Lindsay, how annoyed is your father that you named your book Daddy’s?
Well, smartypants, the truth is that Daddy’s isn’t named after or about my dad, nor is it homage to him; however this didn’t stop him from informing me that I needed to make sure to tell everyone that he’s “the one true Daddy.” So I think he’s secretly titillated, maybe even proud, at the thought of Daddy’s being a thinly veiled tell-all about my childhood or my relationship with him. He hasn’t read the book; once he does he may regret that statement, after he stops barf-weeping that is.
Why the f did you name it Daddy’s then?
From the beginning, featherproof and I were looking at the book as an object, a commodity, and we were really concerned with packaging—we wanted the book to be about more than just the stories, like the book’s packaging could tell a story just as much as the stories inside it. And there are a number of weird fathers in the book, and Zach Dodson and I were kind of spitballing titles back and forth, and one of us said “Daddies?” and then we looked at each other and said No, Daddy’s; that possessive apostrophe did a lot of work—it claimed and announced and offered, all at once.
So then the book is Daddy’s tackle box?
Right. And that tackle box is full up with Daddy’s stuff—there are hooks and there are “hooks,” know what I’m saying?
I’m kind of embarrassed for you. Nonetheless, what kinds of “hooks” can readers expect to encounter in Daddy’s?
I think there’s something for everyone. You like stories about giant jealous babies? Ghost dogs in the desert? Anorexic bullies? Masturbation? Competitive eating? Serial killers? Sex and loneliness? If so this is the book for you.
I hear you’re working on a novel now. I also hear you’re no good with plot. That’s probably not going to end well, right?
I have my fears. I also kind of don’t want to worry about all that and just write something that is fun and exciting for me, because I think that excitement is transferred to and shared by readers. But yeah, I was informed by a professor at one point that I’m good at imagery but terrible with plot, and I could hear the bells of doom clanging out of her throat, but over the years I’ve learned that you can just do whatever you want and everything ends up fine.
Is that why you write, then? Because it’s the space in which you can do whatever you want?
Yes. It’s where, if I’m successful at the story or paragraph or sentence or word level, I can surprise and scare myself.
Speaking of being scared, your reading voice is a lot different than your actual voice. Can you explain what that is all about?
Man, I don’t really know, other than the voice I read in seems right for the story at hand. I think a large part of it is that I want people to listen, I want them to feel, and the only way I’m going to achieve that is to become the story while I’m reading it.
That sounds…are you fondling your collection of crystals right now?
I don’t have a collection of crystals.
Right. I knew that. So is the voice that you read in the same voice that you write in?
I think it’s an approximation maybe. A lot of my stories start with a first line I’ve been carrying around for a while, and that line dictates the voice and the character and the atmosphere and the cadence. I can try to get there when I’m reading to an audience, but it’s impossible to do that all the way. I keep coming back to this idea of cadence—it’s important, I think.
Didn’t you want to name your daughter Cadence?
No, I wanted to name her Carnation, after the Crayola crayon named Carnation Pink. I was also 7 years old at the time.
That’s way funnier. So, what inspires you, even if it’s an inspiration to rat your hair? In other words, what kind of shit are you into, even if that shit doesn’t affect your writing at all?
I think everything affects my writing in some way or another. But here goes: I have a shameful love for murder/crime shows like Wicked Attraction and 48 Hours Mystery. Keith Morrison is my spirit animal. I love scary movies and violent books. The Drive-by Truckers (the song The Deeper In, wow), Cap’n Jazz. Football. Edward Gorey. Dogs, all of them. The circus. Freshly baked cookies. Mexican food. Folk art. Rap and metal and country music. Putting Rs in words (“sark my dark”). Lately, TV theme songs. And I can’t tear my eyes from the sky.
I feel 13% closer to you now. Okay, final question: if George Lucas were to option one of your stories for his new all-hologram movie studio, which story would you want it to be?
Definitely “That Baby.” There’s a lot of material there that I feel confident George Lucas could interpret in really exciting ways. For one, the film adaptation is just screaming for lasers and an alien jug band. And I mean, a 4D rendering of Levis, the baby in that story, complete with baby boner and beshitted diaper, would really show all those idiots in high school who called me a freak, right?