November 3, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - Romance and Pornography

Name: Dylan M. Thompson
Major(s): English
Year of Graduation: 2009
Position: Featured writer (Fall 2009)

So Dylan, as an English major you presumably had many outlets for your writing. Now that you've graduated, what are you doing to keep up the creative process?
I'm sleeping a lot. I am currently unemployed, surviving on Diet Coke and cigarettes. I don't like to physically exert myself, so I try to keep my mind going -- listening to music, watching a good movie, reading, trying to remember the villain for each season of "Buffy."

Speaking of the process, do you have a particular ritual for your writing? As in, a specific place you like to write or a mood that strikes you?
It doesn't matter what time of the year it is, but I need to have the closest window open. Something about being cold, I think. Also, I feel that I am more productive at night, after ten p.m.

One author, one poet. Greatest influences?
J.D. Salinger -- the subjects of his stories aren't amazing or inventive but the characters are. Salinger's characters drive the story -- he could write them eating ice cream or trying to save a sinking ocean liner, it doesn't matter. The characters are so well written that they can drive any story idea.

And poet...oh, I don't know. Wayne Miller. His poems put you in a very specific place and mood.

Even though it's somewhat taboo to ask about inspiration... we can't help ourselves in your case. If you don't mind sharing, please tell us more about the stripper in "Thérapie!"
Last spring I went to Canada and experienced my very first strip club. I met a woman named Angela and she started dancing and stripping and the whole situation was very odd. And yes...she did say "anywhere but between the legs."

We'll let you in on a secret-- within this edition of the Scribe, "Thérapie" starts a page with "g-string." Do you have any reactions to this? How does it make you feel?
Whenever I am trying to write a romantic scene or a sex scene in a story, I feel like I can never deliver -- either it's too boring or too pornographic. I think "Thérapie" is a good mix of romance and pornography. So to answer your question, who doesn't like a page to start with "g-string"?

In your poem published in this semester's Scribe, "Madrigal," you juxtapose the art and work of writing poetry with the making of a madrigal, and similarly robots and birds. Can you explain the trajectory of your thinking, and how the path went from robots to birds or vice versa?
The whole poem is about trying to fit yourself into different roles that don't belong to you. A robot will never be able to write poetry -- I took that to an extreme in this poem. And a bird will never be able to sing you a Zevon song -- birds don't work that way. They make up their own songs. The idea of "madrigal" came from Donne's "Passionate Shepherd" poem. The shepherd in the poem promised his love that he'd have the birds sing her madrigals. But that's impossible.

Along these lines: You are one of the only people published under multiple genres in this Scribe. You are the sole writer published under two genres. How did you become interested in both prose and poetry as forms of creativity? Do you have any other specialities we should know about?
I've always been more interested in prose than poetry. There's more room with prose. But when I got to URI, I took a few poetry classes and was hooked. Poetry is trickier than prose -- you can't bullshit anything. Prose always has its dips and low points. A poem has to perform throughout.

Can you tell us about any other projects you are currently working on?
I'm working on a story with one of my friends about a town plagued by forces supernatural and not, and how the townspeople respond to said forces. It should be interesting if we ever get through it. One of my main characters is a two hundred year old entity in the body of a four year old girl named Betty. So...I've got that going for me. I'm also working on a nonfiction piece about my summer working with a teen who was developmentally disabled...that's going to be called "God's Work." Catchy title, no?

Do you have a favorite phrase, writing-related or otherwise?
"I will use this earth to scratch your back." It came to me in a dream.

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