Hello. I’m reporter Michael Klam, and it is my great pleasure to interview myself for The Nervous Breakdown. I was told by the mighty Rich Ferguson to read the other self-interviews on TNB, but I didn’t. My ego is far too big for that, cosmic big, not like the cosmos of yesterday (we are the only galaxy, etc.) but “Kepler huge” like the infinite cosmos with all of its bits of dust and muck that barely fit into the pinky toe of my self-awareness and enlightenment.
Woah, woah, woah! Hello? Editor Michael Klam checking in here: Was that last sentence a run-on? Should I fix it? Should I consult Strunk and White? I don’t think it makes sense.
No, just leave it.
OK, so where do we start?
Reporter Klam, again:
Why haven’t you written a novel?
I write poetry. And vignettes. Why did you ask that question? Are you suggesting that I haven’t done enough?
Jesus, man, go easy.
Your mother will be pissed that you took the lord’s name in vain, and that you haven’t written a novel.
Oh that’s just not fair. I love you mom.
Hey, this is Michael, the surfer, can I ask a question?
Sure. Jump in.
Did you remember to rinse your wetsuit and hang it on the mulberry out front?
It’s wadded up in the trunk of the car. It’s going to cook in there all day and smell like feet and fish and low tide.
You kind of like that smell though, don’t you?
Not really. Do you have a real question?
If you were to write a novel, what would it be about?
Man, let it go!
It would be about me, actually. “Infinite Cosmic Ego” or “Michael Klam, The Novel” would be the working titles.
It would be about Poetry & Art at the San Diego Art Institute and all the drunken madness, poets puking and crying and pumping verse all over the champions in the audience who manage to sit through three hours of genius and drivel and bullshit and truth.
It would be about the kids: Anya who carries her mother’s loving smile and grounds me and keeps me warm and focused on home; Henry the dancer and his award-winning hip hop, top rock, body contorting breakdance; Emma’s laughter and her drawings, her words, her wisdom, her reminders for me to relax.
It would be about Jennifer who puts up with me–Jennifer who I love more deeply than myself, which is a very difficult thing to do. Lots of work and apologies and rinsing the dishes and using cash instead of the credit card and saying NO to Guinness #6.
It would be about the surf, waves crashing against the rocks. Costa Rica, the trip through the banana fields in the back of a smuggler’s truck at a hundred miles an hour, covered in black ants and then the rain pelting down between cracks of lightning, certain that I would die. Or about the hammerhead shark that breached next to me on a solo trip, and how on the way back through the jungle I watched a farmer throw a pig into an alligator pit.
Hey, do you mind if I ask a question?
Sure, but you might want to say who you are.
It’s Michael, the teacher.
Oh boy. Fire away, comandante Klam.
All this third person shit is driving me nuts. Are you sure you want to carry on with this? What if people read it? And, by the way, you have completely, exhaustively belabored the ego bit.
Ay, maestro! Is all that harsh rhetoric and doubt good pedagogy?
Oh, you betcha. A little brutal honesty is good in the age of rainbows and cupcakes. A bruised ego might just teach you more than having a bloated one.
Can I ask you a Common Core question?
If a duck leaves LA at 2 p.m. traveling at the speed of unicorn sauce, what color is 222 times purple?
That’s easy. The answer is frijoles!
You are correct, sir! Nicely done.
Can we get back to the interview now?
The Nervous Breakdown.
I had three of those today.
Right, who’s next?
Michael, the poet.
(Collectively) Oh shut the fuck up!
I will ask my question or the stars will fall!
Whatever. Go ahead.
Why haven’t you written a novel?