I am so excited to share with you all the man, the myth, the legend …. wait isn’t that Ron Burgundy? I haven’t seen that movie so not sure. Any hoo Arthur Graham!
That’s right he’s here to talk about his tall tales and his short um stories. Guys love it when you talk about their short stories so I’m happy to share. Enjoy. Thanks Arthur 🙂
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
Well, let’s see… What’s the statute of limitations on something like felony arson, anyway?
Favorite books and authors?
W.S. Burroughs and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. are two of my favorite American authors, and probably my most readily apparent influences. Then of course there’s the original dirty old man (to whom we all aspire), Charles Bukowski. I read a lot of other stuff as well, but I’d rather not bore you to death by talking too much about it.
What are you reading now?
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. Satan. Vodka. Talking cats. Loads of fun!
I’m also in the process of reading/editing Voltaire’s Adventures Before Candide, an absurd romp through the mind of Martin D. Gibbs, and the second volume of Tall Tales with Short Cocks — both due out from Bizarro Press this fall.
What is your work space and routine like?
My workspace is far from ideal. I have thrift shop desk, a frayed pleather chair, and an iMac that’s like already two years old. Sigh…
When I get home from my day job, I’ll typically park it, check my inbox for fan mail, screw around on Goodreads for a while, grab a bottle of wine and screw around some more. Maybe I’ll do some research or play around with cover designs in Photoshop. About halfway through the wine I’ll finally get down to serious business, and after that there’s about a fifty/fifty chance I might get some actual work done that night. If you ever wondered why I don’t have more books published, there’s your answer.
Any unusual writing quirks or habits?
I never learned how to use the Shift key properly, and so I TEND TO USE CAPS LOCK FOR CAPITALIZATION.
Also, although I do enjoy background music, I find it nearly impossible to write and listen to lyrics at the same time. I get hung up on the words, so most of the time I tune in to some sort of trance/house/ambient shit instead, which doesn’t always help either. Pro tip: If your eye starts to twitch uncontrollably, it’s time to turn down the dubstep.
Bizarro, what about it appeals to you?
I’ve been writing really strange, completely inappropriate stuff since I was in fourth grade, so it’s just nice to have a genre I can call home. Also, it’s much easier to sell books when you can label them something besides “literary fiction.”
Do you ever want to write something different, try out another genre?
Smut. I’ve been told that mine isn’t half bad, but I think that’s just because I never take it too seriously. Clearly, there’s only so much humor one can indulge in while keeping things sexy, but however sexy sex may be, at the end of the day it’s all really quite ridiculous. There’s nothing more eye-roll-inducing to me than an earnestly written, cliche-ridden description of some banal (or perhaps even exotic) sex scenario. We’ve seen it all, heard it all, and done it all before. I’d rather have fun with things.
Tall Tales with Short Cocks. So. . . Who came up with the title?
That title came out of a joint brainstorm session between Etienne DeForest and I. We were quite pleased with this selection, and readers seemed to dig it as well — sales through the roof initially. But then we started getting all these returns… Why? Although there’s nothing titillating on the cover (unless tiny roosters are your thing), and we never classified it as erotica, we eventually came to the conclusion that people saw the word “cock” in the title and made the decision to buy based on that alone. I suppose at least a few of those readers may have been dissatisfied with the stories for other reasons, but that still doesn’t explain why so many of them were apparently expecting to read about little wieners instead. Then again, I suppose there’s a fetish for everything these days…
I can’t wait to read Editorial. A goodreads review has a Boston Terrier humping a Picachu toy and says that gif sums up the contents another that mind fucking would occur. Would you say that’s accurate? How would you describe it?
Owing to the physical constraints of space and time, there are only so many people I can fuck from where I’m currently seated. That’s why I write books to get into their brain-pants instead, sowing my seed into the minds of unsuspecting boys and girls worldwide, via the interwebs. I’ll take whatever action I can get.
You live in Utah, is it the land of endless bizarro material or not as much as one would imagine?
Utah is known for its cheerful residents and record antidepressant prescriptions, chaste populace and online pornography subscriptions. We can’t buy liquor on Sundays, but we can openly carry our firearms any day of the week. We still employ shock therapy in the hopes that it will cure the gay. I guess the main benefit of living in Utah is that a guy can have multiple wives if he wants, although one usually seems like plenty enough for me.
I sincerely doubt that Arthur Graham could ever out-bizarro the Book or Mormon, but I’d certainly be up for the challenge!
What’s next from you and when?
Well, I’ve made a lot more money editing the work of others than selling my own lately, but I’m sure I’ll start my next half-baked, doomed-from-the-start project soon enough. I’d really love to try my hand at a straight novel one of these days, if I can ever shake my obsession with flying toilets, hermaphroditic snakes, and transsexual biker bears, that is…
Hailing from the north woods of Michigan, Arthur Graham currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and her cat. He writes his books alone in the dark, usually nude, surrounded by empty bottles and loaded guns.
His style is one that willingly loses itself in the false dichotomy between “genre” and “literary” fiction, with much of it cleaving towards satire and surrealism. His work has been called “clever,” “tacky,” and even “a bit obscene.” One reviewer was kind enough to label it “Burroughs-lite.”
His novella, Editorial, was recently picked up by Bizarro Press (http://bizarropress.com/).
One day, he hopes to sell enough books to supplement his drinking habit, but not so many that he’s forced to claim the income on his taxes.