I was originally an octopus but they excommunicated me because I thought we should call ourselves octopodes. It was a huge rift in the octopus community. So now I am a librarian and write fiction. Before that I was a shepherd who focused on rhyming couplets. I've worn many hats. All of them small. I have three very tiny heads. Most of all I miss the abyssal depths. And krill. Delicious krill.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE A WRITER? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST STORY ABOUT?
When I was 10 or 11 I wrote a grisly story about a failed stuntman who nearly died after every stunt but was resuscitated by his handlers and nursed back to health just in time for the next catastrophe. I think he ended up being eaten by sharks, and his last words were, “Fuck youuuuuuuuu!”
YOU ALSO WRITE AMAZING POETRY. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE POEM?
I admire so many. But I think I am most awed by Stephen Dunn's "Loves" and Andrew Hudgins's "Heat Lightning in a Time of Drought."
I AM ALWAYS IMPRESSED BY YOUR USE OF HUMOR AND WEIRD FICTION. WHAT INSPIRED THE LIBRARIAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD?
YOU TAUGHT ME SOMETHING ABOUT A MACGUFFIN. WHAT IS THE MACGUFFIN IN THE STORY? DO YOU NORMALLY HAVE ONE IN YOUR NOVELS?
The macguffin is the thing that motivates the action or keeps the plot going. It doesn't have to be entirely significant to the plot and doesn't even have to be revealed. But it is the thing that everyone is chasing. In Repo Man it was the thing in the trunk of the car. In Pulp Fiction it was the briefcase. In Librarian it is Carrie Fisher's washcloth.
IF YOU COULD MEET ONE AUTHOR, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Would we be able to communicate if we spoke different languages and came from different times and cultures? I have lots of questions about this. Like, I would like to meet whoever put the Q source text together in the early Christian church, but I doubt we'd be able to span the language and culture gap. That would be really frustrating. How long do we get to suss shit out? Like is this a coffee date, or are we gonna be in a long-term relationship? Are we able to set aside time to get to know each other and establish the kind of rapport that would reveal something about ourselves? Do I still have to work, or could I take a sabbatical to talk to William Blake? Surely, I could get a sabbatical to tell William Blake that "eye" and "symmetry" don't rhyme.
PLEASE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING PUBLICATIONS.
I have nothing on the horizon. I'm supposed to be working on a follow up novel to The Librarian at the End of the World that will be called The Two-Headed Lady at the End if the World (you may detect a theme) but I've been busy with real life. It's funny so far though, so I hope I can get back into it soon.
ONE LAST FANTASY QUESTION: DO YOU THINK WRITING CAN TRANSFORM THE WORLD? IF SO HOW?
I used to. Now I just think we need to make fun of everything. We are on a sinking ship and our last recourse is to mock the captain, the crew, the passengers, the iceberg, and the ocean.
WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU ONLINE OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
MARK, IT’S BEEN A REAL PLEASURE! I HOPE TO HAVE YOU BACK SOON.
The Librarian at the End of the World is available on Amazon.