Awful Interview: Joshua Ware

20 Jan

Josh Ware is mysterious. This is the last known likeness of him, it was created on June 3, 1983. He has a line of black hair, yellow skin, blue eyes, and one red lip which smiles. His feet start near his knees and he has abnormally large hands. He will be reading at the next Solar Anus reading series in Atlanta at the Beep Beep Gallery this Saturday, January 21st at 7:30 in the evening. He has a book Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley from Furniture Press Books. If you abbreviate the title of his book it looks like this: H2H2H2C.

Tell me a bit about your sunglasses. Do you wear them often?

First, my apologies for the delayed start on this interview; I woke up late and then had to walk Olive. Anyway, as far as my sunglasses are concerned: well, I purchased my first-string pair at a sunglass kiosk in the Cherry Creek mall in Denver for $16 (Several times, in fact, as this particular brand cracks easily in the heat). That’s important to me because I break or lose sunglasses with great frequency, so I avoid pricey models. I also like my first-string pair because they have large lens and wide frames. My cranium is abnormally large, almost caricature-like, so a smaller pair would make my head look even larger (Gabe Bacon used to call me “Waretermelon” in high school because he thought my head was the size of a watermelon). Finally, the lens are polarized so everything looks more vibrant; it’s kind of like, when working with an image in a photo-editor, over-saturating the colors so it appears to be in technicolor. A technicolor world is much more enjoyable than a non-technicolored world; I find nothing redeeming about absolute realism. O, the other thing is that overhead, fluorescent lighting affects my eyes in a very negative way, so I need to wear them if a room is illuminated in that manner. My second-string pair of sunglasses are gold-rimmed, rectangular-shaped aviators. I purchased them at a Family Dollar in Lincoln, NE for $6 on a walk during the Spring of 2010. While they’re not good enough to be first-string pair (the lens are a bit too small) they come in handy when my first-string sunglasses are lost or broken. The thing is, the stems are so thin, I thought they would bend or break easily; instead, they’ve been surprising resilient. To answer the second part of this question, yes, I wear them often. Of course, I realize that people usually consider sunglass-wearers (especially when inside or at night) to be assholes; so, I’d just like to take this moment to say that I’m not an asshole.

 I feel as if I stumbled upon the perfect first question for you. You’re quite the sunglasses connoisseur. Have you ever considered freelancing as a sunglasses consultant? Sometimes I see people with sunglasses on and think they could have made a better eye-wear decision. You could really help with that.

Recently, I rescinded the final semester of my funding at University of Nebraska and moved back, at least temporarily, to Denver, which means that I have officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. Given my recent joblessness, I’d considered just about any form of employment. Freelance Sunglasses Consultant (FSC) sounds much better than Male Prostitute At A Truck Stop (MPTS); I mean, the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease is much lower in the former of these professions than it is with the latter. Also, I could probably work from home as a FSC, whereas I’d be hanging out in a lot of dirty, interstate bathrooms as a MPTS. Sure there’s a certain charm associated with a truck stop bathroom (given all the zany graffiti on the backside of the stall door’s and whatnot), but there’s more downside to that profession than upside.

What other professions have you considered entering? Do you have any secret talents? For instance, can you juggle?

In a perfect world, I would be a two-guard or a small forward in the National Basketball Association with a skill-set modeled after former Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Ron Harper. Genetics, sadly, put a quick end to this career aspiration. I find this to be one of the great tragedies of my existence. While in Nebraska, I’d try to keep my skills sharp by playing hoops with some other poets, such as Trey Moody, in case an NBA franchise came calling. I’ve always been a strong defender, rebounder, and do well scoring in the post, but over the past few years I’ve also honed my mid-range jumper. If I could add a more accurate 3-point shot to my repertoire, I’m quite certain that I’d be unstoppable at any level of play, regardless of my height.

I think, perhaps, I also would have made a fantastic astronaut; I know this because I love space ice cream. As a child growing up in the Cleveland area, my grade school would often take us on field trips to the NASA Glenn Research Center. In the souvenir shop, small, air-tight bags filled with dehydrated, Neapolitan ice cream were sold; I’d purchase loads of those things and gobble them up, almost instantly. I think, for the most part, people hated it, claiming it tasted like cardboard; but the fact that I enjoyed them so thoroughly seemed to indicate to me that I was destined to be propelled into outer space on the top of a giant missile filled with rocket-fuel. This, of course, never happened either. Maybe writing poetry has been a way for me to deal with my failures as an astronaut and a professional basketball player.

As far as secret talents, I feel as though I excel at small talk; this isn’t so much a “secret” talent, but it’s a talent nonetheless. Far too many people discount the ability to talk to strangers, acquaintances, business contacts, etc. about mundane or inane subjects with no goal other than to fill awkward silences. Small talk, I believe, is the foundation of Western Civilization and should be honored as such. Why this has not yet happened is beyond me. Eventually, when small talk does take its rightful place in the pantheon of talents and skills praised in our society, people will finally understand that I can contribute something to our culture and the general well-being of humanity. Until then, I will slave away in obscurity.

With your skill set though, if you were to make enough small talk with people about small talk’s importance, don’t you think over time other people would make small talk about you and your small talks on small talk, and then eventually you would become 1. notoriously talented at small talk 2.small talk would gain importance and therefore maybe even 3. You could be a spokesperson for small talk. Like Jared Fogle for Subway?

Sorry for the time lapse; I had to swing by King Soopers to pick up some Airborne, Ricola, Hals Mentho-Lyptus, and firewood. I came down with a scratchy throat and nasal congestion the other day. Coupled with the always eventually fatal entitilitus I contracted from Ronnie Fucking Dobbs, the past 48 hours have been trying.

As for actively championing small talk for the sake of advancing both its stature and relevance, well, we’ll see what happens. As for Jared Fogle, I’ve never been a fan; although, I salute Subway for retaining Michael Phelps as a spokesperson after the whole bong-photograph scandal. It’s important that multinational corporations not shy away from hiring recreational drug users to appear in their advertisements and marketing campaigns. I mean, that’s an entire, mostly untapped demographic that ad agencies and marketing departments have neglected for decades. I have to believe that there have been innumerable late-night food runs to Subway by stoners of all-ages simply because Phelps appears in those commercials.

I agree, the Phelps endorsement + the $5 foot-long campaign have a really strong appeal to stoners, especially college kids. How big of a fan of Mr. Show are you, on a scale from 1-10? Have you watched The Increasingly Bad Decisions of Todd Margaret?

The first two seasons of Mr. Show are genius, and I don’t even believe in the concept of genius, which makes my assessment of those seasons all the more amazing. To that extent, on a scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m a 9.23 for the first half of that series’s run. Seasons three and four are solid, but not as spectacular as the first two; thus, for the second half of the series’s run, I’m a 7.18.

I’ve never seen The Increasingly Bad Decisions of Todd Margaret, but I do love Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, which Bob Odenkirk (I think) produced. Heidecker and Wareheim are so disturbingly funny, not to mention hyper-intelligent. Although, my favorite sketch from Tim and Eric is the Pussy Doodles sketch featuring David Cross. And, yes, Will Arnett (who, from a quick Internet search, appears to be the other lead in The Increasingly Bad Decisions) and Cross are brilliant in Arrested Development, particularly the second season.

What makes you not believe in ‘the concept of genius’?

“Genius” seems to be a self-aggrandizing concept that is a hold over from the Romantic period and employed today by those wholly insecure with the fact that any artistic creation is a confluence of influences and sources in perpetual relation with one another, manifesting themselves within an artwork. If anything, I like what Gertrude Stein said about “genius,” which is: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” Maybe she meant that sincerely, but I’m hoping she was being ironic; no doubt, she thought herself a “genius,” though. A direct correlation, to my mind, exists between “nothing” and “genius,” in that the former is the definition of the latter. Of course, I don’t believe in science or Netflix either, so I could be wrong.

I met a girl in college who didn’t ‘believe’ in napkins. She had ranch dressing on her face. She wasn’t being ironic and it was a little disturbing.
Your disbelief in ‘genius’ is not disturbing.
Name five reasons people should come and hear you read on the 22nd.

Although I feel much shame that, it appears, I was just compared to a ranch-dressing-faced hippie you once knew, I will still answer your final question:

1. For starters, I’ll be reading with Jeff Alessandrelli. In addition to being a fantastic poet, Jeff has the rugged but casual good looks of a Hollywood star (similar to Tom Jane) that women and men alike swoon over. He may also wear a Biggie Smalls tee-shirt, which would be an added bonus.

2. Door prizes, such as macramé braclets and a ½ pound bag of cocoa nibs.

3. I’ll read all my work in an effected voice, much like that old recording of T.S. Eliot’s recital of Four Quartets.

4. There’s a good chance that either Jeff or I may “freak out”; you can interpret “freak out” in manner you’d like.

5. Glad handing, back slapping, and much ballyhoo will be had by all who attend.

One Response to “Awful Interview: Joshua Ware”


  1. Laura Straub’s END O’ THE YEAR list « Vouched Books - December 21, 2012

    […] Interviews that still make me laugh big and large:  Joshua Ware, Michael Nye, Matt Bell, & Nicholas Tecosky (who still owes me an arm […]

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