Mark Z. Danielewski
by Ian Cruz
August 25, 2006
1. House of Leaves has had to be the most abstract/artsy book I’ve read in the sense of the layout of the book. What can we expect from Only Revolutions in the layout of the book?
Narrow and wide. Always rightsideup though you sometimes have to turn the book upsidedown. Green, gold and violet. Brash, bold and violent. A möbius strip. A highway of words. Spring on the run.
2. Where do you find your inspiration to write this book?
There were two teenagers I came across years ago. Homeless, parentless, incredibly impudent. They had nothing going for them but they still said they were gonna have it all. They were divinely in love with each other. They looked after each other, cared for each other, watched over each other. Some folks I spoke with claimed they eventually pulled their lives together and got jobs. Others said they took off across the country. Others heard they’d even gotten married. (And maybe they were talking about the two I knew. Or maybe they were talking about some other wandering teenagers. Or maybe we were all talking about gods.) The only thing I know for sure is that one day I walked by the corner where they used to hang out begging for change and they were gone. Long gone. Like they’d never been there to begin with.
3. What was it that made you want to become a writer, and when did you start writing?
I don’t really know. It all happened long before I was born.
4. How much research do you put into your writing?
I don’t research at all.
5. Is there any music you listen to while writing, and if so let’s hear what you’re listening to?
Anything and everything my sister Poe has written or happens to be working on. And right now I’m listening to an advance copy of Danny Elfman’s SERENADA SCHIZOPHRANA out in October.
Add to that this morning’s Billie Holiday, Bach, Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT, Earl Hines, Chris Cornell’s overlooked EUPHORIA MORNING, Nino Rota, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Bruce Springsteen’s “Reno” on DEVILS & DUST, Tool’s 10,000 DAYS and we’re not even starting to get there.
6. Have you ever thought of releasing your own “On Writing” type of book?
Didn’t I do that with HOUSE OF LEAVES?
7. Has there been any talk to release more copies of The Fifty Year Sword or to have it published along with other short stories?
Not so far. At some point though I’d like to record an audio version of T50YS with five performers. Maybe put it out there on Halloween. We’ll see.
8. Who is one of your favorite characters that you created?
I love them all though they don’t all love me.
9. What are a few of your favorite books/authors?
Lewis Hyde’s TRICKSTER MAKES THIS WORLD. Georgio Agamben’s THE OPEN. Jorie Graham’s EROSION. Celeste Langan’s ROMANTIC VAGRANCY. David Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS. Sarah Vowell’s ASSASSINATION VACATION. Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT. Thomas Pynchon. Cormac McCarthy. Brad Telford. Gary Trudeau. Bill Watterson.
10. House of Leaves was said to have taken 10 years to finish. With that being said, how long did it take you to write Only Revolutions?
11. How would you describe Only Revolutions in your own words?
Fast. Exterior. Impatient. A world without homes. Without schools. Without ancestors or progeny. Without the word “in” or “or”. Without even light. Where love submits to all and vanquishes all as it explores the true terror of freedom and time and speed.
12. In a previous interview you said that the film rights to House of Leaves were not for sale. Do you feel that there is no need for a film, or that a film based on this book in particular just wouldn’t be possible and if made it wouldn’t have the same feel as the book did? Would you ever consider selling the rights to any of your other works?
I don’t think I follow. HOUSE OF LEAVES is about a movie and ONLY REVOLUTIONS is already a movie.
13. In music today, bands usually have a strong debut album and when it comes around to their sophomore release they have what is known as a “slump”. Do you think the same could be said about authors today, and if so do you fear the thought of possibly getting a “slump” yourself?
Hailey & Sam are both sixteen. I imagine that makes them sophomores. Why don’t you ask them if they’re slumping. But be careful, I hear they’re extremely dangerous.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I’m chained to my desk and I’m utterly free.