As you can tell, this is not a Wells Tower interview. This is an explanation of why this is not a Wells Tower interview. Why is this not a Wells Tower interview? I’m glad you asked. Here’s what happened:
Wells Tower was the recipient of the Fred. R. Brown Literary Award at the University of Pittsburgh this fall. In anticipation of his coming to Pitt to accept the award and read from his smashingly lauded book of short stories Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, I wrote to Mr. Tower and asked if I could interview him for Hot Metal Bridge. He responded promptly. “I am hugely honored,” he wrote, “but but you caught me in the middle of an anti-internet period. So I am no longer doing interviews on the internet. At least for awhile. So it will have to be hard copy. Is that okay?”
Since Hot Metal Bridge is primarily on the internet (excepting our amazing Best Of edition that will be out in the near future and which all of you should get!), this presented sort of a problem. I wrote Wells Tower back and told him as much. At the end of the email I, tongue in cheek, wrote “In recognition of our shared punk rock teenager past, I suppose we could always do a Zine.”
As you might imagine, the tongue in cheek-ness went entirely undetected. Wells Tower wrote back. “That is a wonderful idea. Let’s do a Zine. Let’s meet in person and have a conversation and make a Zine.”
So, that’s what happened. On a freakishly sunny day in early November I kidnapped Wells Tower and took him on an impromptu tour of Pittsburgh (fueled by my lack of knowledge of the city) and we had a conversation and some whiskey. We talked a lot about the dangers of the internet, kittens, whiskey, bicycles, Foucault, tombstones, Lydia Davis, beach houses, Samizdat, favorite childhood books, what it takes to write well, punk bands, PDX, writing letters, Iceland, kayaking, having brothers, revising, Post WWII male writers, Amy Hempel, future writing cabins, key lime pie, the love of tiny dogs adopted out of guilt, “The Loss of the Creature,” New Orleans, the history of Zines, Thin Lizzy, chocolate chip cookies….and much more. I wrote it all down, typed it out, cut and pasted it, added original artwork from a wonderfully talented Los Angeles based artist and filmmaker, some clip art, and I old school Xeroxed the thing. The great thing is that you can actually HOLD this interview in your hands, you can read it. It’s awesome.
And it is was easy to get. Check out Michelle Kantor’s gorgeous cover art below. UPDATE: WE ARE SOLDOUT. Be on the lookout for copies available at AWP. For a publicity copy, email Jen Howard at howardjena at gmail.com.
Click the pic to head to our submissions manager: