margaret_wappler_neon_green

This week on the Otherppl with Brad Listi podcast, a conversation with Margaret Wappler, author of the debut novel Neon Green, available now from The Unnamed Press.

 

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1991

By Matthew Aquilone

Memoir

I had the chance to kick Gregory Corso to the curb. Could you blame me for mistaking him for a homeless man who had wandered into the gallery that afternoon? He had on a more than well-loved down jacket, one side hopelessly stained with what I hoped was coffee, and beneath it the left pocket had been completely torn away, exposing the white stuffing inside. He had barely a tooth in his head by that time, and his hair was matted as if he had just woken from a Rip Van Winkle sleep. He appeared in my tiny office, mid-sentence. I didn’t hear “hello,” or “what’s your name?”; maybe the world “lunch” was in there somewhere. Standing, I hoped to encourage his departure. I had grown up in Brooklyn and had had my share of experiences with street people. No direct eye contact was an important dictum, one that applied equally to madmen as it did to babies and dogs. Be firm and say little. Shut it down, and fast.

Lately, I’ve been getting back into The X-Files. That show hit its popularity over here just as I was starting to work my first job as a paperboy, so it was a great time to be spending a lot of time riding around darkened suburbs with no one else around.

Goddammit, Chris Carter. You had to go and create Tooms and the Flukeman, didn’t you? Those were the worst two ever.

Anyhow.

In honour of Nick’s latest piece and some work that Greg has been doing, I personally would like to tip my hat to that show. It made for great viewing, and there’s something about revisiting its early-1990s aesthetics and camera work that makes me feel very much at home.

Remember when this was a feature of every magazine everywhere?

It’s easy to forget how huge that show was. Everyone wanted to sleep with either Gillian Anderson or David Duchovny, and sometimes both. And being an FBI agent just seemed like the coolest job ever, unless that damn Cigarette Smoking Man took care of you first.

Aliens, werewolves, psychics, conspiracies… science and magic and myth, all rolled into one.

And it made for some damn fine television.

A main character in my upcoming novel* has feeble short-term memory. His pockets spill over with scraps of paper covered in scribbled notes like tattoos on the leathery arms of an aging biker. A minor character fills her study with bound books chock-a-block with the lists of her daily life.

I’m not a list person, although I often write notes to myself. In the car. In the bathroom. But in a way maybe these notes are lists — things to remember, events by which to gauge time, yet not in list form.

My book deals with memory, history, and the chronology of a life whose gaps are filled by the most unlikely sources.