After a few weeks of interviewing and researching, my piece on Joseph Mattson’s Empty the Sun went live today. It was an amazing experience, writing and revising the piece. It started out as a smaller story, and it grew over time. During the process, I learned a ton about L.A. and writing.
For the piece, I interviewed David Ulin and Jerry Stahl. Interviewing Ulin proved to be incredible, because he’s so knowledgeable about L.A. novels. He talked about Bukowski, West, Fante, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others. He seems like a pretty good guy, too. It was an amazing experience. I talked to Joe Donnelly and other great writers, too, about Mattson. It was awesome to be a part of the conversation.
I first met Joseph Mattson at Book Soup, when I was volunteering with Slake. They sent me on all these interviews to book stores in Los Angeles, and Book Soup was my first stop. I interviewed Tosh Berman and Mattson. The pieces never made it out into the public, but it proved to be a great experience. After the interview, Mattson handed me his book, Empty the Sun. That was the first time I heard about the novel. I loved it. The book reminded me of all the great qualities of the novels I loved: “Post Office” and “Ask the Dust.” (I was conducting all these interviews while I was working full time in Woodland Hills at the rehab center.)
It’s strange, because I’m learning to love Southern California more all the time, because there is an incredible literary scene out here. You’ve got The Rattling Wall, Slake, Black Clock, Red Hen Press, Les Figues Press, A Barnacle Book, etc. While I’m not sure, yet, if California is my home, it’s clear there is a lot of excitement here. As if the city is always on the verge of something big — whether it be an earthquake or a cultural movement.
Okay, I’m going to head out on a run with my dog, Hendrix. But it’s been a good week so far. This Friday, I’m going to review the Coheed and Cambria show at Fingerprints in Long Beach, and then Saturday, I’m going to head over to Dirty Laundry Lit. Oh, I think I might have found some more work with another pub out here. Which is all great news. Just need to figure out how to make writing a sustainable life, while keeping my soul. Hope you’ll stay posted.