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What’s with the get up?

What do you mean?

 

Isn’t it a bit early for chaps?

It’s nearly happy hour.

 

Right, but you’re not going to be riding a horse to happy hour.

How do you know?

 

Because you’re afraid of horses.

I’m basically afraid of everything.

 

Lose the chaps, will you?  Stop trying so hard.

(changing into dirty sweatpants) Sorry.

 

We’re supposed to be talking about “Fight Song.”  Is it really a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz”?

Loosely.  I wanted to set “The Wizard of Oz” in a 21st century American suburb and see what happens.

 

What happens?

(picking a ridge of nacho cheese off the sweatpants and eating it, looking incredibly happy) What was the question?

 

What’s “Fight Song” about?

It’s a midlife crisis book.  A guy named Bob Coffen is mired in a puddle of stagnation and he’s–

 

Puddle of stagnation?

Yeah, he’s stuck.

 

 Then just say he’s stuck.  Jesus, what kind of fucking asshole says things like “puddle of stagnation”?

I say things like that.  I’m an artiste!

 

(punches him in the face, Tyler Durden style) Don’t talk like such a douche.  If somebody’s stuck, say he’s stuck.  There’s no fucking reason to ever utter “puddle of stagnation” again.

(rubbing hurt nose) Sorry.

 

So “Fight Song” is about Bob Coffen.  And he’s stuck.

The book covers a week in Coffen’s life.  He goes down his suburban yellow brick road with the requisite characters.  His cowardly lion is his neighbor, Schumann, who won’t take off his college football uniform and wants people to call him Reasons with His Fists.  Bob’s Tin Man is actually a tin woman named Tilda, and she runs a phone sex operation through the drive through intercom system of a local fast food restaurant.  Finally, there’s Ace, a janitor cum rock star who plays in a Kiss cover band.  It’s a black comedy.  And if I’ve done my job right, it’s a fun and strange and madcap way for a reader to spend a few hours.

 

That’s a big if…

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

 

I’m just saying I know a big if when I see one and the likelihood of you pulling this off… man, I wouldn’t touch those odds.  I hear there’s magic in the book, too.

Yes, there’s some magical realism.

 

Magical realism is for babies.

Some people like magic.

 

Yeah and they’re babies.

I’m ready to stop talking to you.

 

Let’s go wash those sweatpants.

___________

Joshua Mohr is the author of four novels, most recently “Damascus,” which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.”  He’s also written “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List.  He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His new novel, “Fight Song,” was just published in February 2013.

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