Karl Koweski interview
You seem to have exploded onto the small
press scene. A couple years ago,
nobody would have known who you were, but now all the editors
of "the small
mags" talk about your work. Were you hiding out in a basement
craft and planning your world domination?
I've never had a game plan. I've always
enjoyed writing and for the last
ten or so years I've harbored the delusion that one day I'll
actually make a
living doing it. I was relatively sure the talent was present;
until I got married almost five years ago, I lacked the discipline.
could not write if there were a bar open. I sent out mostly poetry
though I wrote mostly short stories. Only within the last year
have I begun
sending stories out regularly. Fortunately, in the small press,
writers are much rarer than poets; there's less competition,
easier to make
a name for yourself.
The characters in your stories are so hilarious.
Are these based on your
friends, or strangers you just see down there in Alabama?
Actually, most of the people I've met in
Alabama are normal to a fault.
Growing up just southeast of Chicago, though, everyone had some
psychosis threatening to bubble over. Sometimes that person was
Sometimes it was the girl I was dating. The story "Dope"
I once dated an unfortunate woman with terribly lopsided tits.
mostly, I just make shit up as I go along.
What kind of stuff do you read to your
daughter (how old is she), and what
age will she have to be before she can read your stories?
Gloria is four. And she will never read
my stories. Ever. Unless I can
stop writing about my penis. That said I'll never take a book
hand, though I don't look forward to the first time she grabs
a Henry Miller
book off my shelf. In the meantime it's Powerpuff Girls, Scooby
anything with pictures. She likes to make up her own stories
with the pictures. She shows more imagination than I ever have.
Is your wife a writer? What does she think
of your stories?
No, Marie doesn't show much interest in
writing. She'll read my stuff every
once in a while. She asks too many questions. She won't ask things
"Was Keith really a chronic masturbator?". She'll ask,
"When did you date
this girl with the lopsided tits?" or "Did you really
do that to her?"
Sometimes the line between history and fantasy is so blurred
I don't know
the difference. Try explaining that to your spouse.
I don't want this to sound like a high
school questionaire, but where do you
see yourself in ten years?
Ideally, I'd like to see myself with a
happily married, healthy, my daughter
still making me proud. I'd like to publish my novel... after
writing it, of
course. I'd be damn content just getting my ass outta the factory.
Who are your favorite writers?
Nelson Algren, Andrew Vachss, Jim Thompson,
Hubert Selby Jr., Hunter S.
Thompson, James Ellroy, Stephen King, Irvine Welsh, Clive Barker,
Is Playthings a "guy's book"?
I don't think so. I think it's accessible
to anyone on the dope. Any guy
who's ever sat around a room with three or four friends wondering
hell are all the women can relate to these stories. Women will
stories regardless of how misogynistic some of the characters
because the sorry bastards always get what's coming. Most of
Which actor would play you in a movie about
My wife, Marie, says Nicolas Cage. I lean
toward Gary Oldman, with Mickey
Rourke playing my role during the obligatory sex scene. Then
there was that
time a old girlfriend and I went up to that remote cabin in the
thinking Bruce Campbell...