Monday, April 1, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Orphan Press (2013)
I've been tagged by Amy Newman in The Next Big Thing, a ​series of self-interviews where writers answer questions about their recent or forthcoming books, and tag other writers to do the same. I'm tagging essayists Barrie Jean Borich (Body Geographic) and Liz Stephens (The Days Are Gods). You can look forward to their interviews going live one week from today! (I'll be hosting Liz's interview here.) My Q's and A's:

What is your title of your book? 
The book is titled This Must Be Where My Obsession With Infinity Began.

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I’ve been writing autobiographical essays for many years—mostly about childhood and adolescence—and I've always been thinking about a book. I gathered them in a manuscript that after a lot of tweaks and edits and some shuffling felt complete and thematic.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 
That's a tough question because, well, these are essays. They’d have to go with POV shots, I guess, and we all know how clunky and corny they can get after about 30 seconds. As for the other figures in the book, I’d have to do a wide, somewhat bizarre casting call of my siblings’ and friends’ doppelgängers. That would be wild.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
Essays that interrogate the edges of my suburban youth, exploring issues of spirituality, sex, violence, and myth.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
The book won the Orphan Press Creative Nonfiction Award and was just published by Orphan Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
I worked on the drafts of the essays and versions of the manuscript for many years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
Any work of autobiographical nonfiction that takes to heart Montaigne’s notion of an essay as a weighing out, a sifting of ordinary experience for sense and sometimes-elusive meaning.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
Years ago I turned from writing poems to writing essays because the essay form felt freer and closer to the kinds of exploring I wanted to do in my writing, writing that usually begins in ambivalence or uncertainty, certainly in “not-knowing.” (I'm not as confident as Montaigne, whose self-starting charge “What do I know?” I usually amend to “What might I know?”) I’ve always loved Aldous Huxley’s line that “the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.” And I feel that I’m at home in sentences and paragraphs, the roominess in there, though I think my prose is also informed by my having written and read poetry for so many years.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 
Well...I’m spinning on a jungle gym on the front cover. So there’s that.


Here's the trailer for This Must Be Where My Obsession With Infinity Began:

You can buy the book here.


Rachael Hanel said...

I look forward to reading this!

Joe Bonomo said...

Thank you, Rachael! Looking forward to your book, as well.