Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Daren Dean Talks to Self (What else is new?)
DD: Interesting question. I can already tell you're good at this, nephew. Well, I eschew labels but they can be helpful for readers. It helps prequalify a reader you might say. Without labels then what have you got? They have to read your work like a newspaper blindbox employment ad. They don't know if they're going to like what you're putting down, see? So, I'd say I like creative ones. Daniel Woodrell created his own genre label for himself "Country Noir." I like that. Tom Franklin did that too with "Industrial Gothic." I like both of those. I had a fiction workshop at MU years ago with Michael Pritchett. He described one of my stories as "Western Gothic." I guess I could might say "Midwestern Gothic" or "Southern Punk" but it's hard to beat "Industrial Gothic" or plain old "Country Noir."
Q. So am I southern?
DD: Well, I don't know. As much as I hate to admit it I'm probably a lot like Missouri. I mean, it was the western frontier at one time. St. Louis is famously called the Gateway to the West, but when you talk to folks there they don't seem very "western." Speaking of western I really like a lot of western writers such as Larry McMurtry, Larry Watson, Annie Proulx, Rick Bass (wait, isn't he in the Southern Review and New Stories from the South all the time?), Mark Spragg, Cormac McCarthy (or is he Southern?), Richard Ford (wait, he's from Mississippi ain't he?)...okay this list could keep going. Anyhow, Southerners came and populated the Little Dixie. I grew up out West. Went to graduate school in North Carolina. When folks ask me what my hometown is about the best I can do is just say Missouri. I don't really have a hometown. I went to high school in Mexico, Missouri. I've probably lived the longest, off and on, in Columbia, Missouri.
Q. What about blurbs? Remember when you were thinking about blurbs earlier?
DD: Oh yeah, well if I could write a blurb for myself (if I was someone else that is) I'd say about my own novels (if I weren't me): "This book will kick your ass!" That'd be a good one. One of the best I remember reading was one from Time magazine about "Scar Lover" by Harry Crews:
"Imagine William Faulkner in a fright wig or Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor strapped side by side on a roller coaster, and you have Harry Crews writing Southern gothic..."
Q. That one's on the back of the book.
DD: I could use a few more good blurbs. Maybe someone would take notice of my work.
Q. Oh geez, do I have to listen to this?