Monday, 14 October 2013

An Interview With Jacob D. Seslek By Andrew Nonimus

(Artist's rendition of a man who looks similar to Jacob D. Seslek)

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. I am here today to talk to you about one of literary's greatest belated underground achievements. As you are aware about, Jacob D. Seslek was rushed to the hospital after having a heart-attack and died shortly afterwards. Seslek was known for having tenacity in the writing world, having 15 novels under his belt along with 20 collections of short shories, ranging from 15 to 30 per collection. His topics were usually varied such as his science-fiction western piece Forty Soldiers In Saturn, his satirical horror short series Cthulhu In Congress and his steampunk quantum picaresque antinovel Ticking Sideways In Paris. Since then, his most recent book The Man Who Shot Himself Backwards has been receiving countless accolades, being named "a new modern classic", and is currently being created into a movie starring Nicholas Kim Coppola as the lead protagonist. After reading over his acclaimed masterpiece for the seventh time, I remembered that I had met with the man for an interview. In fact, I was one of the only few, if not the only interviewer that managed to talk to him before he passed away. For your consideration, I give you an interview with Jacob D. Seslek.

Thank you for being able to talk to me on such short notice.

Huh? Who the hell are you?

I'm here to interview you, Mr. Seslek.

What, right here? Don't you think that's a bit stupid?

Now, now, I'm the one who supposed to be asking you the questions.

I get that, but can't this wait?

I feel that it would be better for the both of us if we did it right now.

Ugh, fine. Waiter, get my friend here the cheapest thing on the menu and a glass of tap water.

You sure know how to treat your guests.

You're lucky that I could even afford that, buster.

So, please tell me a little about yourself.

Well, alright. I was born in Oxnard, California on August 2, 1966.

Ah, you have the same date as James Baldwin and the year of J. J Abrams. Interesting how both seem to have some influence in your work.

I don't know much about either one of them, but okay. I grew up in a suburb, knew a lot of the people around the area. My best friends were Roderigo and Jerome, we played a lot of basketball and eventually played a little bit of NES when we were older. I had a few girlfriends in high school but nothing really stable. My parents were your typical sort, you know, kind but a pain in the ass when they needed to be. My old man would sometimes be a bit more of a pain, but without him I wouldn't be where I am now.

Fascinating. Did your father's abuse factor into when you wrote about the first boss of the protagonist in The Man Who Shot Himself Backwards who would belittle him but eventually give him a substantial paycheck at the end of each week?

Not really, but now that you mention it, I guess so. There's not much else to that piece of sh-

What about when you spoke about the challenges that races had to face with breaking through society's stigmas, particularly with the friends of the protagonist struggling so hard to achieve their goals?

My friends just had a little trouble with their goals. Roderigo really wanted to get good grades, and Jerome wanted to work with the community. I don't see what so crazy about that.

How about the impact that one of the love interests has on the protagonist, sending him into a spiral of excessive consumerism when he ultimately fails to be with her? I particularly liked the line "he felt as if all that was left was a hollow chamber filled with cold pieces that shattered when he held onto them" before he descends into madness. mean when he had to restock his fridge after he broke up with her? I was just talking about ice in that scene.

When did you start writing?

I was doing that since I was in 9th grade. I really grew to be fascinated by all those authors, from Bradbury to Fitzgerald, so I went along with it. Sure as hell was better than anything else that I had in least that's what I like to thin-

Is that the reason that The Man Who Shot Himself Backwards came to be, as a statement of resentment over a corporate position?

What? No! Having a desk job is aw-

Awful, I know. It's so powerful how you portray such a message, particularly with the protagonist waking up in a bed soaked by whiskey, turning the alarm away as he catches a faint reflection of what he's become. do know that he was hosting a party and someone spilled it on there? Plus, anyone waking up after such a crazy night isn't gonna have fun listening to that alarm.

Then how do you explain the reflection?

Someone drew dicks on his face, that's not something you want to stare at.

Wasn't that supposed to signify his possible bisexual nature?

How in the world did you come up with such a conclusion?!

The way the protagonist talks to his African-American friend alludes to this a lot

He saves the guy's life! Maybe it's a bit too much, but you treat the guy that does this with a shitload of respect. There is nothing else to it!

Isn't that counter-intuitive to your progressive message of the inclusion of the world and breaking away from the norm? Or were you using such an approach to deliver an inverted message as biting satire?

Oh god, the fucking book is just about a guy who has a few bad days working at a cubicle! We all have shitty work weeks!

Why do you hold such an aggressive attitude with the public?

Are you being serious right now? You think I'm fucking J.D Salinger here?

Well, clearly you must have it if you're treating me with such scorn.

I'm treating you with such scorn because you're wasting my time about a book I wrote so I could pay my goddamn rent. I spent two, maybe three weeks shitting this out, whilst the rest of my work ends up in the back of libraries. Where's any discussion about Silent Segregations,  a book dealing with urban racism? How about a little praise for the stories in Clutter In Blotters where I spent months making sense of trips I had on LSD. Or about The Fist With An Eye, the epic where people are stuck in modern retellings of Mayan myths? Do you know how much fucking research I had to connect Xbalanque to a man who watches CCTV? No, of course not. But you know what, I wouldn't mind that so much if you at least got what The Man Who Shot Himself Backwards was really about.

You mean to tell me that there is an alternate interpretation of a story you wrote?

Goddamn it, it was about striving forward, even if shit looks bad. At first I called the book that because it was cool, but then when I wrote the end, it made sense. Instead of the gun killing him, it just threw him back to the wall. And when he is knocked back, he sees his tie and sighs, looking to the ceiling, realizing that eventually it would be all right. Sure, his acts almost got him fired, but he still had good times and he recognizes that.

I thought that scene was him finding how inevitable it was for him to escape a career he hated and having to eventually march for-

Shut up! Look, I don't know why you came here, but I hope that neither you nor The Man Who Shot Himself Backwards become household names.

(This interview was conducted by the Pulitzer-Prize winning literary critic, Andrew Nonimus)

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