…with Ian Bodkin

Ariana:

First, you’ve just become a dad recently. What is the best thing about being a dad?

Ian:

To see this small baby experience everything through new eyes, but not the big things, you now he has no concept of dawn or dusk or sun or moon. No the most beautiful thing is how he is drawn toward the particular, like my wife wore this shirt the other day with hundreds of lines and patterns across it, and he turned to her and just shook with excitement. It’s the innocence of his sight, what we think is minute or inconsequential, appears awesome to him. Or at least that’s my assumption.

Ariana:

You’re a teacher and a writer. The demands of both must leave them competing with each other for attention. How do you feel teaching influences your writing and vice versa?

Ian:

They do compete, but I guess over the years I’ve learned that I must respect each in their own capacity. If I don’t fully engage in my teaching with preparation and interacting with my students then I find that my writing suffers. But if I don’t let my creativity out or follow the path of my writing to its end, then I’m frustrated and distracted when I go to teach. They’ve become symbiotic, if the shark is healthy the remora feeds. Problem is that shark is interchangeable between the two and maybe I’m the remora.

Ariana:

Who is your favorite song artist and why? Does this artist impact your writing in style or otherwise?

Ian:

Anything with the word “favorite” is difficult to answer, and I listen to music constantly, so the answer is always changing. Right now it would be Chopin’s Nocturnes and Lana Del Ray’s Ultra Violence. I love music when writing because a particular rhythm or melody or harmony can allow me to escape myself, the page, the day, etc. If I guess I was to pick one artist it would be The Pixies. If I could write as brash and loud, but quiet and innocent, while being full of vitriol on the page, then it’s a good day.

Ariana:

What’s the one thing you wished you were told as a teenager your weren’t told?

Ian:

Every word was once drunk. Seriously.

Ariana:

Every Word Was Once Drunk is now coming up on its 2nd edition release. How do you feel the 1st edition was received by readers?

Ian:

I think it was received well. One of my best friends told his girlfriend it was refrigerator magnet poetry, then apologized to me. My brother-in-law stayed up all night drinking with his best friend reading it and arguing from poem to poem. They finally came to the conclusion that though it walked a fine line between being too clever and actually insightful, in the end it was “a solid work.” At readings, some people remarked that I was really young, which my hairline and beer gut felt better about. But seriously, for the most part people have been really supportive, even asking me things that I never even thought of when writing it, which is awesome.

Ariana:

Do you have anything to say to the readers and fans of Every Word Was Once Drunk?

Ian:

Thank you or I’m sorry or Hey, that’s just your opinion man or woman. No, thank you for sharing these Drunk words with me.

Ariana:

Why mason jars as art in the book?

Ian:

In Virginia, we still have a harvest season, hopefully for at least twenty more years, and we always grow more than we need. So, the rest is jarred away and at the holidays the best gifts are preserves. But growing up we only had enough glasses for family and maybe a few odd souvenir mugs, especially down at my grandma, Honey’s. So when company came over or you had a party, all we had were left over mason jars. And into the night maybe we cracked opened a few of them preserves. Looking out the kitchen window the next morning, picnic tables had last night’s jars. It’s communal, it’s a moment in a great tale when we all decide we need a refill.

Ariana:

What did you find was the hardest part about writing Every Word Was Once Drunk?

Ian:

Being honest.

Ariana:

What are your 3 favorite movies of all time and how have they impacted your writing?

Ian:

Aye, there’s that word again! But I do like 3. I guess I’d begin with Bergman’s the Seventh Seal, it’s why I still play chess with myself. Then purely on set design alone, I’m going with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. When suburbs look like German surrealism, I’ll move. Finally but seriously, the best comedy of all time, The Big Lebowski, and I throw that dialog up against the Bard himself. Every scene is pitch perfect, there’s not one flat note and it has the necessary means for a necessary means of beautiful.

Ariana:

Who’s your favorite villain?

Ian:

Oh how I don’t want to say Joker. Or Superman in the original Shuster and Siegel draft. No, it’s Dr. Victor Fries (pronounced Freeze). Not the train wreck that was Schwarzenegger against nipple batman Clooney, but the art that was Bruce Trimm and Paul Dini in the Batman Animated Series. I love the villains that superheroes can’t hate. When a character commits a crime and in uncovering that crime our hero understands why the “villain” will not stop until he reaches his goal. Sound familiar Batman? Yes, I love villains that Batman respects.

Ariana:

If you were being chased by Godzilla, what would you do?

Ian:

Throw my hands in the air and scream for a ridiculously long amount of time that is until I was stepped on or swallowed.

Ariana:

I would classify your writing as a bit experimental. What do you think sets your writing apart from others?

Ian:

I don’t know. Drunk exists in a world of time elapse photography and impression. I believe we inhabit a period of late language. So many permutations of a particular phrase exist that when the line or sentence begins, the reader has already assumed the conclusion. If I pick up a feather, then it can be from any bird I can dream up and same goes for the reader. If I describe that feather, then I begin to infringe upon the reader’s imagination and restrict my own. That doesn’t mean I won’t go on to describe the feather, but I’m much more interested in the associative image rather than the replica.

Ariana:

Sum up the new Introduction to Every Word Was Once Drunk in a sentence. What does it give to a new reader or a reader of the 1st edition?

Ian:

We all get to carve our own mask; instructions included.

Ariana:

Finally, what “new” holiday would you declare as president just to get a day off.

Ian:

May 22, it’s Honey’s and my son, Aiden’s, birthday.

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