Matthew Parker recently earned an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has been drug- and crime-free since 2002. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he now lives in New York City.
His new book is Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education.
From his Q & A with Cynthia Clark Harvey for the Phoenix NewTimes blog:
You had written a substantial amount of a prose memoir while at Columbia when your agent turned you toward doing the graphic. Exactly how did that happen?Learn more about Larceny in My Blood at the publisher's website, and visit the Larceny in My Blood Facebook page.
I had finished six chapters of the prose memoir and sent them to my agent; I didn't get an agent until I was almost done with my MFA. One day I was with him and showed him six pages of a graphic that I'd done. He took them and said he'd get back to me, but by the time I got home he'd called me four or five times. When I called him back, he said this is what we're doing. So that's what we did. At that time, I'd never read a graphic all the way through except Persepolis. I learned as I went along. I'd send him pages of prose taken from the memoir with stick figure drawings and he edited it, sent it back and I'd work on it. There was a long period of time where I was just working on the graphic, drawing and doing all the lettering by hand and no writing at all. And it drove me crazy, not to be writing. So late at night, I'd write these crazy, ranting op/eds and send them in. None of them ever got published, and after I finished the graphic, I sent off a letter explaining why I had been writing all that crazy stuff.
Much of the book is drawn in a simple style, with the major exception being your portraits of musicians that you admire. Most all of the pictures of yourself are not realistic, more comics-style. Two consecutive frames that really stood out to me were at a highly emotional part of your story. Those two self-portraits are much more representational. Was this a deliberate choice?
In some ways...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Larceny in My Blood.
My Book, The Movie: Larceny in My Blood.
Writers Read: Matthew Parker.