pittsburgh

Interterview with Eric Byler • Writer & Director of “Charlotte Sometimes”

SM: How would you recommend we recognize you in the afterlife?

EB: If i’m in heaven I’ll be with my family and my dogs. If i’m in hell i’ll be eternally bitch slapping karl rove.

SM: Please describe your appearance in the land of sleep and dreaming.

EB: In my dreams I’m an editor. I guess I’m at a flatbed, or a Macintosh, trying to rearrange things.

SM: When is the last time you found yourself in an unexpectedly advantageous situation?

EB: Can’t reveal because I’m still getting away with it.

SM: What is one thing you know to be true?

EB: Bigotry is a disease, and a political ally, but it would be better if it were only a disease.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

EB: Tonight I watched “the ratcatcher” followed by “white” on a flat screen tv. Afterwards I rubbed my eyes and both contacts popped out simultaniously.

SM: What is a question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you?

EB: Why for you nevah?

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of an empty intersection in the middle of the night?

EB: I could smash the red light camera and no one would see me.

SM: If you had to fight a person who was your polar opposite in every respect, how would you fight them?

EB: With boxing gloves in a barn.

SM: What song would you like to hear on the day before the day you die?

EB: The star spangled banner (and have it inspire pride not sorrow)

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your teenage years.

EB: Went skinny dipping with a girl at ala moana and the sand police caught us.

Interview with The Skygreen Leopards

GD: Glenn Donaldson
DQ: Donovan Quinn

SM: If you were to bury something under a thick layer of ice, what would you likely be trying to freeze?

GD: Guilt.
DQ: Certain memories.

SM: What do you suppose people are thinking when they encounter something you’ve created for the first time?

GD: Why is the sun now shining in my mind?
DQ: They think: If I could only dance in a ballroom of glitter and shimmering tambourines.

SM: How would you recommend we combat long and empty hours?

GD: Prayer & fasting…
DQ: Write letters to your mother, learn new dance steps, daydream about stallions and Bangladesh.

SM: What is something you are willing to look at for hours?

GD: There are several things: clouds, my old lady, LP jackets, Chagall paintings.
DQ: The shadowy nooks of some lover’s soul.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

GD: ?
DQ: When I was a young man, not yet 20, I fell in love with a girl from the woodlands up north. What attracted me to her was her long hair that hung down in a mess of dark spiraling tendrils and a certain telepathic quality to her eyes. For months I spent my time on stratagems to win her love. Some days I felt my fate depended on writing a great poem; other times I thought that I must be walking down such and such a street at such and such an hour and we’d fall into a conversation (this somehow ending in love making).
Surprisingly enough, these stratagems worked. I wrote her a poem which won her heart after “accidentally” meeting her in a cafe (that I knew she’d be in) and we became lovers. But alas I completely lost interest after that and never saw her again.

SM: If you were to take an action to ensure all generations of people from this moment on were affected by something you have done, how would you go about it?

GD: I struggle with this one. The violent overthrow of the current government is a fantasy I indulge, but then again love & joy is more powerful than violence.
DQ: I don’t fancy the idea of individual men being able to affect generations.

SM: Please recommend a strategy for dealing with one’s arch-nemesis.

GD: Embrace him or her.
DQ: Inquire about their mother.

SM: T.S. Elliot, C.S. Lewis and William Blake have arrived in their time machine to whisk you away to an era and place of your choosing. Where and when is your destination?

DQ: England or Paris 1922. I’d grow a mustache and write impressionistic poetry that foreshadowed the rise of the Nazi’s through John the Divine-like ravings. Also, I’d court a Russian heiress by writing cryptic novels.
Unfortunately, two of those writers would condemn me as a witch and drag me back to the modern day. Can we replace C.S. Lewis with Lewis Carroll?

SM: How will you be spending the rest of your day?

GD: Strumming harps & drinking tea.
DQ: Living and loving.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

GD: I can’t talk about that time.
DQ: As an adolescent I saw a PBS documentary with old footage of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac that blew my mind. It was one of those things that made me want to write, play guitar, etc.

SM: What do you suppose the last thing you think before you sleep tonight will be?

GD: That’s easy: some dark insecure thoughts about my life & my relationships.
DQ: Wow that’s depressing Glenn. Now I’ll probably just wonder about these “dark insecure thoughts” of Glenn’s.

The Skygreen Leopards

Interview with Debra Kang Dean • Poet

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment involving a body of water, be it lake, river or ocean.

DKD: I almost drowned in the Pacific when I was very young. I’d pressed my face to the water and was so intent on what I was seeing that I forgot about breathing. My father had to grab my arm and jerk me up out of the water. I still don’t know if this was a dream or not, but if it’s true, it would explain why my parents thought I was a peculiar child.

SM: If you were to wake up in a large field with no discernable landmarks, what would be your first course of action?

DKD: Recite Mark Strand’s “Keeping Things Whole”:

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing. . . .

SM: If you were heard to say, “I’m sorry, but that isn’t what I was looking for.”, what would you likely be referring to?

DKD: A place called “home.”

SM: People once believed that it was a bad idea to wake someone suddenly, because their dreaming selves wouldn’t have time to get back to their bodies. If we were to wake you suddenly tomorrow morning, where would your dreaming self find itself in a hurry to get away from?

DKD: I sometimes feel as if my dreaming self hasn’t yet returned to my body but is hovering a few feet above or behind it! What was the name of Caliban’s home, a place someone like me is always moving toward or away from? It’s like that, the dreaming self seeking return to and release from both worlds.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

DKD: Very funny! If I could do that, I’d be writing fiction as well as poetry. (You don’t want to ask me to tell jokes either.)

SM: If, for every minute you spent in the ocean, you forgot an hour of your life, how hard would you try to get back to shore if you fell off a boat?

DKD: Would I be able to see the shore? It would make a big difference. But to try to answer the question I think you’re asking: Would I want to be immersed in the waters of forgetting to lose my life and gain access to the eternal present? Of course. That’s what poetry is for-and wine! Seriously, what keeps me resisting the sometimes overwhelming urge to stay there is the knowledge that one of the names of the waters of forgetting is Lethe; if you actually make it there, you are, unfortunately, dead.

SM: What was your most recent act of rebellion?

DKD: Every day is an occasion for a little act of rebellion when you live by Hawaiian time.

SM: When was the last time you danced like you meant it?

DKD: You know, this interview feels a little like a dance. I mean it.

SM: What do you think would be a good opening line for a book about how you spent the last five years?

DKD: It was a dark and stormy time.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

spectacle blur’s warped
corneas or snowblindness–
o(h) say can you see

Interview with Alan Michael Parker • Poet

SM: If you were to illustrate a river with a secret in it, what would you be sure to include in the drawing?

AMP: Phantasmagoric machines no larger than your fist.

SM: If you woke up tomorrow and found that you had been transformed into a tree, who would you prefer to sit in your shade?

AMP: Daphne.

SM: Please recommend a good line to begin a detective novel with.

AMP: More than the gallon can of seal oil brandished threateningly above his head, Phillip the Screwdriver feared his Aunt Vermont’s wrath.

SM: When was the last time you were drawn to an unfamiliar building?

AMP: In Paris this past November, I tried to check in to the wrong hotel. I was sure that the hotel was mine: the sign said so. But the woman at the front desk insisted I had no reservation. Many radar blips later, I realized– jet-lagged — that my hotel was across the street, well-marked and unimpressive.

For lunch that day, I had a crepe made with “smoking salmon” as I awaited the arrival of my luggage, which eventually took two days to be delivered.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

AMP: My piano teacher once complimented my mother’s physique-to me during my lesson and in rude terms. He drove a Corvette, had mutton chops, and wore white shoes.

I understood, in a blast of intuition, that I would never learn to read music.

SM: If you were scheduled to lecture to a packed auditorium of everyone you will ever meet in your life, what topic would you choose to lecture on?

AMP: Why I like to cook.

SM: What are you willing to make other people wait for?

AMP: A rewrite.

SM: What do you think strangers see when they meet you for the first time?

AMP: Short guy, kind of surly. Likes words.

SM: What do you consider to be the funniest thing you know?

AMP: My cat’s unfinished moustache.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

AMP: Alas, I must decline, and offer an apocryphal anecdote instead: when asked what he thought of the sunset by his high society hostess, while standing with her on her Park Avenue balcony after a sumptuous dinner, Robert Frost is said to have replied, “Madam, I never discuss work after eating.”

Alan Michael Parker