The Write Stuff: Matt Pine on Quirk, and Sudden, Fluorescent Costumed Strangeness
The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.
Matt Pine's debut novel City Water Light & Power was published last May on Cairn Press. He is a founding ensemble member at the San Francisco Neo-Futurists. If you love tweets about waiting for the bus, you'll only be slightly disappointed by @obligaccount.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?
If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Repeat.
When you're sad/grumpy/pissed off, what YouTube video makes you feel better?
That auto-turned Carl Sagan is a classic. "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, first you must invent the universe." There is something soothing -- similar to the heavy lead vest the dentist uses -- in such a weighty chore:
What's wrong with society today?
It's sort of disturbing how comfortable we all are answering questions like this one. Because man, it's like, I don't even know what's wrong with my wardrobe. But I suppose conversely, it's also kind of disturbing how easily we (Who is this we?) complacently accept that large problems are intractable.
What is art? Is it necessary? Why?
I'm totally going to turn this question into a tangent and ride that pony. I was reading something recently about rent and the middle class and the arts and quirkiness and sudden billionaires and the four corporate shuttles of the apocalypse and NIMBY and subsidies and what-can-a-city-even-do-against-the-forces-of-late-capitalism and there was a question like, "Do people want to live in a city after all the artists and all the character has been driven out?" And obviously, this was supposed to be rhetorical. But I've been wondering what if the answer is that folks don't care so long as their cocktail recipe supposedly pre-dates prohibition? I mean, this is of course depressing and nihilistic, but I have been wondering lately if love of local charm is really a love of lip service so long as service is prompt.
Although having just typed that, I am like, 'No! No! Don't talk like that! You love books, and theatre, and art, and quirk, and sudden, fluorescent costumed strangeness! Certainly other people do as well!"
What are you working on right now?
I've been hacking out what is starting to look like the beginning of my second novel. Out of a vaguely understood superstition, I'm reluctant to say any more than that, other than it's several years away from being done. Also, I've recently joined the San Francisco Neo-Futurist. We do a show called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, where we try to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes, so I've been writing a lot of short plays lately.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
If you got an all expenses paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
If I had a bottomless tub of money, I'd like to found an artists' colony. I'm picturing a clapboard house in the woods surrounded by a fleet of eight or ten studio-shacks all occupied by people far more talented than I could ever hope to be. Nightly, I picture enormous, sloppy dinners. I'd be the doddering, kindly old uncle, curious about the artists' work, appreciative, perhaps a little dimwitted, perhaps a little tipsy, but hopefully looked upon fondly.
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