Q: Why lonely men?
A: “Only write about what you know.” –Hemingway
Q: What does Brea or Tar mean?
A: Brea is Spanish for tar. “La Brea Tar Pits” is Spanglish for “the tar tar pits.”
Q: Is that significant?
A: The city is literally undercut and interwoven with a river of death that bubbles upwards in a constant flow. Vast prehistoric life was buried beneath Los Angeles where it became tar. It has oozed through the surface time and time again. This feels like the best way to describe a Los Angeles that has been enchanted by fame, fortune, youth and power for so long that it has forgotten its origins, its true and lethal self.
Q: Are all of the 39 stories related to tar?
A: Only in the metaphorical sense. Each story in Brea or Tar captures a lonely man struggling with the tar we all carry within—ego.
Q: Is the book contemporary?
A: Partially. It covers a wide swath of time from prehistory to the inevitable post apocalypse. There are all sorts of whirls and twirls including cuckoldry, gun violence, half-baked yarns about Ritchie Valens, homeless lovers, uncontrollable stink, super meth, Rodney King and, of course, U2.
Q: Is it entirely fiction?
A: No, everything herein exists on an uncertain spectrum of fact. Everything is rooted in archival actuality. Some stories delight in exploring what could have been. Certain stories are absolutely hard-boiled non-fiction. Just like the city itself, the boundaries of reality are stretched thin in some places and layered thickly in others.
Q: How big is the book?
A: It’s a 6 x 9 monstrosity that checks in at 459 pages. Relax, it reads quickly.
Q: That’s a long book. Could it have been shorter?
A: Should a book about a sprawling city be tidy and neat or expansive and diverse?
Q: Did you just answer a question with a question?
Q: What are the themes of this book?
A: The ultimate illegitimacy of desire. The murderous undercurrents of ego. The solitude inherent to this place. The concept of Los Angeles as South—be it an American, global or frontera South. The balance between philosophical exorcism and violent impulses. The tragedy of isolation and the glory of demise.
Q: Are the stories connected?
A: Some are and some aren’t. Think of the book as a constellation or a Rorschach Test. I know what I intended to create, but the interpretation is entirely up to you. Inevitably, the reader will find what they want to find.
Q: Did you design the cover?
A: No. Summer Woodward designed the cover with strong influences from old bar fonts from the mid-20th century. Jileen Hohle created the mosaic of chapter images that run throughout the book.
Q: It physically feels heavy. Can I just get it on a kindle?
A: I asked Blue Trimarchi at Artworks Fine Art Publishing in Highland Park to make it feel weighty like the old Bukowski Black Sparrow books, because that’s how Los Angeles grime fiction should feel. It should weigh you down. This isn’t The Secret. Maybe someday you’ll be able to buy it as an E-book, but for now you’ll have to content yourself with its bulk.
Q: Who were your influences in writing this book?
A: Walt Whitman, Timmy Turner, Annie Dillard, Edgar Alan, Herman Melville, Charles Bowden, Schopenhauer, Kandinsky, Robert Del Naja, Paul Landacre, Jelly Roll Morton, Holst, the Replicants, JMW Turner, Gang of Four, Drab Majesty, Steve Roach, Sandanista! by the Clash and all the assorted inventory of effects that come standard with late capitalism.
Q: What exactly is a Mercator Rejection?
A: A Mercator Projection is a common map of the world that forces a spherical object to be rendered as a rectangle. The result is a grotesque distortion of the fringes perpetuated to privilege the center. The Mercator Rejection denies similar social cartography and its cultural corollaries.
Q: What if we were offended by something you wrote?
A: Out-write me, fuck yourself or both.
Q: Can we buy a Skid Row Reader?
A: No—stop asking.