James Tadd Adcox is an authority figure. He once punched a t-rex in the jaw. He’s the editor n’ chief of Artifice. He writes good words that you can read all over the place, which is how you may have heard of him. On Sunday, July 24th he’ll be reading at this little shindig known as the VouchedATL launch reading.
This is my first ‘awful interview’, you should know that. So I’m going to pull out my ace in the hole first if that’s okay with you: If you were a candy bar, James Tadd Adcox, what kind of candy bar would you be, and why?
What’s that candy bar that Steve Almond is searching for in Candy Freak? The candy bar that he remembers from his childhood, that he had like once? That may or may not exist? A Maravell? Something like that? A ghost candy bar. A candy bar marked by its own absence.
That or whatever candy bar Ghostface would be most likely to promote.
I think it was a Caravelle that Steve Almond was looking for. You mean Ghostface from Scream, right? Not Ghostface Killah?
Hm. If it’s an option, I’d like to say that I mean both.
Would you ever consider ghostwriting Ghostface Killah’s autobiography? What if Ghostface Killah turned out to be Ghostface? That would be so meta.
For my birthday a couple years back a friend of mine gave me The World According to Pretty Tony, written by Ghostface Killah. I’ve read it a couple of times. It had some pretty good advice in it, about like how you need to eat properly if you’re going to keep hustling and also some things that you can eat that would enable you to keep hustling. It also pointed out at one point that cocaine will make you shit, which I didn’t realize. There was a CD that came with it that was basically just Ghostface Killah reading the book, which is pretty nice if you want to look at the pictures and have Ghostface read to you.
I didn’t realize he had written a book! That sounds absolutely lovely. What other kinds of books inspire you? Also, would you say his advice about cocaine directly influenced your work in any way?
He said some stuff about not effing up Mother Earth that I think I’m still working through, like conceptually speaking, I guess. As far as other books go, I’ve found that when I’m working on a project, I like to go to the Harold Washington Library, which is the big one downtown, and check out more nonfiction books about the subject I’m writing about than I could ever possibly read, at least before the due date, and just kind of gorge myself on them. I think of it as stuffing myself, overeating. I end up with all of these random scenes and bits of dialogue on the scraps of paper I’ve been using as bookmarks.
When I’m reading fiction I really like dead Russians and Germans and dead or dying Americans. In the last category I particularly like the postmodernists or experimentalists or whatever you want to call them from the sixties & seventies. I keep going back to Donald Barthelme. And then it took me a really long time to get around to reading David Foster Wallace, and I kind of thought that I was going to be “meh” when I did, but I ended up really loving him. The Incandeza filmography in Infinite Jest is one of the most fun things I’ve read in a while.
Would you like to say anything to people who think that our reading on the 24th may just be “meh”?
There’s that one .gif animation that was a meme for a while, of a little rolly cartoon guy striding down the street, exuding confidence in said stride, and the words “Haters gonna hate” in a little thought bubble coming out of his head. That. Not just the “haters gonna hate” part, the whole animated .gif. Like, if I could learn the underlying 0’s and 1’s that made that .gif up, and just spout them off at someone. That’s what I’d say.