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.

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 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.