A couple years ago, I went into the studio with New Atlantic Youth, a wailing post-hardcore band out of Brooklyn. After performing with them at a couple concerts, they asked me to write a piece for a track on their upcoming album. I happily obliged, and they recorded my ramblings during the sessions for their self-titled debut LP. While an instrumental approach ended up working best for the song in question, I'm proud of what I wrote for them (presented here for the first time), and the uniquely professional quality of the performances recorded that day.
Not sure what else to do with such short, shiny tracks, I figure if people like songs and audio books, maybe they'll enjoy these literary sneezes – each less than 3 minutes long.
Whether you're curious about my work, don't wanna muscle through dozens of videos recorded in loud, rowdy bars, or just enjoy words, put me in your ears (or speakers), and download away!
My utmost gratitude to Helen Phillips for inviting me to participate in the MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR, a path linking writers’ blogs in a discussion about crafting fiction and non-fiction. Helen’s debut novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, is forthcoming from Henry Holt in 2015. Her short story collection, Some Possible Solutions, will follow soon after. Meanwhile your local bookstore likely has a copy of her breathless inter-genre book And Yet They Were Happy (Leapfrog Press, 2011), and Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green (Random House Children’s Division / Delacorte Press, 2012).
What are you working on?
I’m working on working, rediscovering my rhythm and voice since moving back to Phoenix after 8 years in Brooklyn. Helluva shock how place informs us, whether we know it or not. As I adjust, I’m polishing up Write Me Wrong, a novel about the struggle to be a man, artist, and father in modern America. The question of men and creation. We’ve all got a dad, dreams, and projections of what might happen if both became of us. In the book, I break that down through the lens of me, blurring the line between fact and fiction. On the back burner, I’ve started cooking up a new American Revolution, writing the end and future of our country in a novel that scares me in a very different way. That one oughtta keep me busy for the next few years…
How does your work differ from other writers of your genre?
Genre and I don’t get along. Like every writer, I string words together. Mine only differ in the fact they’re mine. I’ve been accused of being a poet ’cause I stress about sound, reading line by line aloud as I write. But the words I see are prose, with a rhythm I hope infers as much or more than their actual meaning.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I’m not, what I’m afraid of, attracted to, intrigued or confused by. It’s how I talk to myself, the way I think. I’m often drawn to the worse case scenario, as if writing might deter me from living it. I’m a blessed man with a gorgeous wife and daughter, prone to write about people on the fringe, without the love that surrounds me. This contradiction confounds the heart of every word I write.
How does your writing process work?
It’s always changing, but I usually write late, once I’ve loosened up a bit. First it’s vomit, usually to music. Whatever fits the piece, I build a playlist. Try to stay in the vein as I find my way. By day I outline the plot, frame themes, revise, and get to know my characters. The trick for me is to scream like hell, step back, and listen for the harmony.
Next week you’ll hear from Timur Mukhodinov, the ever-dapper biker host-in-residence of The Buzzard’s Banquet reading series in Brooklyn. Ukrainian-American by way of Ohio, he’s author of the much anticipated upcoming prose and poetry collection, A Realistic Place. You can find his answers to the MY WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR here.