The latest two installments of The Bat Segundo Show, a literary podcast featuring interviews with today's contemporary writers, are now up. We talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones as well as acclaimed novelist Mary Gaitskill.
To our considerable horror, Mr. Segundo has embraced this MySpace thing. We're not sure how he did this, given that he is clueless about technology and has no real idea about how social networking sites work. We suspect Jorge might have had a hand in this development. But Mr. Segundo has found salubrious guidance of late with a doctor who may or may not be a quack, although his tequila drinking continues at unhealthy levels of consumption.
The main Segundo site can be found here:
Here are the details for the next two shows.
Author: Edward P. Jones
Condition of Mr. Segundo: Feeling oppressed by MySpace.
Subjects Discussed: Jones’s instinct for precision, specifics, city streets, details within minor characters, family lineage within fiction, Squirrel Nuts, penny candy, handicapped characters, gifted students, avoiding recurrent motifs and repeating stories, characters who appear in Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar’s Children, selecting historical settings, Washington D.C. as magnetic nexus point, throwing the reader off guard, flash-forwards, mathematical metaphors, how Jones became an English major, double metaphors, having a writing philosophy, violence in fiction, crossword puzzles, making stories read like novels, miracles, and neighborhoods.
EXCERPT FROM SHOW:
JONES: If you have a portrait painted of your family and they’re at the center of the portrait, there’s no use having cartoonish figures in the background. What’s in the background, what’s set aside should be as rich in detail as the family in the foreground right there in the center of the portrait. And I suppose that’s part of it. It’s all a matter of trying to make the reader believe that what he or she is reading is real, actually happened — even though, of course, it all came out of my imagination.
Author: Mary Gaitskill
Condition of Mr. Segundo: Feeling triumphant over hepatitis.
Subjects Discussed: Emotional mood and writing, Marin County, horticultural details, decomposition and decay, dichotomous characters and the gray areas of life, unusual character relationships, the conscious design of Veronica’s environments, office environments, the modeling world, maintaining a consistent vision over ten years, rumination vs. urgency in the writing process, Gaitskill’s placid demeanor, distractions, word processors, Francine Prose’s review, ordinary vs. extraordinary narrative, sympathy and didacticism, the text as sympathetic medium between writer and reader, responding to Benjamin Strong’s assertion that Gaitskill isn’t interested in the novel as social or political commentary, ideology, ambiguity, Ayn Rand, favoritism towards optimistic novels, shock value in literature vs. shock value in television, misfits, Irini Spanidou’s championing of truth, and auctorial perception.
EXCERPT FROM SHOW:
Gaitskill: When I’m reading another writer, even if I feel they’re technically accomplished, if I feel they have an ordinary mind, I am often — I wouldn’t say I totally lose interest. But it’s something that I don’t like to see in a writer. It’s almost like you can write about anything in an extraordinary way, not in a showy way. But to write about something extraordinary, I think, is usually to see it clearly.
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Please note: You do not have to have an iPod to listen the show! If you go to the main Segundo site, you can save the MP3 to your lovely machine by clicking on the bat picture or, if you're the kind of person who prefers swinging a bat over clicking on one, we do have a user-friendly interface with many listening options.
Thanks again for listening,
The Bat Segundo Crew