Trampoline: an interview
Christopher Rowe (The Force Acting on the Displaced Body)
Is your Trampoline story generally representative of the sort of story you usually write? To elaborate: is this story a departure in style or subject matter (or any other sort of departure, for that matter) for you? If so, what was different or new for you in the writing of this story? Do you think it is a new direction for your writing, or simply an experiment?
“The Force Acting on the Displaced Body” isn’t representative what my work has been, but I can’t way whether it represents a new direction or not. Yes, it’s a departure in style and subject matter — this was a much more personal story for me, and one of the first times I’ve used “real places” in a story set in Kentucky. I also radically altered my working method for this story. Most of my stories have extensive notes and research and I do a lot of “pre-writing.” I try to write very, very clean first drafts and tend to do most of my revision before the act of composition. This usually means that the notes for a given story usually total four or five times the word count of the final story. In this case, I did almost no planning and pretty much sat down and wrote it. I’m not very comfortable with that, but some of my peers have told me that I’d do well to loosen up my grasp a little.
What’s your favorite cocktail?
I drink beer or wine, mostly. When I drink liquor, it’s usually bourbon or single malt scotch, neat. So if a cocktail has to be a “mixed drink” then I guess my default favorite is gin and tonic, because that’s pretty much the only one I ever drink (and that rarely).
So, come out with it, already — you really believe in alien abductions. Don’t you? All sci-fi writers do…right?
I do not believe in alien abductions. All sci-fi writers, however, do.
Who’s been eating my porridge?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Ocala, Florida, USA.
Who cleft the Devil’s foot?
Does she or doesn’t she?
I don’t know about her, but her little sister sure does.
What’s the most favorable sort of weather for your creative process?
I usually write indoors.
When’s the last time you changed your mind about something? I think I mean a radical shift of personal values — regarding art (“Suddenly, I’m not crazy about Billie Holiday, in fact, I’m not even sure I’m spelling her name right”), regarding anything (“Actually, you can go home again”).
Right, I was actually talking about this with you (Gavin) on the phone the other day, when I was explaining why I haven’t seen Daredevil. I’m surprised and oddly disappointed that I have no desire to see that movie — I kind of feel like I’m betraying my teenaged self. I had every intention of playing Dungeons & Dragons and staying up late to watch Space:1999 marathons for my entire life (as a lot of the people I keep in touch with from high school still do, actually). And then there’s a couple of guys I knew in college who would talk about “pulling a Christopher,” by which they meant my (to them) annoying habit of talking up some book or movie or band and then after they got into it I’d lose interest. I did that with that card game, Magic. And earlier I did it to my high school friends with Dragonlance novels. I still think my life would be easier to manage if I played a lot of D&D and read Dragonlance novels. Not better, but easier to manage. Oh well, I still mix in a lot of goofy superhero comics in with the cool stuff Gwenda buys. And I follow professional bicycle racing, which requires a certain level of obsessive geekiness.
Maybe none of that answers your question, does it? Okay, how about this? I remember being at MOMA in the summer of 1998 and staring at Jackson Pollack painting for about thirty minutes and finally getting it. Reproductions don’t do him justice and I’m embarrassed to say that I’d previously been in the “I could do that” camp regarding his and some other non-representational painters’ work. That reaction drives me crazy now, especially in terms of the visual arts. “I could do that.”
First of all, you didn’t. Second of all, no you couldn’t, and it’s only because you’re a willfully ignorant, visually illiterate barbarian that you don’t see why some curator hung it in the first place. You want to bitch about paintings? Go to Paris (or St. Petersburg or London or New York or Washington, DC or Vienna — anyplace that has a lot of museums and galleries) and spend a year or two looking at a couple of thousand pictures. Then come talk to me.
Um. Okay, use the third and fourth sentences from the second paragraph in this section for my answer. I’m going to go get some more coffee.
Next — Dave Shaw
Read another Rowe story: “Sally Harpe“