scarecrow interviews

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It's generation-defining: HP Tinker

Lee Rourke: When was The Swank Bisexual Wine Bar of Modernity written?

HP Tinker: I began it some time at the end of the last century with a story called “Vic Chews It Over” which was published in Ambit. It was finally completed some time at the beginning of the new one by a slightly older version of myself. If you see him, phone the authorities.

LR: Is the short story important to you? Do you consider it relevant?

HPT: Is this a trick question? "Yes! Yes!" What else did you expect me to say?

LR: You have been quoted as saying that you'll never write a novel? Why?

HPT: Well, I am very interested in writing books . . . just not novels. There are too many novels nowadays. We need to encourage novelists to stop writing them. It’s a failing form that has fallen into the hands of Vulgarians. If it continues its present trajectory the novel will wither and die. Nobody will be remotely interested. Not even Richard and Judy.

LR: Who are your literary influences?

HPT: Alan Bennett, Joe Orton, Harold Pinter, Sam Beckett, David Mamet, Woody Allen, Morrissey, Nathanael West, Denton Welch, Leonora Carrington, Donald Barthelme, HP Lovecraft, Philip Larkin, TS Eliot, Dr. Seuss . . . to name but fifteen.

LR: Do you think that independent publishing is the way forward?

HPT: I think any publishing is the way forward. Not-publishing is the way backwards. Self-publishing is like hopping on the spot with an orange in your mouth, difficult, but oddly rewarding. A book is a book is a book. I think it's important people remember that.

LR: What next? What are you currently working on?

HPT: Well, I've just finished something called “The Fall of Bohemia”. I could be wrong, but I think it may be the best short story ever written. It’s a vast socio-political epic, similar to the Guernica, but with better jokes. Possibly it's Generation-defining, a signal post for distant literary movements. It’s a great work of art, absolutely. And as with all great works of art I’m totally prepared to sell it to the highest bidder.

LR: Thanks, HP Tinker.


My whole life: Dan Fante

Lee Rourke: It seems to me that you have completely eclipsed your father's long shadow - and a new generation of readers have discovered your writing without necessarily having ever heard of John Fante. How does this Feel?

Dan Fante: It always feels good to hear from people from different countries who say that my stuff has somehow touched them. That's a great gift to a writer. Consider, if you will, what a writer actually does. He sits alone in a room for months at a time - an exercise a lot like talking into a well - then hoping that in the end he has communicated something. Touched someone. Sounds a little crazy, no?

LR: How have you found your popularity here in England? And Europe on the whole? Do you feel we "get" you?

DF: In fact I think I am better understood in England and Europe than in America, oddly enough. I'm sure I get more e-mail from England and Europe than from the U.S.

LR: Is writing the most important thing in your life?

DF: Not drinking booze is the most important thing in my life. Actually the only important thing. I am 20 years without a drink. Just one little morning pick-me-up and it's all down the crapper. My whole life.

LR: Who are, if any, your influences?

DF: John Fante of course. Then Hubert Selby Jr. Then Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neil - Bukowski to some degree and also Edward Lewis Wallant.

LR: What next? Are you working on anything new?

DF: I'm just completing a new book of poems and then I will return to the novel I began last year. I'm 150 pages away from completing that.

LR: Thanks, Dan.

posted by scarecrow  # 3:12 PM


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