I’ve been tagged by the illustrious Armenian-American poet, Ms. Lola Koundakjian, to do an interview for an expanding blog called, “The Next Big Thing.” Lola was tagged by another writer, and you can read Lola’s interview at http://lolakoundakjian.blogspot.com/ The idea is that I tag other writers to do the same. I accepted the invitation because it will force me to re-evaluate my unpublished manuscript while hopefully serving other writers in the process. Lola is a good example of a writer who is always busy writing, publishing, curating. Her practice is one I can learn a lot from. Who’s to say what can happen if writers around the globe agreed to participate in “The Next Big Thing,” answering the same questions about their work? I suspect there is a lot to learn from one another.
Now, the interview:
TNBT: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I suppose the confusion of being exposed to Judeo-Christianity from a slightly extremist group of evangelists who put the fear of God in me spurned thematic questions and lifted the resentment right out of my memories and onto the page. Let’s just say God and I are still getting to know each other, on better terms. I suppose our conversation is the book.
TNBT: What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
A movie rendition of a poetry collection written by an Armenian woman? I don’t see Dreamworks shelling out the big bucks for that, but let’s play with this idea just for the fun of it.
I would want whoever cast “I’m Not There” (the Bob Dylan bio-pic) to cast the movie. Patti Smith would have to make an appearance, either as God or my mother. Or both. PJ Harvey would play my alter ego, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would provide the soundtrack and Jack White would play the devil or God. Or both.
TNBT: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
You want to throw stones at a mirror? I am your mirror, and here are your stones. (Rumi) That’s two sentences, but it’s Rumi, so we’ll let it slide.
TNBT: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I am still writing the first draft. I have been writing the first draft since the day I was born. I think it’s time to move on.
TNBT: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I will give you the boring answer here. The MFA program I was attending required it, and I wanted to experience the process of putting one together. I produced something for that purpose at that point, but I was not happy with it as a piece that would live on for all posterity, so I am hanging onto it for a while until it’s ready. It’s past due, I know.
TNBT: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The title is Dogmata. It was going to be Gnosis, but I figured it would be hard for people to pronounce. Dogmata might change again though. There’s a movie with that name out there, and I don’t know yet if that would be a good or bad thing. The movie is by Kevin Smith, and it’s one I actually enjoyed because of all the religious and dark humor, but in terms of search engine data and such, I am not sure how much that association would help or hurt my little project, so we’ll see.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am weighing a couple of options at this point. I have heard great things about Red Hen Press and Write Bloody Press who have both published writers who I know and admire. Copper Canyon is one I’ve always appreciated for their selections. Once I feel ready, I’ll reach out to some of these places and hope for the best.
The writers I will be tagging include:
Khadija Anderson, Brendan Constantine and Peggy Dobreer