benstickerMB: Have you ever heard the song “Ben” by Michael Jackson? If not already, I don’t know that I could recommend it in good faith. At the same time, if anyone could reprise the last line of the song, it’s you, in your voice. (“I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Ben.”)

BP: I love that song so much, not only because of my name, but because it is about a filthy sewer rat. The ethereal flute-like piping of Michael Jackson’s voice is what I wish I sounded like, but I’ve been burdened with a subwoofer that sounds a little like a drunk Darth Vader imitating the ringside monologue of a professional wrestler.

dintytag

MB: Is it possible to estimate how many times you’ve had to explain your name? Where do you find the patience for schmucks like me, pestering you about your name?

DM: The name is more of a gift than a burden, or at least that’s the way I’ve decided to approach it.  People are amused, and when they are amused they smile, and smiling makes them dintypicthink they like me, so I am more popular than I deserve to be.  In any case, I’m asked every three or four days “is that really your name?” That has been the case in adulthood, at least, once I moved away from my grade school and neighborhood.  So, doing the math, I’ve had to explain my name 3400 times.

KambritagWriters are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject.

This week I talked with Kambri Crews, who once lived with her deaf parents in a tin shed in Montgomery, Texas. She now owns and operates Ballyhoo Promotions, a PR and production company in New York City specializing in stand-up comedy. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burn Down the Ground and a renowned storyteller and public speaker. She has performed on The Moth, Literary Death Match and Risk! and appeared at UCB Theatre, Rutgers, University of Texas, Texas Book Festival, University of Oregon, SXSW (South by Southwest), DeafHope, and many other schools, colleges, book festivals, and events.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Peter Geye. Peter is the author of Safe From The Sea and The Lighthouse Road. He used to be a ski jumper. He’s thinking of changing his name to Gunnar. He has three kids, none of them them named Bjorn. He lives in Minneapolis with his family.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Ira Sukrungruang. Ira is the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and a forthcoming poetry collection, In Thailand It Is Night. He is the co-editor of the anthologies, What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The FAT Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2013 Artsmith Writers Residency Fellowship, The Emerging Writer Fellowship, and an Arts and Letters Fellowship. He teaches at University of South Florida. www.sukrungruang.com

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Steve Tuttle. His work has shown up in places like Black Warrior Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Normal School, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Crazyhorse. He lives in Provo, Utah with his wife and two children.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Myfanwy Collins. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Cream City Review, Quick Fiction, and Potomac Review. Echolocation (Engine Books 2012) is her debut novel. A collection of her short fiction, I Am Holding Your Hand, is forthcoming from [PANK] Books in January 2013. Please visit her at: http//www.myfanwycollins.com.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Pinckney Benedict. Pinckney grew up in rural West Virginia. He has published a novel and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story. Benedict is a professor in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and in the low-residency MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Lidia Yuknavitch. She is the author of the novel Dora: A Headcase, a modern farce, and The Chronology of Water. And some other books. She writes and teaches and loves and mothers in Portland, Oregon. “Explicit Violence” will appear in the forthcoming anthology, Get Out of My Crotch, due out from Cherry Bomb Books in 2013, co-edited by Kim Wyatt and Rumpus columnist Sari Botton.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject.

This week I talked to Paisley Rekdal. Her latest books are Animal Eye (Pitt 2012) and Intimate:  An American Family Photo Album (Tupelo 2012).

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week we’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject.

This week we talk to Cheryl Strayed, the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Wild (Alfred A. Knopf), the advice essay collection Tiny Beautiful Things (Vintage Books), and the novel Torch (Houghton Mifflin). Strayed has written the “Dear Sugar” column on TheRumpus.net since March 2010, and she’s a founding member of VIDA: Women In Literary Arts, and serves on its board of directors. Raised in Minnesota, Strayed now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, the filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, and their two children.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week we’ll ask a different writer five questions on the subject.

Lou Beach is an illustrator, artist, and writer. He recently published 420 Characters, a book of short fiction which also features 10 original collages. He inhabits many states of mind but is most at home in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife, the photographer Issa Sharp. Their days are spent hobnobbing with celebrities and the literary elite, heads of state and captains of industry. Lou is debonair, fluid in twelve languages and an expert marksman. He has a Chihuahua and two human children.

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of literature…

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