Indie-Lit Pop Quiz, our new weekly interview series, gets the skinny on independent writers, from their creative process and views on pop culture to their must-know cultural and artistic references for your personal arsenal. Check out our pop quiz with the prolific man of many literary hats, Michael J. Seidlinger, below.
Michael J. Seidlinger is the writer who never sleeps — or at least it seems that way. An author of multiple novels (three of which were released last year), Seidlinger dedicates himself to writing every day with “no exceptions.” On top of his impressive output, the maniac writer also runs one of the most notable indie presses out there today: Civil Coping Mechanisms. He’s also the book reviews editor over at Electric Literature and quite the whiskey connoisseur. Don’t believe he can do more? According to his website, he’s been “a painter, sculptor, vocalist, bassist, DJ, professional boxer, game designer, car washer/detailer, short-lived drifter, and mover/construction slave.” Again, the guy’s insane, and I don’t know how he hasn’t keeled over from doing so much in such a short time (he’s only 29 years old). His latest book, Messes of Men (Lazy Fascist Press, 2015), is a double feature with Lemon Heart by Matthew Revert. Seidlinger already has another book planned for release later this year, and God knows he shows no signs of slowing down. With such an astounding résumé, we had to give him our pop quiz to see if actually does anything other than writing.
Read his answers below.
1. What was the last book you read? Did you like it or nah?
Fantasy by Ben Fama. Loved it. Absolutely top notch stuff. Fama’s got his own idea of what poetry can be and he’s showing us some of those possibilities in the book.
2. Thoughts on David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen?
3. What are your writing habits?
Write every day, 1500 word minimum. No exceptions.
4. How do you party? How often?
It used to be every other day, now it’s maybe twice a week. Whiskey mostly.
5. Any writer you want to give a shout out to?
Porochista Khakpour for her tireless support of indie lit as well as literature as a whole. She has written a modern masterpiece, The Last Illusion, and is consistently vocal and supportive of writers in the community. We’re all in this together and Porochista is proof that some of the best people around are in this community.
6. Last show you went to?
Wilson, a hardcore band from Chicago.
7. Band you’re currently obsessed with?
More like currently listening to: Widek, Sithu Aye, a lot of post-metal, chillout/chillwave, mostly because I listen to music mostly while writing or editing and I can’t concentrate if the music has a lot of vocalwork.
8. Last time you made a mixtape? Who was it for?
9. Unknown band you think everyone should know about?
You heard of sleepmakeswaves?
10. As you get older, do you care more or less about discovering new music?
It’s been the same. Music is essential, something I need constantly.
11. David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman?
12. If you could have one TV show be put on Netflix, what would it be?
What’s on Netflix right now? I don’t subscribe to “the Flix.”
13. Can anyone compete with Kanye West? Can Kanye compete with Kanye?
Kanye the person has been defeated by Kanye the brand. The brand has conquered anything he can ever achieve.
14. Last movie you saw? Did you like it or nah?
Faults. It was a surprise; nothing special, but the acting was excellent and the narrative had a nice, albeit prototypical, twist during the last act.
15. Greatest film of all time?
Greatest? Fuck if I know. Fuck if anyone knows. A movie I love? I’ll answer that one: Rewatched the Coen Brothers film Barton Fink the other day. It reminded me of how great of a film it is.
16. Is it really worth it to be a writer? What would you rather do instead?
Yeah, but only because I feel my best when I’m writing.
17. Which Internet friend are you most proud of?
Matthew Revert. One of the best dudes around, seriously, the guy is a genius — true Renaissance man, and the internet made it possible given that he’s based out of Australia.
18. Any words for the haters?
Are you tired yet? Hating something is exhausting.
19. Should every writer’s goal be, ‘be more like Stephen Dixon?’
Every writer’s goal is to maintain the drive to write — be it inspiration or something else, that part’s up to you — but don’t aim to copy someone else. Write for yourself and never forget why you bothered in the first place.
20. If the Internet were to shutdown tomorrow, forever, would life go on or would you be in a hopeless state of panic?
It would go on. It would be tougher to remain in contact with certain people but things will be fine, slower, simpler, like a Sunday on social media: cool breeze, nice cigar, barely even there.
Interview by Trevor L. Sensor. Follow him on Twitter @trevorsensor.