Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This week's Indie Heartthrob is...
My latest choice for Bookslut's Indie Heartthrob is David Ohle, author of the cult 1972 novel Motorman and it's follow-up (almost 30 years later) The Age of Sinatra, as well as the forthcoming bookend to the trilogy, The Pisstown Chaos.
In our interview, Ohle tells me about his time working with William S. Burroughs, Jr. in Kansas as well as his approach to writing as a tradesman:
From the interview:
Tell me about your time with Burroughs in Kansas. Had working with him on his memoir influenced your fiction?
I met Burroughs when I moved to Lawrence in 1984 and hung out with him once or twice a week until his death. I cooked dinner for him on Thursday nights, took him to the methadone clinic in Kansas City on occasion (where he picked up a "six pack" for the week), took him fishing and target shooting (I fished, he shot). I also transcribed a few of his novels from manuscript to computer files (Western Lands, Queer, The Cat Inside). A rumor has persisted that I somehow transcribed his dreams, but it's not true. I'd like to say that his writing had no influence on mine, but that may not be true either. If any of his writing influenced me, it would have to be Queer and Junkie, the two works of his I most admire for their starkly simple, straightforward style. (I wrote a screenplay adaptation of Queer, which Steve Buscemi initially optioned, but it has never been made.) His fame as a writer aside (Bill never talked about that), he was a very smart guy, a razor-sharp wit, and funny as hell. We were friends. I wrote a more complete account of my times with Burroughs called Mutate or Die: With Burroughs in Kansas, published by The Beat Scene Press. I've also published (Soft Skull, 2006) a memoir of Burroughs' son, Billy, called Cursed from Birth.
Check out the rest of the interview at the Blog of a Bookslut.