You have to write all the time. And when you’re not you need to be thinking about it.
You’re often linked with Barth, Pynchon, Vonnegut, and others of that ilk. Does this seem to you inhuman bondage or is there reason in it?
They’re all people I admire. I wouldn’t say we were alike as parking tickets. Some years ago the Times was fond of dividing writers into teams; there was an implication that the Times wanted to see gladiatorial combat, or at least a soccer game. I was always pleased with the team I was assigned to.
Zines have been super-important to both of us in our lives. We both, in different capacities, work on the internet, so the idea of it being this tangible thing — and something we could spend time on… All of the essays, including our own, went through multiple rounds of editing. We worked on it the way you would work on a book. I think the fact that it was a print publication added to our seriousness of coming out with a real finished product.
Okay. I would say this. Stories don’t work that way really. They’re like jokes. They follow a secret pattern of the person telling them. For instance this joke… (I will now tell this joke.) There is a man. He is drinking at a bar. A voice inside his head says, “Quit drinking.” So he quits drinking. The next day the voice says, “Quit your job and sell your house.” So he quits his job and sells his house. He feels free and changed for the first time in his life. The voice returns a few days later and says, “Go to Vegas. Bet all your money on red 17.” He goes to Vegas, bets the money. The wheel spins, the ball bounces, the ball does not fall on the number specified. He has lost everything. The voice whispers, “Ah fuck.” That’s how you tell stories.