|Posted on December 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM|
Remember, we tried to warn you, but where this guy is concerned, it's no holds barred. (I think that's a wrestling term )
1. Where is the best place for you to go to people-watch?
In a tall tree with a pair of binoculars just outside the window you’re peeping through. Not too close. Pick a tree close enough to see, but far enough that you won’t get caught.
If you’re not the adventurous type, the mall is a really good place to go, especially for a parent. A mall play area or a park is great. You're people-watching skills can also double as pedophile-detecting powers. I also like any kind of event: a fair, a carnival, or if you can get to a demolition derby, run, don’t walk. That is some fantastic people watching.
2. Do you base your characters on real people?
There are some that have the pleasure of being born from actual people. For example, ”Seven Stages" started out that way – based on friends of mine, maybe a little of myself - and then went into all sorts of bizarre areas and there ended up being no trace of reality whatsoever. There are a couple of stories in Puppets Shows - and these are the ones that are my personal favorites - in which, in my head, there’s a character who is W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx. Way to make myself sound 100 years old! I won’t say which stories. We can make a game of it. Read Puppet Shows and guess which character is Fields and what character is Groucho. The winner gets absolutely nothing.
3. You write about a superhero in your book. Who is your hero?
We all know who people say the true heroes are: firefighters, policemen, soldiers, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, The Green Hornet, The Blue Blazer, Hiro the Japanese train from Thomas & Friends. But there's one group of heroes who don't get any kind of recognition, certainly not from the movie studios today. I don't know who producers think Mariah Carey, the Foo Fighters and Bonnie Tyler were referring to when they sang about heroes, but to me it was these guys, the protectors of the city of Good Haven. I'm talking about the Mighty Heroes.
I'm talking about Strong Man, with his southern accent and jet-propelled punch; Rope Man, the dock worker who always gets tangled in himself; Tornado Man, the meteorologist with the wheezy voice; Cuckoo Man, my personal favorite, the bird shop owner who changes in a cuckoo clock in lieu of some silly phone booth; and Diaper Man, the ginger infant who will knock super villains out cold with his baby bottle. These guys, and I pay homage to them in Puppet Shows, are my heroes, and have been since I was a wee lad.
4. In hindsight, many of us find that our writing was impacted by our schooling. What was your favorite assignment in high school English, your least favorite, and the one that affected you most?
My favorite assignment, or the one I can remember anyway, was in eighth or ninth grade a teacher asked us to write an essay making fun of something (Which today sounds ridiculous. You don't make fun of something! That's bullying!). I wrote about The National Enquirer. The teacher read it in class and some kids laughed, but this one girl accused me of stealing the jokes from Reader's Digest. I denied it, of course, mainly because I wouldn't admit to stealing, but also because I had actually stolen the jokes from "Weird Al" Yankovic and watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher. So she was dead wrong. What kind of hack steals from Reader's Digest?
That’s how my writing career began was stealing. I remember writing something for another class that was about cannibalism, the idea of which I stole completely from Monty Python's "Undertaker's sketch." My story was two guys discussing eating one of their deceased mothers: a complete replica of the Python sketch. I had no shame back then.
My least favorite one was we had to do movie reviews, which I hate the idea of writing even today. We had to write two of them, and I couldn't have picked two more forgettable films. One was Mad House, the John Larroquette/Kirstie Alley comedy. The other was Body Slam, a wrestling movie starring Dirk Benedict and Tanya Roberts, along with Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano. I was always putting wrestling references into things I wrote in high school. It's really no different today. I'm actually amazed at how low Puppet Shows is on wrestling references. Readers should thank me for that. My poetry books are chock full of them.
5. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.
They would have to be substantial books that would keep me busy for a long time and perhaps make me want to go drown myself in the ocean. I always think people sound pompous when they bring up James Joyce, but the first two books would be Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. Ulysses I read years ago and always said I'd read it again and haven't, and I've told myself for years I would read Finnegan's Wake and haven't. So, with any luck, I’ll end up on an island with Evangeline Lily and a smoke monster and get to read those.
The third book would have to be the Bible, the author of which, of course, is a bunch of dinosaurs and cavemen. I'm sorry, atheists who want to set fire to hotel rooms for having a Bible in the drawer, but that's what I'd choose because it's the Bible. I might instead choose something by Dave Eggers or David Foster Wallace just so that I know I'll be happy with my decision to throw myself into the mouth of a giant squid. But I'm told that Joyce and God are good island reading.
6. If your writing career was a novel, what would the title be?
Harry Potter and the References Nobody Gets
7. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?
No, never. No one does that. That's why the word "Don't" comes before the saying. You don't judge a book by its cover. Only assholes do that. Come to think of it, I’m sure I have. I mean, it's why book have covers. But who am I? A designer? What do I care what the cover of a book looks like? I'm colorblind and I usually end up scribbling genitalia and pentagrams all over the cover of all my books anyway. But I have. I remember seeing the cover of A Clockwork Orange and being all, “Wow, cool cover! This book must be awesome!” And it was.
8. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?
With the recent popularity of that 50 Shades nonsense, I would love to write some erotica with Ann Coulter. Oh, we would tear up the Best Sellers List!
Michael Frissore is the author of Puppet Shows, a collection of Monty Pythonesque short stories that will keep you giggling all day. His books are available in print, digital and Kindle format. You can find them and some links to purchase them on our website, or on most on-line bookstores.