Interview with Jeff Shaara, New York Times Bestselling Author (2011)

1. How much research do you complete before you feel confident enough to write in the voice of the historical figures in your novel?

Typically, I read 50-60 books for each book that I write, nearly all of them original sources (diaries, memoirs, collections of letters etc.).  Once I feel I have my cast of characters and that I’m comfortable speaking for them, then I’m ready to write.  I never write a little, then research a little.

2. A school of thought argues that historical fiction is beneficial to education because it encourages readers to research the back-story of characters, thus learn more about history. Is this at all a goal of your writing?

I didn’t start out with that goal, and I can’t really let that guide me even now.  I was astounded to hear from teachers who were using my books in their classrooms, and it made me see that I had a responsibility to “get it right.” Don’t mess around with the facts.   Even though I am now aware that students might be reading my stories, I still focus on telling that story as accurately and as completely as I can.  I never want to target a single audience or what marketing people would call a “demographic.”

3. You have written that readers argue that there are many other civil war stories to tell, but you do not have the time, or the backing, to dedicate to every Civil War story.  What makes a story worth telling for you? This question is particularly in reference to your focus on minor characters of history like Thomas Gage – why them.

There is some guidance that comes from my publisher, who insists that, for now anyway, I stick to large scale “epic stories” (thus, they rejected an idea for the War of 1812).  So, if I’m going to focus on a larger story I need to find the voices who will do that story justice.  Usually this starts with the people at the top, the commanders, those who are responsible for the decisions that change history.  That also includes those voices on the “other side,” the bad guys, if you will, whose decisions are equally as crucial.  But once I reached the 20th century in my stories, I realized that those guys at the top were no longer leading their troops into the fight, and so, I had to find voices much closer to the action.  Thus, now, in all my books, there have to be those characters who are often composites, who bring the reader (and me) right into the action.  I have found that it makes a good contrast to the meetings and command decisions taking place far in the rear, to have to character out front who must endure or accomplish what someone else has simply drawn on paper.

4. You recommend getting the “lay of the land” before one begins to write about a certain moment in history, much like an actor attempts to live with the family of a real life character they are going to portray.  Would you say that you take on the role of each of these characters in your process, that you’ve somehow “lived” through many American Civil Wars?

I do feel that way.  It’s critically important for me to walk the ground before I write any story (though sometimes that isn’t terrible practical, such as my first WW2 story which takes place mostly in Libya and Tunisia).  But seeing the ground, stepping through rocks, feeling the sand or the mud, all of that is important for me.  It makes sense to me that if I’m going to put you into the mind of a character who is charging up a hill into the guns of the enemy, it’s much better if I’ve walked (or run) up that same hill, rather than just looking at a photo in a book.  Once I feel comfortable with that part of the research, I do try to find those characters who I can relate to.  If I can’t get into someone’s head, it’s very hard to speak for them.  Ultimately, the characters you see in my books are people I feel very close to.

5. When you first decided to write the prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels, you had no previous experience in writing. How did you prepare for this new undertaking? Did you take any classes or consult any writers?

One of the first lessons my father would give to his creative writing students at Florida State was: “I can’t teach you creative writing.”   With all due respect to those who write “how-to” books on writing, I don’t believe those can produce a writer.  I didn’t talk to anyone about how to go about tackling this, but I knew that in the end, my father was most concerned about telling a good story.   I knew the kinds of research he had done to put The Killer Angels together, that he had relied on the personal rather than just the historical references.  I did the same.  But from that point on, I have no idea how the story flows from the mind to the written page.  Every writer is probably different in how they approach this, but in my case, I visualize the scene, I hear the dialog, and I just write it down.  That sounds a little strange, I know.  But I don’t understand it myself.

6. In writing Gods and Generals, how much was your father, Michael Shaara’s style in The Killer Angels an influence on your approach to the story?

His format was very important- carrying you through the time-line from different points of view, switching back and forth.  I’ve adopted that in every book I’ve done, but he was the first that I’m aware of to do that with a historical novel.  Beyond that, I made no attempt to mimic his writing style.  I don’t think anyone can do that for long- you run out of energy for it, or you spend so much time focusing on the style, that you lose the story-telling.  Many people have used the word “seamless” to describe the transition from my father’s work to my own, which I take as an amazing compliment (and also, I take it with a grain of salt.  I’m a long way from being compared to Michael Shaara).  But my sister made the observation that my father’s writing has probably influenced me more than anyone else, and in fact, I learned to type as a kid by re-typing his manuscripts (long before there were computers).

7. (In reference to Gods and Generals) As an author, was it difficult parting with your interpretations and leaving them to the mercy of director Ronald F. Maxwell?

Yes.  I will never allow that to happen in that way again.  I had no input at all into the script for the film version of Gods and Generals.  I understand that a director or screenwriter has his own idea of how the story should be told, but if you’re going to use my work, and my name, there should be more of my story included than the 10-15% or so that ended up in the movie.

8. After so many books, why do Civil War stories still demand your attention?

Three things:  My own interest in the subject.  My publisher’s interest in the subject.  And most importantly, the size of the audience for those stories.  It is a passionate audience, which I really appreciate.

9. Is there any historical figure, in or outside of American History that given the chance you would write about?

One that greatly appeals to me is Napoleon.  I hope that one day down the road, I can tell that story.

Fave FIVE:

1)   Favorite moment in history?

July 4, 1776

2)   Favorite place to write?

My own office – quiet and solitude

3)   Favorite childhood memory?

Going fishing in a boat by myself when I was six years old.  My father trusted me to run the motor, to know what to do.  And, I caught fish.  I doubt that sort of thing is done much these days.

4)   Favorite historical site?

Three: Gettysburg; The American cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy; and The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

5)   Favorite word?

Brenda

Shaara’s latest novel, The Final Storm, is available now.

 

Interview by Lynnette Repollet

 

Interview with Phil Korth (2011)

Phil Korth is a recent graduate of UCONN’s MFA program in Acting. He most recently appeared in Urinetown and Pride and Prejudice.

LRR: When did you start writing?

I really started writing in seventh grade and eighth grade.

LRR: Any particular reason?

Specifically, I had an assignment. We had read “Summer of  My German Soldier” and we had to write chapter 22 (there were 21 chapters). I did this assignment and didn’t think anything of it, I just did it, but my teacher loved it and had me read it in front of the class [laughs]. From there I started writing. And then in eighth grade I had the best teacher, and still the best teacher I have ever had. She really just believed in me.

LRR: When did acting come into the picture?

Acting came in about the same time. It came sort of by chance. My best friend at the time convinced me to sign up for Drama Club with him.

LRR: It always starts with Drama Club.

Right? [laughs]

And in fact it was because of Kelly Madison, who I had a crush on forever.  I wasn’t going to do it and he said “Kelly’s in it.” That made me do it. And Kelly is still acting too actually.

There was a fairly sizable group of us, all friends from junior high school through high school. And then we had a great  theater teacher in high school that really encouraged all of us (in Jenison, Michigan). So there is still a whole group of us who are all pursuing it professionally.

LRR: Do you have a specific acting method?

I like to work physically and to find, through rehearsal, how a character moves. I have a good time doing silly characters.

LRR: Do you prefer comedic over dramatic?

I don’t know about that. But I certainly do like being able to take on somebody who is not myself.

LRR: Do you have a specific role that you have enjoyed playing the most?

Probably one of my favorite ones, the one I always look back on, is Richard the Lionheart in The Lion in Winter. It’s such a good play and it’s such a good part. I would love to be able to do it again sometime. I did that in undergrad and I’ve learned a lot since then. But that’s a character that I always come back to that I just loved performing.

LRR: Did your experience in the Marines affect your creative process?

Absolutely. I don’t think there is a single creative thing that I do that isn’t influenced by that. I don’t know who I would be if I hadn’t done it. And the thing is, I didn’t come from a military family. I was the first person in two generations to go into the military since WWII and the first marine so my parents were kind of shocked when I told them that I wanted to enlist.

LRR: Is November specifically based off of those real life experiences?

Yeah. November is kind of a reflection of the day in November that I enlisted. You go to the Military Entrance Processing Station and you get a physical and you eventually sign your paperwork and take your oath. That was such a defining moment – that moment separates everything that came before and everything that came after. It was a tremendous amount of work and it was tough at times.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was a great experience – even going over there twice.

It originated out of an assignment. We were given the first lines of another poem. So it just grew out of that. Usually my poems kind of fell out of me almost in finished form. I would write them in one sitting and make very few changes.

LRR: What is your dream role?

There are a lot of roles through high school and college that I would have loved to play but I’m too old for them now. But I always wanted to play Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs. It’s just such a funny play. I am far too old for him, he’s like 15. But I also always wanted to play Hally in Master Harold… and the Boys.  But he’s seventeen so I am beyond that now too.

We’ve been doing a lot of classical stuff here so I’m looking forward to getting back to more contemporary plays. I think eventually I’d like to get into film. I haven’t had much opportunity to get into that yet.

LRR: How did you end up at UCONN?

I graduated from Western Michigan University in 2007. And then I had a year when I wasn’t in school . We had a wonderful chairwoman of the theater department there who wanted to see me go to graduate school. By that point, because of the Marines, it had taken me seven years to graduate. It was five years of actual school because I double majored in acting and creative writing. So I was kind of done with school. But she funded the $100 registration fee for URTAs, so I ended up going to URTA’s and auditioned for a bunch of schools, and UCONN recruited me from there. Within those few weeks I went from being done with school to planning on coming here in the fall of 2008.

LRR: What’s next, what are your future plans?

I have no idea. I have my possessions down to as small a collection as possible and I plan on getting in the car and going. All nine of the graduate actors are going to NY to showcase scenes for agents and casting directors. So hopefully we’ll get jobs out of that.

I always figured that I’ll just keep on writing no matter where I am.

I have also not ruled out the possibility of going to school again for creative writing. I’ve always kind of felt that I am a writer first. I’m not terribly extroverted. I think that’s why I like writing. I can think through everything. So I certainly don’t imagine that I’ll ever stop writing.

FAVE FIVE

1) Favorite team?

Detroit Lions

2) Favorite movie?

The Life Aquatic. Right now. It’ll probably be something different tomorrow or in a couple of hours.

3) Favorite word?

The most recent one that I just wrote down is not a very good one but it’s Boche – a French derogatory word for the Germans. I’m writing my one foray into novel writing right now,  set during the French Resistance in WWII and I stumbled across that word on the internet. I wrote down, “Gotta make sure that you use boche.”

4) Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

I saw a show with Brian Cox and I got to meet him afterwards. He’s a really good Scottish actor whose had a very long career. He simply said, about us going into business here in a couple of weeks, that it’s very hard but to have faith. That was good to hear. I don’t know what else you can tell somebody. I don’t think anything worth doing is ever easy.

5) Taken from James Lipton’s set of interview questions (inspired by Bernard Pivot)  in Inside the Actors Studio.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I think I’d want to know that everything was going to be okay down here. One of my favorite quotes is, (I think Martin Luther King said it), “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”  I think that is true. That our society and the world is always moving towards that way and it may take a long time for us all to reach it, and maybe we never do. But I think we are always moving closer and closer. It can be so rough hearing over and over the all of the terrible things that go on in the world but these struggles are leading somewhere. And people that are doing things for selfish reasons or out of cruelty will hopefully be changed or people will come to realize that that’s not the way that we have to behave. Kurt Vonnegut, probably my favorite writer of all time, says that we have to be nice to each other. That’s the only rule. And I really agree with that. So that’s what I’d want to know. That everything is going to be okay down here.

 

Interview with Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar (2011)

Q: If one comes across a vulgar word in a poem, it makes a powerful statement. In hip-hop, vulgarity is used so frequently that it essentially loses its “punch” and can do little but fill space. Would you say that vulgarity helps or hinders the message of hip-hop songs?

Certainly hip-hop has become much more vulgar over time. You can’t deny it. Some people say, “Well you know it’s always been like that, rock and roll got accused of being vulgar and jazz got accused of being vulgar.” But you can scientifically prove that jazz never, and rock and roll never, ever, used profanity the way hip-hop does or extreme conspicuous celebration of death or misogyny like hip-hop does.  I personally am not opposed to people using profanity or anything, but I think…these words only have power because we’ve given them power. They’re vulgar because culturally we’ve determined them to be vulgar. But if you hear it all the time, it diminishes the vulgarity of the word to some degree. When you hear it so often, it sort of seems like a naturally recurring word.

Q: Why do you think white audiences, who you have stated are the major consumers of hip-hop, enjoy the stories of young urban black men? There’s a bad boy style that’s attractive to young people. When they see Snoop singing…they think it’s all fun and games. Some folks embrace the cool style of it.

Q: In your book, you quote Robin D.G. Kelley saying, “…misogyny and stories of sexual conflict are very old examples of the ‘price’ of being baaaad.” So, in other words, in order for rappers to gain a kind of superiority, they have to find someone to make the “inferior.” Is this why they choose women? Some people say that. I don’t think it is that easy. Rappers who celebrate their bad boy style, they really offer an antisocial message that isn’t particularly sensitive to any gender. They talk about killing men all the time. They don’t talk about killing women–they talk about slapping women, or sexually conquering them, and then kicking them to the curve. So it’s expressing a contempt towards women, not a willingness to kill them. There is, however, a willingness to kill men with any infraction, there’s a celebration of killing men. People will say that it’s because they [rappers] are insecure about their manhood so they denigrate women. But, they are actually denigrating people. They are denigrating black people. It’s not about building up their community. It’s about causing suffering.

Q: Do you have a theory for why there is such a focus on de-stabilizing the community?

I think hip-hop’s obsession with celebrating social pathology has partly been connected to the bad boy image that sells in hip-hop. Why their rage has been directed toward the black community has been because they can’t direct it towards the white community. Ice Cube came out with his album Death Certificate in 1991. He has on the cover of DC, a corpse with a red, white, and blue flag over it with a toe tag on a white foot that says Uncle Sam. That’s as subversive as album covers come. When he came out with that album, Billboard magazine did an unprecedented thing—they denounced the album. Guns n’ Roses came out with a song in which Axel Rose said, “I don’t want niggers selling me gold chains.” And that was an exact quote of a white man saying this on an album that went platinum. Billboard never took offense to that. Never took offense to all the songs against women. Dr. Dre came out with a song for the album The Chronic that said, “Officer officer/I can’t wait to see you in your coffin sir.” So the label at Interscope said that is not gonna happen, so he went and deleted it. That same album talked about killing niggers, black people, and talked about b’s and h’s, but killing the officer he had to take off. In the early 1990’s whenever that violence was directed toward the state it became increasingly intolerant. They [rappers] realized “I could be a bad boy and talk about killing niggers and its all fun and games. If I talk about killing cops, then I might be dropped from my label.” So it became commercially lucrative [to rap about these things]. They knew that being a bad boy sold, and being a rebel sold, but you cannot be a rebel against white supremacy.

Q:  Would you say that Green Day’s politically infused American Idiot was successful because of the fact that they are white and a rock band? I would like to think that hip-hop has the potential to be political. For example, the Kanye song “Diamonds are Forever.”  Lil’ Wayne has a song called “Hurricane Bush.” Eminem has an incredibly political song, “Mosh,” that came out in 2004 about the war. Jay-Z has a song in which he said “We’re rebellious, we’re back home, leave Iraq alone…” He was very clear that he was against the war. You have the expression of politics here and there. I think for those platinum artists like Eminem, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z, if they came out with a song like “American Idiot” they could possibly do well, but they just haven’t. But I think they could.

Q: Jay-Z said that words only have meaning that you ascribe to them. But you mentioned in your book that at concerts he would ask his white fans not to say the word nigger. That seems like a big contradiction to me. If you’re saying that you’re going to render it powerless, but then certain people can’t use it, then it has not gotten rid of that power. Your opinion? Well I think Jay-Z and a whole bunch of other people are trying to justify why they use that word and they’ve come up with really weak arguments including that we’ve co-opted it and it’s a term of endearment and it’s no longer a racist word because we use it. That’s absolutely ridiculous. The thing is that Jay-Z and a series of rappers would be incredibly offended if called a nigger by a police officer. They wouldn’t think that the officer is offering them a hug.  They know it’s a term of contempt and of hatred and it is a threat. Jay-Z knows that no matter how many times he uses it, he knows when a cop says, “Get out of the car nigger,” he is offering a hostile expression of contempt for black people in particular. You can’t get around that. Sometimes, it’s affectionate and sometimes it’s a term of hatred and contempt, even when used among black folks. I’m unconvinced. They claim it, but I don’t even think they believe it.

Do you think hip-hop collaborations with artists of other music genres will help to elevate hip-hop’s status?

I’d like to see hip-hop grow and evolve and expand and I think that someone like Drake and someone like Nicki Minaj offer some more of hip-hop’s possible directions. Kid Cudi to a lesser degree. Drake, like Kanye, came out without talking about selling drugs and, unlike Kanye, he doesn’t even talk about killing people. I’m a big fan of Nicki Minaj. I love her creativity, her style. I think she has a strong feminist style. To me, it is a breath of fresh air in hip-hop.

Fave FIVE:

1) Favorite rap artists?

Jay-Z and Kanye West

2) Favorite moment in history?

The 1960’s, because of the audacity of the people. Different types of people…who really pushed for freedoms.

3) Favorite quote or lyric?

“If everyone in the hood had a PhD, I’d say that doctor flipped that burger, hella good for me”– I can’t say that’s my favorite, though.

4) Favorite childhood memory?

Related to hip-hop, it would be seeing the Beastie Boys perform my senior year in high school and being surprised to see Run- D.M.C come out on stage as super guests. My head almost exploded.

5) Favorite collaboration?

(after much deliberation) Blackstar’s “Respiration,” came out in 1998. It has Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Common. It’s hot.

Interview by Lynnette Repollet

Interview with Tom Hubbard (2011)

The University of Connecticut has hosted many writers-in-residence and visiting professors over the years, and the rewards are always great for students within and outside of the English major. These writers enrich the experience of students and give a good example of what a career in writing might look like. Tom Hubbard is one such writer – in fact, he is the writer a program such as this looks for. While Hubbard is currently the Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Visiting Professor in Scottish Literature at the university, he is a man of many talents, and therefore many roles—not to mention a great deal of notoriety throughout Europe. Though he collaborated on, edited, and authored books beforehand, Hubbard’s first book of poetry, Scottish Faust, was released in 2004, followed quickly by his second, From Soda Fountain to Moonshine Mountain. With his first novel Marie B. recently released in 2008, and another book of poetry soon to follow, Hubbard is clearly a busy man. Thankfully, he still found the time to become a part of the UConn community for the semester, giving students a small share in his life and experiences.

 

Long River Review: Why should people read your book – what will they get out of it?

Tom Hubbard: Well I hope that they’ll get some sense of just what a big expansive thing European culture, world culture is. That it is important to acquire an appreciation of art and music and literature, wherever it comes from. You know there are a lot of allusions to various people in the book – I think people would have a pretty impoverished life if they weren’t exposed to the music of Mozart and Wagner at least once in their lives. It enriches you as a person. So that’s what it’s about – not money because money is ultimately shit. Money is just the means to do something else. Art is its own means to an end. Nothing else really matters except art. Just the accumulation over the centuries of what’s come down to us in terms of art and literature and music – culture in the wider sense, folklore as well, the stories that people in all walks of life used to tell each other by the fire and pass on to their kids and children – that is real wealth. I’m thinking of the English art critic John Ruskin who said that there’s a distinction between wealth and what he called “ilth” – the pursuit of money, exploiting other people so to make yourself rich. And wealth was beauty, was art. So art is true wealth. So that’s why they should read my book.

LRR: I know that there was a shouting match you witnessed and you put that into your book, and you like the writer Robert Louis Stevenson and you put him into your book.

TH: Well those are a lot of people’s experiences. That’s being observant, or being an eavesdropper like Marie B. herself in a scene which she’s listening to Robert Louis Stevenson having a conversation with a Russian lady. I just sneak up and listen to other people and write it down if it’s interesting enough. You have to be nosy. As far as my own experiences like I said I’m not all that interested in myself. I try to keep myself out of my stuff as much as I can. But if I am there I try to disguise myself and hide behind masks all the time and let my character be the most important. Even with my poetry I won’t speak in my own voice – I’ll invent a character or put a mask on and I speak through that.  I have to live with myself all the time so when I write I want to escape from myself! One’s own past or experience can be an ingredient but it’s essentially raw and you misshape it, you mix it up with all the other stuff that comes out – your imagination and all the other parts of your disease.

LRR: Is there anything you’ve always wanted to write and haven’t gotten about to yet?

TH: I would like to write a travel log of my wanderings in Europe and my wanderings in this country as well – do something on a bigger scale. I tend to write short books – Marie B. is quite short, although it took such a long time to write. It’s essentially a distillation. It’s a compression of a lot of stuff; there’s a lot packed into it. Maybe I write short books because I’m basically lazy. I just don’t want to get off my ass and write something that’s very long you know, really epic, as big as the Rocky Mountains. If I can do that in the time that’s left to me…

LRR: Would you be up to that?

TH: I’d be up for walking in the Rocky Mountains or climbing the Rocky Mountains, but that would just be an excuse for not writing about it!

LRR: What in your opinion is the purpose behind poetry? Why bother writing it, reading it, what is its use today?

TH: There’s absolutely no purpose, no use at all. That’s its charm. As Oscar Wilde said all art is useless. It has no function – that’s why we need it so much. When it comes to morals I think a good writer will have an inherent moral up-ness, a set of ethical values. But at the same time you know writers are not sinless, we’re not angels – I don’t think we write for moral up-ness. I think if you did you would just write a load of crap.

LRR: It gets in the way of the writing.

TH: It gets in the way of the writing – I think in a kind of Nietzschean sense art is beyond good and evil. It will contain moral imperatives but it won’t be contained by them. Again to quote Oscar Wilde there’s no such thing as a moral or immoral book – books are well written or badly written and that is all. Well I think there’s quite a bit more to books than that but I can see his essential point – if you’ve got a moral point of view it should be implied, rather than explicitly stated.

LRR: You are living proof that writing is a skill that does go somewhere.

TH: I think there’s still this sense that “Oh you’re a poet, oh you’re a writer,” you know they look at you as a kind of vagabond, a kind of mendicant who’s begging for money. It’s actually true! You are always begging for money! You do sort of wander about all kinds of ways kind of aimlessly. You’re not doing anything useful because art isn’t useful! It exalts us. There’s the German philosopher Schopenhauer who’s a big pessimist, and once said that “Art is the remedy for the malady of existence.”

LRR: Where do you see the place for writing today – the mecca of poetry and literature – do you think there is one place or do you think it spreads over the world?

TH: Oh it’s everywhere. I think any center that’s set itself up as the great center of literature or art or music – we have to be very skeptical of that. We have to be very skeptical of people who use the arts for their own. They are known as the control freaks, the people who claim to be working for the arts but really have an agenda.

LRR: The ilth.

TH: The ilth – those who turn art into a commodity. You turn art into a commodity you turn human beings into a commodity as well. We’re not commodities, we’re not things, we’re living, breathing, we freak out all over the place. And let us continue to freak out gloriously. Marie B. certainly freaked out all over the place – I raise a glass to her.

LRR: What do you suppose Marie B. would think about your novel if she were here today and read it?

TH: Well I’m sure she’d find something to disagree about. If she could see all that in her own heart, in her own self, she’d look at this Scotch guy and think ugh. Well I would hope that I had done her justice and tried to make her accurate because there is still this image of her being a spoiled brat, [someone who] didn’t take anything seriously, but I think what I’ve tried to show is that she did achieve a lot and it’s really a tragedy that she died so young at the age of twenty six, because she could have lived well into the twentieth century and could have been part of all these new movements in art and modern art. A good photographer suggests something going on below the surface, and I think that’s what Marie did – it [her art] looks photographic, and there’s a lot of stuff going on beneath. If reading this encourages people to Google Marie and visit the various websites with reproductions of these paintings, and even better to visit the galleries and see the actual paintings, then I think I will have done her a service.

LRR: And in a way sort of revive her?

TH: Yes, I would hope so. I was talking about the grotesque last night and sort of saw that as being the meeting place of the tragic and the comic. There are two quotations that stick in my mind; one is from the French poet Charles Baudelaire and he said “le beau est toujours bizarre,” – the beautiful is always bizarre. Although in French bizarre doesn’t have quite the same connotations as in English, but he certainly put the bizarre in his own poetry. And the other quote was from a Scottish philosopher who said that great art is always weird. And I like that. I think that weirdness is important in all art – it gives you the edge. And it’s good when art is in conflict with itself. The writer is in conflict with himself.

If Tom Hubbard is any indication, then to be in conflict with one’s self is undoubtedly a beneficial quality.

 

Interview by Colleen Lynch