Friday, July 6, 2007

Ben Tanzer

What To Wear During An Orange Alert? recently interviewed Ben Tanzer, author of Lucky Man.

One exchange:

OA: Who are some of your biggest literary influences?

BT: This is such a good and tricky question, how do you separate influence from inspiration? I will leave that up to someone else to answer, what I will say, is that Jim Carroll and the Basketball Diaries was one of my first great inspirations and remains one of my long time inspirations. He was writing about a world I couldn't believe existed and he wrote it in such an evocative fashion. It killed me, really killed me. Another book in that vein was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, and to ever write anything that wowed me like that would be very cool. There are influences though for sure, Raymond Carver and his ability to create this very clear and fully realized world all his own, Alice Munro for sure, I see both of them sneaking into my short stories, Elizabeth Crane as well, and Junot Diaz. Lynda Barry's novel Crummy made me want to read like few other books and I read all the time, and most recently Don De Grazia's novel American Skin and Haistyles of the Dammed by Joe Meno made be believe I could and had to write a novel on the one hand, but also that I can't set the bar high enough. Similarly, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Jimmy Corrigan - Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, and Scalawag by Steve Lafler, all of which are graphic novels, are books that make me think anything is possible if you can just picture it. Finally, and this is not meant to be snarky, but the songs and writing of Bruce Springsteen and The Ramones are touchstones of mine when I write for sure - keep it simple, keep it clean, and tell a story, loudly if necessary.
Read the entire interview.

--Marshal Zeringue