Thursday, July 7, 2011

TWISTED TALES: Wanna Be Startin' Something?



THIS IS GOING TO BE A TASTY ONE....
Photobucket
Bucket of FaceBucket of Face
Author Eric Hendrixson
Thirteen years after a police officer searching a suspected child molester's home spilled a vial of silver pollen, America is still struggling with how to recognize its sentient fruit population. Charles is just a normal guy working at a doughnut shop until an apple and a banana shoot each other in a mafia dispute, leaving a briefcase full of foreign currency and a specimen bucket at the corner booth. When Charles turns the wiseguys into doughnuts and steals their luggage, hoping for a better life for himself and his kiwi fruit girlfriend, he finds himself in the middle of a mafia war. As his girlfriend travels the DC metro area, selling off the contents of the bucket, Charles finds he is the target of a seasoned hit-tomato, who happens to be the biggest Michael Jackson fan who ever lived.


My Star Review: If you’ve just read the book synopsis you might've paused, shook your head, and decided to re-read it again because undoubtedly this is not a book about mafia fruit wars and a donut dealer killer who is dating a kiwi? Since this is bizarro, it kind of is, but in the metaphorical sense, right? Charles is the reality that holds this surreal eco-fruitation together and he is accompanied by an entourage of characters that easily might be discovered in the lost and found bin of Quentin Tarantino’s mind. Possessing all the good qualities of pulp-fiction, this spoof on pop culture captures the best and worst of sensationalism, hero envy and the normalcy of the not so normal we’ve come to love and expect. So much is going on in this petite package of chaos that it demands the expertise of a psychologist to figure it out, or at least a judge to determine if Hendrixson is insane. Readers may question whether this ex-English teacher has gone completely postal and contemplate if it is wise to let the man roam around our country’s capital. Given the other influences in society, your children are probably safe, but you might want to censor their music selection because clearly Michael Jackson inspires unhealthy life choices.


Eric Hendrixson is the author of Bucket of Face, a Bizarro Noir novel published by Eraserhead Press.  He currently works in and around Washington D.C., and lives, writes, and plays the occasional round of disc golf in Northern Virginia.  His writing has appeared primarily in periodicals you have never heard of, and he’s been rejected by all the periodicals you have heard of.  His most recent rejections were from Pedestal and Modern Drunkard Magazine.
* Author photo and bio. from original source of author's website Frying the Cat


A Little Q&A...
The best interview ever posted on a book blog!  What?! Too bold of a claim?

Q: If you could be any celebrity, who would it be and why?


A: People always say Ted Bundy was handsome, charming, and charismatic. Nobody ever says that about me. I usually get compared to Zach Galifinakis. I'd rather be someone handsome, charming, and charismatic, like Steve Buscemi.


There are also guys like John Cusack. What I most admire about them is the way they can screw up every relationship they have, then fix everything and still get the girl with a half-assed gesture in the last eight minutes of the film. I've always wanted to do that. That's really more of a genre than a specific celebrity.


There's a pretty cool artist in Virginia, Mark Cline, who is famous mostly for building Foamhenge in Natural Bridge and for playing practical jokes on nearby cities every April. I think I'd either be Albrecht Dürer or Mark Cline.


Q: Donuts are yummy.  What is the one, single food that you would never give up? Why?


A: My initial attraction to doughnuts was not to the doughnuts themselves but to the places where they were sold. Doughnut shops used to be grimy, smoky places that were open all night. I don't think people went there so much for the doughnuts but just to be somewhere late at night. You could tell the people there after a certain hour really had nowhere else to be. The chain doughnut shops or, worse, the drive-through doughnut shops just don't do it for me, so don't actually eat doughnuts very often these days.


My go-to sandwich is peanut butter with pickles. I prefer crunchy peanut butter with kosher dills. These days, I'm more likely to eat it on a tortilla than on bread. The most important things in my refrigerator are peanut butter, pickles, salsa, sauerkraut, and mustard. One could argue that my diet is characterized chiefly by condiments. Pho is also important to me, but that might just have to do with all the stuff you can put in it.


Q: If you could change any three things about our educational system, what would they be?


A: I'd first want to change the way math and science are taught. I'm actually very interested in math and science, but they are usually not taught in a conceptual way. A lot of it is just memorizing vocabulary and formulas. Some researchers believe this is because many math and science teachers do not fully understand the subjects they teach. In college, I dropped a statistics class, not because I couldn't do the math but because I didn't know why I was doing the math. Several years later, I edited a government statistical manual, correcting not only the writing but also some of the math. I hadn't taken another statistics class between school and editing the book. My understanding had improved despite my education rather than because of it. When learning math, my favorite parts were number theory and proofs, since they included both why and how. If I hadn't learned how to derive an equation from first principles, I would never have passed physics.


The second thing I'd change is what is read in English classes. I once observed a high school class in which the students sat for an hour silently reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Halfway through the class, one of the students got up and tried to hang himself from the blinds. In our conversation after the class, the teacher told me how many days she had until retirement. She had a few years to go, but she was counting the days.


Francine Prose wrote an article called "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read" in which she argues that if we want students to like reading, we have to give them good things to read and teach them in such a way that they can appreciate the texts. There are a lot of Bizarro books I would not assign in a school context, but they are books that readers can get excited about.


Both of the above changes are about restoring wonder, excitement, and intellectual curiosity. My third change would be more mundane. I'd do away with the adjunct teaching track in colleges and universities.


Q: What’s the worst ‘writing advice’ you’ve received?


A: Well, I've received a lot of bad advice. I won't even list all the bad ideas that pop up in writing workshops. One very common piece of bad advice is to "Write what you know." The problem with this advice is that what most writers know about writing, so the world has entirely too many books about writers, English majors, and English professors. A lot of writers do not have that many interesting experiences. When writing fiction, it is good to reach beyond your own experiences. If possible, you should reach beyond human experiences. However, writers should know what they write.


The best piece of writing advice I ever got was from Vasily Aksyonov back when he was teaching Russian Literature at George Mason University. He made me read everything Gogol had ever written. Then, instead of assigning an essay, he said to write a story Gogol could have written. He read the most violent passage of my story to the class, laughing the whole time. He had a huge, Russian laugh. That was a good day.


Who wants FREE Bucket of Face merchandise?  
It's a facebook grab-o-rama!
Every week throughout the summer Eric Hendrixson (random.org) will pick a super lucky winner. What will the incredibly fortunate reader win? A tee-shirt or care package. What's in the care package you ask?  I don't know, that's the surprise and since this is bizarro anything goes, I suppose.
Do you feel lucky?  Click:  
I LIKE Bucket of Face and well, LIKE it!


I know you're probably asking, "What else can I make Eric Hendrixson do for a good cause because this man should be giving all the time?"  Let's see.....
There is a tradition that a NBA author's royalties will be held hostage for one month and then donated to a worthy cause.  Via his own admission, the worthiest cause he came up with is John Skipp's zombie musical puppet show and believe you, me, this is a duper event that the world should not be denied! 


DETAILS and Donations: 
  • If Eric Hendrixson sells 20 books, he'll double the donation. 
  • If he sells 40 books, he'll send John Skipp twice his month's royalties and also his beard in a ziplock bag. Take a look at that bio. photo again. That beard has GOT to GO.  Besides, John really wants the beard, so let's help make his boyhood dream come true.  
Vamos!  Go buy the book so Eric has to pay, pay, pay to this totally deserving and worthy cause!  If you insist on knowing more or are so excited that you feel compelled to throw cash around, please visit the pledge/donation site and view the video.
Purchase links: Amazon Bizarro Central Goodreads



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