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 Bwog’s Diana Clarke:
Bwog: How did you decide to tell your story in graphic form? Did that come about alongside the initial narrative, or afterwards?Learn more about Larceny in My Blood at the publisher's website, and visit the Larceny in My Blood Facebook page.
Parker: It came afterwards. I was writing a prose memoir while at Columbia, and only got an agent my last semester. I was doing a little cross-genre—a little drawing. I got breakfast with my agent one morning , and showed him my drawings, and by the time I got back uptown, he’d called six times. He told me “Drop everything, this is what we’re doing.” I knew nothing about art, and I had to teach myself as I went along. I don’t know if you noticed, but the drawings get better later in the book.
Bwog: Were you at all influenced by naïve art? I kept connecting your drawings to Paul Klee’s work—the urgency, shaky lines, childlike overwhelming swirls of color, and figures reduced to their simplest forms. Do you think there’s something childlike about the limited scope of an addict, and were you trying to convey that?
Parker: I’ve never heard of him, but a lot of addiction counselors will tell you you stop maturing when you start taking drugs, and I started taking drugs when I was 13, so… I’m a pretty good artist but I’m more of a copier. I didn’t figure out how to do it right until about halfway through, when I started taking pictures of myself in the poses I wanted. I just found out that’s how...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Larceny in My Blood.
My Book, The Movie: Larceny in My Blood.
Writers Read: Matthew Parker.