Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Robert Devereaux Interview

Can you tell us about your creative process? How do you go from idea to finished story?
Some writers begin with a character or a few characters. I tend to find an exciting story idea or various plot twists it will be great fun to improvise with. These usually have a vibrant tonal center, an engaging emotional core, or some quirky fantastical bit of wonderment.  Whatever that thing is I then infuse into the characters in various ways.  As one with an acting background, I have ways of molding the characters' desires into what the plot demands they desire. The human psyche is so intricate a mechanism, it's a challenge but always doable to sculpt a complex of motivations that will organically flesh out any chosen plot. 
As a result, I am far more a planner than a seat-of-the-pantser in Larry Brooks' terminology (see I create a scaffolding with a design that fascinates me, then let my free urges erect my version of that building. Is the edifice complex? Perhaps, but oddly enough, I have never had the urge to kill my father and fuck my mother.
After draft one is done, I give the manuscript a good long cooling off period--of one day! Then I read it through, marking up problem areas.  And it's off to the revision races, honing intently and relentlessly until the manuscript thrills, sparkles, and shines.
What is your dream project? And what won't you ever write?
My dream project? There is no specificity around that phrase for me. In the ideal, whatever book I'm working on is my dream project in this sense:  I am completely alive, centered, focused, fired up with passion and delight, every phrase perfect and sizzling, the sweep of prose simultaneously captivating and totally integral to the telling of the story. When it's published, word-of-mouth spreads like the most terrifying wildfire ever set. Unlike every book that came before, this one resonates so deeply with so many people that the public consciousness perceptibly if only slightly changes for the betterment of humankind.  The buildup of enthusiasm is so swift and solid, that a movie option is quickly sold for vast sums of money and the movie--faithful to the book, masterfully screenplayed, masterfully directed, masterfully acted--gains great praise in its own right. A musical, an opera, a ballet are made from this material as well, so beautifully crafted that they spark a cultural renaissance. People are no longer lulled by TV dreck, but will settle for only the finest of storytelling efforts that honor and encourage hitherto unrealized potential for human play, for grand and sweeping drama, for subtle, audience-trusting material in all storytelling modes. Other writers, dancing to the beat of their own drummer, enter enthusiastically the dialogue sparked by my work. All of this spills over into all modes of human connection. No longer the bovine moo, the bleat of sheep, the dull, dead march of lemmings to cliff edge. Rather, a firm gentle awakening to group efforts that do not exclude or exile, that moves away from political poison toward elixirs that rejuvenate, balms that heal, salves that offer true salvation. This then is my dream project.
What won't I ever write? Stories which have no purpose but to shock, stories which arouse or encourage inhumane acts in readers, stories that revel in showing abuse, stories that bore every reader who has the misfortune to pick them up, stories that make me weep for having wasted so much time, so many breaths, so many precious seconds of life dishonoring the human spirit, stories that tell me in no uncertain terms that it's time to blow my brains out and end this fucker once and for all. I shall endeavor to avoid writing such stories, and I pray that others will likewise so endeavor.
What do you find most challenging about the writing life? The most rewarding?
To balance the wild hairpin turns of the imagination with a striving for perfect narrative form. That's the greatest challenge, followed closely by sensing when this-much-and-no-more is just enough. Like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, or Verdi, one must consistently be at the top of one's game. Intensely engage with the material while it is in the kiln of creation, then entirely release it when it finds its birth in the public eye. Also challenging: Remaining free of the temptation to write to audience expectation, based on one's previous works and having been pigeonholed by those who know them. 

Most rewarding? The utter freedom of the blank page, knowing all of the astonishing literature that has preceded your efforts, and into dialogue with which you are invited to join. The rare moments when you meet a grateful reader face-to-face and find that your minds and hearts have connected in ways that touch his or her passions. Attending writers' conventions and meeting fascinating people of all stripes.  The continual astonishment of the next project, how one grows from work to work.
List five things that are on your writing desk right now.
I have no writing desk. I use a lap desk and sit on a couch in what was my late wife's professional office and is now my little slice of heaven to dream and play in. So my "writing desk" is this place of wonder. Five things on that writing desk are sunshine; deep love for my cherished, lost, beloved wife Victoria; two of her watercolors; three painting/pastels we bought in Taos; and an artistically fashioned clock whose hands I have stopped because I much prefer silence over ticking.
What are you reading this month?
Books about food and animal slaughter: Eating Animals and The Omnivore's Dilemma. Joan Halifax's Living with Dying. Books about weight loss via unconventional means: Why We Get Fat and The Four-Hour Body. I'll soon order the audio edition of A Clockwork Orange. Tea leaves, runes, and the entrails of dead animals. Reading with my eyes the darling faces of new dates, and braille-reading other parts of their bodies as they ask me to. Reading day by day my internal weather. Reading rising levels of excitation emanating from hot seat participants at TurnON Boulder meetups.  As a stroker, reading my strokee's rising and falling waves of orgasm as we share the fifteen-minute connection known as orgasmic meditation.
What are you working on right now?
I've resumed work on my third and possibly final Santa Claus novel, slated to appear from Deadite Press next Christmas. Its working title is Santa Claus Saves the World but I'm flirting with Santa Claus Kicks God's Mangy Ass All Over Heaven or something else absolutely appropriately blasphemous and irreverent, the old guy so deeply deserves disrespect for having fucked up the human psyche. Also working on a novel entitled Throat Puppy, but it's far too new to say more about it at this point.

Thanks, Robert!

1 comment:

  1. As always, Robert Devereaux is articulate, astounding and in total, the artist. He puts words on the page as an artist puts paint on a canvas. Either way, something new is created, something unique in and of itself. Such is Robert Devereaux's work. Literary. Engaging. Horrific.


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