What’s with this rap business?
I know a lot of writers who don’t listen to hip hop. That seems weird to me. You’re in the business of putting words together. Leonard Shlain used to talk about the left and right brains. Left was logical, right was creative. Left was words, right was images/music. Rap is the perfect fusion of both sides of the brain. There’s the music, but there’s also the words. Not singing, usually. Which is more of a right brained thing. Also, the great thing about modern hip-hop is that it’s constantly evolving. It feels like there’s a new mixtape or album every day, and while it’s not all good, there’s enough good, innovative stuff out there that it always feels fresh. I love turning on a song and having my brain try to wrap itself around this new sound. That happens all the time with hip hop music. Anyhow, I love it. So I figured I’d do it. My voice kind of sucks but there was no one out there making exactly the type of rap that I knew I could make. No one is in my head but me. The other great thing about rap: if you give 100%, you will create something unique. My rap group, Fuck Style, has played two shows so far. Really good response the second time. The first time was in a strip club in Lawton and drunk GIs threatened to kill us.
What do you have in your pockets?
Right now I’m in my PJ pants, so nothing but a lighter. Usually I have a few pens, my phone, pack of cigarettes, wallet.
How many tattoos do you have, and what do they mean?
I have an om on my left forearm. It’s a Brandon Boyd drawing. I got it because I was mildly into Buddhism in high school, but mostly because my wife was a big Incubus fan and I thought it would score some points with her. It’s really shoddy looking, but I like rough tattoos. On the other side of that I have the Swallowdown Press logo, which is basically just a bird. And on the right forearm I have a big origami time machine from “The Invisibles.”
Who was you first mind-blowing crush?
When I was…maybe ten or eleven, I had the serious hots for Anna Chlumsky. I think that’s how you spell her name. I used to watch “My Girl” a lot just to see those sweet lips. I walked into my mother’s room one day, crying my eyes out. Mom asked me what was wrong. I told her I was sad because I knew Anna and I would never be together. My mother is one of the sweetest people in the entire world, but I suppose even she was baffled by this level of stupid, so she said, “You are being an idiot. She’s a fictional character.” I ran to my room and cried. Another crush I had was Atreyu from “Neverending Story.” The first few times I watched the movie I didn’t know if Atreyu was a guy or a girl. I didn’t understand anatomy very well. He had a pretty face and pretty hair and I figured “fuck it, I’d let him be my girlfriend.”
I ask this a lot, but I still think it’s legitimate because I always want to know: How do you feel about Batman?
I am a gigantic Batman fan. Briefly: the movies are pretty good. I dig them. Nolan couldn’t frame a shot to save his life. He has trouble doing simple things, like putting two people in the same shot at one time. But the movies are good. I like that they take the philosophy shit seriously. Everyone talking in exposition. Batman the character is awesome. I’m a huge Grant Morrison fan. Everything he’s done with Batman is great. In Batman RIP when there was that little imp Batman acting like his conscience. Morrison lifted that idea of burying a personality like the Bat does with Zur-En-Arrh from “The Invisibles.” Stealing his own ideas. But yeah. “Batman, Inc.”, Batcow, Professor Pyg, all the Joker stuff. It’s all wonderful. Scott Snyder’s tearing that shit up, too.
You have, arguably, one of the cutest dogs in the world. How did that relationship begin?
It began without my consent. My wife decided that we were going to have a dog. We went to the pound. There was a cage with three heeler pups. Two were sitting calmly. Another was attempting to climb on top of the other two, biting their ears, generally being a nuisance. Rios said, “I like that one.” We took her home the next day. She was heavily sedated, because the pound cut out her genitals. She was adorable. But then, she grew. And grew. The floppy ears that had charmed us from her prison cell raised to the ceiling. She raised hell. I am a pushover. I didn’t rigidly stick to any kind of training. I fed her people food. For about three years, she was a holy terror. Now she’s a lot calmer, but she still freaks out when people come over. She loves people. Hates other dogs. I love her very much, she’s my baby.
Can you sing?
I can’t sing. This makes me sad.
What’s the first book you bought with your own money, or the first book you owned that meant a great deal to you?
First book I bought with my own money…don’t remember. But the first book I owned that meant a lot to me was probably “Shadows of the Empire”, a Star Wars book. Takes place between ESB and ROTJ. It’s got a lot of Boba Fett. And some pretty sweet action. And it has Leia being seduced by a weird green alien with a ponytail. I read few books twice, now. But I read that book over and over. They came out with a game of it for Nintendo 64 and I flipped shit. I didn’t have any videogame system. But I’d go over to friends’ houses and play that shit. I loved it.
Have you ever typed on a typewriter?
I haven’t ever typed on a typewriter. I notice that a lot of people do this. I’d be interested to see their reasons why. I don’t know. It always strikes me as an attempt to mimic the black and white photo of “the writer”. Cigarette, typewriter, mustache. But I’m not being fair. My wife’s old roommate types on a typewriter all the time, and she genuinely loves it. I write a lot on my iphone. It helps because it’s so much slower. You kind of get lost in the sentences, because your fingers slow down and you can figure things out as you go.