Ben Tanzer is everywhere.
And now he is here for the most recent in what has clearly become an occasional series of interviews. That’s right, this Chicago man-about-town and publishing champion submitted to the grueling e-mail mindslog known to you as The Big Other interview.
Davis: Answer a banal question you might imagine a novice interviewer might ask?
Ben: I am wearing pants. Drinking coffee. Listening to The Avett Brothers. And wearing pants. It’s not even like I think of that as a requirement of this interview or any interview. Especially as I sit here at my kitchen table with the heat pouring over me like a wave of steamy goodness. But for the record. Pants on. Completely.
Davis: You seem to publish a book every three months or so, and not one of these is a Green Lantern, if you catch my meaning…
Ben: 2011 was a really good year for me in terms of writing. Having had a series of things come out over the course of the year, I felt self-conscious about it, though I’m proud of all the work. I’m thrilled that there’s interest from publishers and readers, but there’s some discomfort, too. Some of it is about how the release of the work is staggered. You write and write and you don’t know when things will actually pop. I suppose it’s like Ryan Gosling having three movies out this year. And no, I’m not really comparing myself to Ryan Gosling. For example, he’s Canadian, so right there you have that..
Welcome back, my friends, to lucky #13. My good friend and publisher, Debra Di Blasi, speaks best for herself.
Seems everybody has a memoir these days. Seems I’ve been trying to have one for years. Like an egg that won’t drop. A stuck turd. The opposite of purgation. Ah, yes, shit. Indeed, allow me to remain scatological for a few words longer.
I’m not constipated about my past, my many lives lived large. No remorse, no regrets. Neither the drugs nor the booze, neither sex nor abortions, neither mobsters nor terrorist(s), neither poverty nor wealth, disease nor health, Jesus nor Buddha nor nothing that cannot be and everything than might… Failure to complete a memoir – four memoirs, to be exact – is for me a failure to apologize. Failure to apologize is a failure to demand revision. Continue reading
Greetings, earth people, from the (pain) planet failure.
Here, the atmosphere is different. The stars are different.
The entire sense of the project-to-be, an examination by NYC writer (and my collaborator) Alexandra Chasin, requires more preliminary work into the nature of the question: and what of it, when the question is pain?
Here, the question itself, perhaps, gleams always far away.
An idea leads to a little research and a little research leads to a little more, and lines of inquiry extend and elaborate themselves fractally, and proliferate, beckoning a would-be writer in multiple directions, and two years later the representation of the medical condition of a character as originally conceived continues to elude her…hundreds of pages of quotations from articles, treatises, stunning 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-Century articulations of the matter, relevant documents, novelistic case histories, authorities, literary treatments, pamphlets, and more, and yet it still seems like a little more information might tie everything together so that the writing proper could begin. And then it doesn’t.
For example: Continue reading