Feb 1, 2008

"ASK ME, UH-HO-HO, ASK ME"

Hey, look who stopped by for an edition of Guthmantics, eh? Why, it's Roy Kesey, a guy I met when he flew "all the way from China" (no really!) to read for us at the Fixx Reading Series from his delightful book, All Over. And when he read, I laughed very hard. And then, when I read the copy he so wonderfully signed for me in English and with a very special and elaborate stamp of his name in Chinese, I laughed and gasped and grinned and called people and read passages to them and enjoyed the book completely. (No kidding.) So, you might want to pick up a copy and stay tuned for some upcoming work of his from his publisher, Dzanc Books. A long time ago, back when my novel first came out, Roy Kesey wrote me to let me know that whoever did my bookcover is worth a million dollars. Wasn't that a nice thing to do? I thought so, too.

Anyhow, through the power of the interwebs, Roy Kesey (in Bejing) and I (in Chicago) sat to chat:

Guth: Tell us what you write, what you have written and how you do it?

Kesey: I write—and I consider this a personal secret between you and me, Amy, such that if you ever whisper a word of it to anyone, I will deny it in the strongest of all possible language—things.

Among those things are a novella, a collection of short stories, and a number of dispatches, articles, and book reviews. Also, to-do lists.

And I write thusly: staring at the computer screen, hoping to get lucky. And also: walking around. And also: thinking, “Hey, that didn’t quite sound like me, and yet it occurred in my very own brain. On whose lips would it feel most at home?”

Guth: What grand things are next for you? What would you, we're talking dream gigs and adventures here, love to be next for you?

Kesey: Allow me to pretend that it is now three weeks ago, so that I might answer in the following way: in two days my family and I leave on a trip that I have been dreaming about for years, to Laos (especially Luang Prabang) and Cambodia (especially Siem Reap.) It will be magnificent. Unfortunately, yesterday I lost our only camera. Fortunately, this may well be the stimulus I need to buy, for once in my life, a camera that is not, taking-pictures-wise, sucky.

Also, I would really really really like to finish the novel I’ve been working on for the past several years.

Guth: What Smiths or Morrissey song or lyric sums it up for you right now?

Kesey: I take it that you refer here to Leonard and Eliza Smith*, who for several years lived down the street from us. I cannot say that I ever heard either of them sing, but thinking back on it now, every time I walked by their house on my way home from school, I would her say, or shout, “You can bet your bottom a dollar!” From her tone, it was clear to me even then that there was no irony involved in her usage. That said, I like her version better than the standard cliché, and, if I may, I’d like to consider it the lyric that sums it all up for me right now, and also have it carved on my tombstone.

(*Not their real first names. Or last name either, for that matter. Is this a problem?)

Hells no. No problem here. Well, many thanks to Roy Kesey for swinging by the 'Mouth. Now, my darling readers, do hop over to GoodReads, LibraryThing, Shelfari and the like and friend request him and claim his book on your shelf and rate it and all that. And, by all means, if ever you have a chance to hear the man read, you must!

1 comment:

Leah said...

I've been giggling for days about the Smiths who live down the street. I had a Mr. Smith, but never listened to The Smiths, so I'd have to answer with his stuff, too.