(Lindy is vacationing/being held hostage at NewsBiscuit this week. Before she left, she sadistically decided to repost the Interview from Hell, in its pathetic entirety, for your reading… well, the word can’t possibly be “pleasure.”)
Interview from Hell
Part One: “No Questions. Escape!”
Deer (in headlights). Bunny on the verge (of chewing own leg off). Whole family of possums wiped out (sole survivor won’t last long on her own).
Sorry about that image. What can I say? You can take the girl out of the North Country… but the roadkill remains.
What was I talking about? Oh, yes: how I feel at the thought of public speaking.
Like roadkill. Carrion crows. Baby possum screaming for its mother. Coyotes getting Ugly.
That’s me: Roadkill. Now: Imagine Roadkill being interviewed for your local radio book spot. Picture Roadkill, sitting on her stool, waiting for the on-air light to change. The flies buzz with excitement. The DJ wears a gas mask.
The interview begins:
DJ: “Soooo….. Lindy Moone, you’re back in the North Country, and you’ve written an eBook. Tell us about it.”
ROADKILL: thinks, Well, it’s called “Hyperlink from Hell”, and I could really use one right now. Um, a hyperlink from hell, that is.
DJ: “Is there something wrong with Lindy’s mic? No? Sooo… Lindy, I have “Hyperlink from Hell: A Couch Potato’s Guide to the Afterlife” right here on my Kindle. I see it’s not out in paperback, yet, and it’s self-published. I have read the book, and I must admit it doesn’t come across as one of those crappy, pathetic ‘look-at-me, I’m-a-writer now’ sort of novels everyone seems to be churning out these days. Can you tell us why you decided to go the Indie route, and not hold out for an agent to snap you up? I mean, it’s funny and there’s hardly any adverbs.”
ROADKILL: thinks, If I just shift weight a bit, I might fall off this stool. It’s kinda high; I might break something.
DJ: “You call this book an In(s)ane Mystery — and the ‘s’ in the middle of ‘insane’ is in parentheses. Why is that? What does that mean?”
ROADKILL: thinks, It represents the multiplicity within the book, and that the mystery exists on different levels — in parallel universes, if you will. In particular, it asks the question: Is the “Jimmie” character insane, or just inane? On what plane? And is the reader insane for trying to make sense of nonsense?
but says: “I shouldn’t have had beans for lunch.”
DJ: “Your grandfather was an eminent psychiatrist, wasn’t he? Did you base the God-like character of ‘Al’ — A.K.A. ‘Gramps the psychiatrist’ — on him?”
ROADKILL: thinks, well kinda, but the character is really nothing like my grandfather, unless you count the power of life and death he had as a member of the New York State Lunacy Board. They decided if convicted murderers were mentally competent to be executed.
but says: “I miss my Grampy.”
DJ: “I see… What about the character of “Jimmie” — the emotionally stunted Lotto-winner and Reality TV has-been? Was he based on anyone in, um, reality?”
ROADKILL: thinks, He was based on me, you idiot! They’re all based on me! I’m psychotic! Writers are all psychotic! and starts humming the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island.”
DJ: (reads card handed to him) “We have a mystery caller here, a seemingly disgruntled someone from your past! Before I put him through, fair warning! This fellow says he gave you the ‘mother of all hickies’ under the bridge in high school, but that he never got the credit. What do you have to say to him?”
ROADKILL: “No Questions! Escape!”
Go pee, then read Part Two:
Are you back? Comfy? Let’s continue. And since you’ve probably forgotten Part One already, here’s some exposition:
Author Lindy Moone, hereafter known as Roadkill, is being interviewed for your local radio book spot. Picture Roadkill, sitting on her stool, wishing the on-air light would blow up, that she would fall off her stool and need 911, that someone or something important would preempt her — a sous-chef or tsunami would be nice. The flies buzzing around her are starting to look hungry. The DJ, realizing his gas mask makes things (even more) awkward between them, has taken it off and now has a huge, trademarked glob of VapoRub dangling from his upper lip. So far, Roadkill has only made a minor, festering laughing stock of herself. That is about to change.
After a lengthy commercial break (about, in this order: diapers, tampons, incontinence pads, and how to provide your own funeral services from beyond the grave, somehow), during which Roadkill tried to get out of the booth, realized she was locked in, hermetically sealed, no oxygen, lights fading, gasping for breath…
The interview continues:
DJ: “Soooo….. We’re back with Lindy Moone, author of the In(s)ane Mystery, Hyperlink from Hell. We were talking about the character of “Jimmie” — the emotionally stunted Lotto-winner and Reality TV has-been, who’s either psychotic or on a mission from God. I believe, Lindy, you were about to tell me who the character is based on?”
ROADKILL: opens mouth, swallows fly, chokes out, “Me.”
DJ: “Really? How so? Your readers might be surprised to learn that. Did you win the lottery, like Jimmie?”
ROADKILL: thinks notice he didn’t question the ‘psychotic/mission from God’ part, then thinks she’s saying, I did win the lottery, in a sense. I married a man who made good money — more money than I’d ever dreamed of, although certainly we aren’t wealthy — and I’ve never had to work again. That’s my lottery win. So the book is partly about how unearned economic security can stifle personal growth and ambition. In only that sense is it autobiographical.
but says, “Yeah. Kinda. I dunno, maybe, something about my husband? That’s it.”
DJ: clears throat.
ROADKILL: thinks, ask me something else. Ask me about religion — the Seven Deadly Sins would be nice. Or Alice in Wonderland. Or Bertrand Russell. They all feature prominently in the book.
but says: “Seven Deadly Bertrands.”
DJ: “I see… What?”
DJ: “Alright… Let’s talk about The Seven Deadly Sins. They feature prominently in the book.”
ROADKILL: whispers, “Are you psychic?” but wishes she’d only thought that. Then wishes she hadn’t thought that.
DJ: decides to ignore the whisper. “Why so much emphasis on religion, when you’re listed on facebook as being a ‘Freethinker’? And would you mind defining ‘Freethinker’ for us?”
ROADKILL: relieved to finally get a question worthy of a polygraph test, says, “Yes!”
DJ: showing his patience is wearing thin for this nutcase, reads from his notes, “A freethinker is a practitioner of Freethought, which is defined in ‘Wikipedia’ as, quote, ‘a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason and empiricism and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas,’ unquote. In other words, you’re a skeptic?”
DJ: thinks, but you believe in Psychics?, but says, “But you DO believe in the Seven Deadly Sins?”
ROADKILL: thinks, yes, but not in the traditional ‘sins against God’ sense. I think of them as ‘sins against self,’ much as I think of most of the Commandments as ‘sins against humanity,’ and far-right Republicanism as a ‘sin against sanity,’ but says, “Sure.”
DJ: “In what sense?”
ROADKILL: “I’ve gotta pee.”
Author Lindy Moone, hereafter known as Roadkill, is still being interviewed for your local radio book spot. Roadkill, glued to her stool, thinks this Interview from Hell will never end. She looks at the clock. It’s been three minutes. Time doesn’t fly when you’re not having fun.
The interview continues:
DJ: “Hyperlink from Hell has an unusual format; how did you come up with that — and why?”
ROADKILL: thinks, Well, the book-within-a-book format isn’t unusual, so I’ll assume you mean the use of links/slash/footnotes, but says, “Footnotes?”
Goes on to think, Even footnotes aren’t that uncommon in fiction, these days, but they aren’t always justified. Footnotes should be an integral part of the narrative to justify their existence – and the format must be more than a gimmick, or readers are going to think it’s a maddening distraction. And footnotes are always a distraction, so there needs to be a significant payoff for readers being constantly reminded that they’re reading a book.
Footnotes usually shouldn’t be used in fiction, not if they’re just a way to squeeze in exposition or little nuggets of worldbuilding without slowing the pace — because they DO slow the pace for anyone who chooses to read them. And they’re the epitome of “author intrusion.” In Hyperlink, the footnotes are only used in Jimmie’s part (the book-within-the-book), and they’re from his point of view. Readers are experiencing Hyperlink along with the Director, anyway, so they’re already keenly aware that they’re reading – and they’re supposed to be. If they have that feeling when they’re reading the Director’s narrative, though… that’s bad.
But says, “My bad.”
DJ: “Since you’ve mentioned footnotes… Do Jimmie’s footnotes represent anything, besides the obvious humor they provide?”
ROADKILL: “They could represent Jimmie’s awareness of his ADHD — that he realizes how exasperating it must be for his readers to suffer through all those tangents, and he’s trying to provide relief. There’s plenty of those tangents in the body of the text, anyway – but the footnotes give readers an even bigger dose of his disjointed thinking process. Jimmie can’t turn that process off, but he can try to compartmentalize it. For my own “authorly” purposes, the footnotes ARE a maddening distraction, and they’re meant to be. I want the reader to feel manipulated by Jimmie. I want to reinforce the idea that he may be mad… but that he might just be yanking readers’ chains, instead.”
DJ: caught off guard by Roadkill actually answering — and so long-windedly — says, “Huh?”
ROADKILL: thinks, I’m on a roll, now. Really enjoying this. Don’t even have to pee anymore. I could do this all day!
DJ: “That’s all we have time for. Many thanks to author Lindy Moone!”