In December 2012, rob mclennan tagged Michael to participate in a blog tour.
Michael answered the following questions:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Kafka and Picachu.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Lost in the wilderness of the 21st century, the author seeks a declarative sentence.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Long. Ongoing. Intermittent.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Following loose thoughts, browsing a second-hand book store, I recently bought titles by Ivan Klima and J.G. Ballard. Also, I feel drawn to re-read Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums. Post apocalyptic existential angst might be what I’m trying to resolve here.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I want to write like a dissident. This is a new formulation of an old thought. I want to find a voice that undercuts mass culture. Also, it needs to connect with the ancients. I want to speak human-level, individual truths, simultaneous deep joy and grief. Not simply avoid the net of mass culture but unweave it.
Marilynne Robinson said it well in her Paris Review interview:
“The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world. The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow. We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of this, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege.”
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
In May 2012, my beloved wife, Kate O’Rourke, passed away from breast cancer. I won’t say “following a two-year struggle,” because it was a two-year period of revelation. But of course it was a struggle. Following Robinson, it was also a privilege, and there is nothing that I do now that means anything except to honour her, her memory and legacy and especially her honest approach to life. I walked with her to the edge of the void, and it changed me irrevocably and in ways I have yet to fathom. I am trying to write new fiction, and collate work that Kate did, blog through the experience of grief, and try to capture the truth of living through disease and death, all while parenting two step-children. I see a book at the “end” of this process, if there is an end, if there is a process.