Have you really been working on Damascus for 10 years?



But it’s barely 200 pages.

Well, I didn’t work on it for 10 years straight.  I wrote other stuff along the way.


So you’re exaggerating about how long it took you…

I started it 10 years ago.


But you took long breaks.



Why don’t you just tell us that you’ve been planning it since you were born?  That would really impress us!  Or go with the slant that you’re the world’s first in utero author.

I’ve been working on 3 novels for 10 years.  They’re a cycle.


I guess you expect us be like, oh, if it took him 10 years to write the damn thing, then this li’l book must be really special and maybe we’ll buy you a congratulatory candied ham.

I like ham.


Damascus is the last book in the 3-novel cycle?



Do we have to read the other two first to understand this one?  Is it all just slick marketing?

No, they stand on their own.  You don’t need to know about the others to dig this one.  They cover similar themes and have some overlapping characters and settings.


Wait, how similar are they?

I don’t understand the question.


Did you write the same book three times?  Are you like the literary AC-DC, just rewriting the same song over and over?

Maybe.  I like AC-DC almost as much as I like ham.


Are you dodging the question?

(humming an AC-DC song and pantomiming eating ham)


That’s real mature…

I can’t hear you because I’m too busy enjoying all this ham.


Forget it.  We knew that trying to talk to you was a waste of time.

Ham: the other white meat!!


Ham is pink.

Damascus?  I should’ve titled the book Ham-ascus.


Anything else to say before people just dismiss you as an idiot?

Just this—one man’s ham is another man’s treasure.

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JOSHUA MOHR is the author of the novels Some Things that Meant the World to Me, which was one of O Magazine's Top 10 reads of 2009, Termite Parade, and, most recently, Damascus (Two Dollar Radio). He has an MFA from the University of San Francisco and has published numerous short stories and essays in publications such as 7×7, the Bay Guardian, Zyzzyva, The Rumpus, Other Voices, the Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast and Pleiades, among many others. He lives in San Francisco and teaches fiction writing. Please visit him at www.joshuamohr.net.

One response to “Joshua Mohr: The TNB Self-Interview”

  1. Ian says:

    It’s funny that you talk about AC/DC “playing the only song they ever played” in the first few pages of Damascus.

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