Would You Rather
Would you rather start every sentence in your book with ‘And’ or end every sentence with ‘but’?
Hmm…I’d rather begin every sentence with “and.” “But” can have other connotations/meanings!
Would you rather write in an isolated cabin that was infested with spiders or in a noisy coffee shop with bad musak?
Since I can tune out bad music—(I always have good music playing inside my little brain—right now it’s the Stones song “Factory Girl”)--I would choose the noisy coffee shop. Plus, I can’t stand the zit-like noise that spiders make when you pop them. Plus, I’m addicted to coffee.
Would you rather think in a language you could understand but write in one you couldn’t read, or think in a language you couldn’t understand but write in one you could read?
I’d have to be able to think in a language I can understand. Both choices, though, would present problems!
Would you rather write the best book of your career and never publish it or publish a bunch of books that leave you feeling unsatisfied?
Wow! Incredible question. I’d rather write the best book of my career in the hope that maybe—after my death—a relative could see it published (a la John Kennedy Toole). (But I wouldn’t zap myself the way Kennedy did).
Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
I do Facebook, but not Twitter—BUT everything I think is not fit for reading! Got to have that filter working or I’d be in BIG TROUBLE. So I’d like the voice in my head narrating my life—but it would have to be a cool Raymond Chandleresque “she had legs up to her eyebrows” type of narrator.
Would you rather your books be bound and covered with human skin or made out of tissue paper?
Human skin brings up terrible connotations of the Holocaust, so I’d go with (clean) tissue paper.
Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
I’d rather have no one show up—which, fortunately, has not happened yet. Besides, I’m so impressive naked that I would make every dude in the audience feel terribly insecure for the rest of their lives. I simply couldn’t have that on my conscience.
Would you rather your book incite the world’s largest riot or be used as tinder in everyone’s fireplace?
Hmm…could it be a peaceful riot filled with laughter and dancing? If not, then the fireplace option. At least I’d be keeping folks warm.
Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
Pens and paper. I get a dopamine rush from receiving emails.
Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?
I would never be tattooed—so the audio option. When housewives in horrible stretch pants (at the mall) have tattoos, you know its era of being rebellious is over. It’s now rebellious NOT to be tattooed.
Would you rather meet your favorite author and have them turn out to be a total jerkwad or hate a book written by an author you are really close to?
I have no illusions about famous people, so I wouldn’t mind meeting the favorite jerkwad. I will say, though, that I met John Updike in a movie line in Boston (circa 1988), spoke with him, and he was DELIGHTFUL. I told him how I taught his short story “A&P” to my high school students and he couldn’t recall the story, so I refreshed his memory. I told him that one student said, “This writer really understands teenagers,” and Mr. Updike responded, “Good God. I don’t understand them now.” Up close, Mr. Updike possessed very impressive eyebrows.
Would you rather your book have an awesome title with a really ugly cover or an awesome cover with a really bad title?
Awesome title—we could always work on a better cover in a later printing. I have to say, though, that Ann Weinstock creates AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL covers for Leapfrog Press.
Would you rather write beautiful prose with no point or write the perfect story badly?
Wow…the perfect story badly because I could always rewrite it. Hey, I would have created the perfect plot—the polishing could always happen afterwards.
Would you rather write only embarrassingly truthful essays or write nothing at all?
Embarrassingly truthful essay—they’re the best.
Would you rather your book become an instant best seller that burns out quickly and is forgotten forever or be met with mediocre criticism but continue to sell well after you’re gone?
Mediocre criticism—“This book is trash,” wrote one Concord (Massachusetts) critic about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—but continue to sell well and be beloved after I take off into the wild blue yonder.
Mick Carlon’s jazz-themed novels—Riding on Duke’s Train and Travels With Louis (Leapfrog Press)—are being adopted into more and more American schools (as well as a school in Seville, Spain). He has spoken to students in New York City, Minneapolis, Anaheim, Dallas, Plymouth (Massachusetts) and New Orleans. Says Nat Hentoff: “Mick Carlon’s novels are introducing a new generation to the glories of jazz and its soulful artists—and will continue to do so for many generations hence.” Carlon’s latest novel, Girl Singer, will be published by Leapfrog Press in November 2015.