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Q:  Bill, thanks for sitting to talk.

A: Thank you, Q.

 

Q:  You’ve got a new book, Life Among Giants, coming from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.  Tell us about some of the suffering the publisher has put you through.

A:  Well, they haven’t.  Really, they’re a very impressive and generous and lovely outfit, the best experience I’ve had in publishing!

The thing about superstitions is that usually there is some anecdotal evidence, however tenuous, to bear them out. Take, for instance, the myth that misfortune visits in groups of three. Laugh if you will, but for Oakland’s Machine Head—arguably the biggest underground metal band in the world—a trio of recent mishaps suggests there just might be something to that old wives’ tale.

If you’re comfortable, we can start.

I thought we started already. In fact, it seems like you’ve always been here.

 

I’m very familiar with your new novel, PANORAMA CITY, but how would you describe it to a random person in a bar?

It’s about a village idiot who wants to become a man of the world.

I have a thing about last meals. Not as in prisoners about to be executed — they know it’s going to be their last. But as in just about everyone else, most all of us. Whatever’s coming, there’s going to be that last thing we eat. My folks, for example. They did pretty well in the last-­meal department, beautiful restaurant, family all around them, perfect sandwiches made by someone who truly cared about food. Lunch, as it happened. Their last meal, I mean. For my sister it was breakfast, but that was years later, and I’ll get to all that. The point is, I like to eat every meal as if it were the last, as if I knew it were the last: savor every bite, be there with the food, make sure it’s good, really worthy. And though it’s an impossible proposition, I try to take life that way, too: every bite my last.

Close bases all over the world. Turn them all into public housing.
Be nice to other countries, send them flowers,
throw parties for them.

Invite people you love and those you don’t know well
but want to know better.
Prepare festive plates of food and cold beverages of all types.

Decorate your house with sparkly lights and candles.
Make Halliburton employees and CEO’s do all the cleaning.

PART ONE
tape 1, sides a & b
MAYOR

If you set aside love and friendship and the bonds of family, luck, religion, and spirituality, the desire to better mankind, and music and art, and hunting and fishing and farming, self-importance, and public and private transportation from buses to bicycles, if you set all that aside money is what makes the world go around. Or so it is said. If I wasn’t dying prematurely, if I wasn’t dying right now, if I was going to live to ripeness or rottenness instead of meeting the terminus bolted together and wrapped in plaster in the Madera Community Hospital, if I had all the time in the world, as they say, I would talk to you first of all about the joys of cycling or the life of the mind, but seeing as I could die any minute, just yesterday Dr. Singh himself said that I was lucky to be alive, I was unconscious and so didn’t hear it myself, Carmen told me, I’ll get down to so-called brass tacks.

Hey there, Jamie Blaine, Nervous Breakdown.  *  Ellen?

…I can hear you but then when I say something there’s a lag and it’s like you’re — huh.

 

There’s this curse with interviews where something always goes screwy with the equipment.

We will battle through!

 

Cool, so how are you doing these days?

Good.  It’s really been great how Marbles has been received.  I worked hard and felt good about putting it out there.  Having it resonate with so many people has been deeply satisfying.

 

The book is about discovering you have Bipolar Disorder – and the fear that if you treat it you’ll lose your creative spark.   What is the link between creativity and mental illness?

Despite its predictably wonderful prose, Woes of the True Policeman will appear to those who haven’t read Bolaño’s masterwork 2666, little more than a mandala of elusive meaning, full of tenuous circularity; for those who have, Woes will seem almost an appendage or afterthought, a series of auxiliary meditations for that huge novel, and thus well worth reading. Characters we’ve encountered in the earlier book make an appearance here, including exiled Chilean professor Amalfitano, whom we last encountered in Santa Teresa, hub of the murderous universe, the dead-end of logic and the heart of darkness, scene of a seemingly endless series of murders of young girls, their bodies unearthed on an almost daily basis, living with his daughter Rosa.

Since Lindsay Lohan’s life seems to be playing out like a campy made-for-cable movie these days (She ran over a pedestrian! She’s going to jail! Her family is insane!), it should have made sense that she was tapped to play Elizabeth Taylor on Lifetime.  Who else would they get? Kate Winslet? Instead, when the news broke the Internet lit up with snarky speculation and gleeful derision. Then, months later, the reviews started popping up. Everyone from the Hollywood Reporter to Huffington Post urged us to watch this train wreck of a biopic and cackle until our abs ached. The reviews promised a Mommie Dearest “so bad it’s good” kind of flick. They told us to play drinking games. They said we’d have a great time. They set us up.

MACHER Literary Agent Rescue has a long history of placing aggressive-passive and empathy-deficient literary agents in the decaying homes of struggling writers. We are a dedicated volunteer group, serving the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, rescuing empathy-deficient literary agents from all over and all under.

For seven years, MACHER Literary Agent Rescue has rescued countless literary-agents from swank bars and overrated spas.

Paula Bomer’s debut novel Nine Months (Soho Press, 2012) has had a long gestation period. On and off for the past 10 years, Bomer had sent Nine Months to agents and publishers, rewrote it, put it away for a long time, unwrote it, and then gave it one last shot, scoring with the rising Soho Press. Since its release in August, it’s has won accolades from The Atlantic, Library Journal, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. When I caught up with Paula, she’d just finished the west coast part of her book tour, getting stuck in Los Angeles and then Chicago a few extra days to ride out Hurricane Sandy before heading back to her home in Brooklyn.