Interview with Big Bruiser Dope Boy
February 24, 2022
MM) Feds on Vacation seemingly alludes to a sub rosa conspiracy to repurpose cultural/social/political movements for advancing an agenda. To infiltrate and hijack fifth column style, sabotage grassy knoll style. A kind of noir/pulp paranoia informs a sense of doomer dread and personal loss. On Vacation seems to mean almost undercover. What in your mind is the relationship between superstition, paranoia, magical thinking and the cutthroat “serious business” world of letters? Do writers have delusions of grandeur? Is the scene full of mysteries? Who’s pulling who’s strings? What is your zeitgeist diagnosis?
BBDB) I don’t know what the relationship between those things and the writing world is. I don’t know what writers have. I don’t have much contact with the scene and there’s no mystery to me because I’m not interested in knowing anything about it. I’m minding my business at all costs. Realitymaster pulls the strings. I don’t feel there to be any zeitgeist and I don’t care to comment on the times.
MM) A sense of urgency and velocity, of shambolically coming alive and into being, attends these poems. What visionary pangs possessed you to bundle them together as one heat-seeking missile pointed straight at my heart?
BBDB) I stayed up all night and put the book together while my parent was in the last few weeks of an illness.
MM) Tell me about the infinite cartoon.
BBDB) It’s mostly just about what happens when something happens and you think about it. I’ve already said too much. It can’t be like this all the time. It’s just as much about what you do when the cartoon isn’t fully showing itself to you as it is when it’s time to go wild with it.
MM) Raunchy depravity, blustery blowhards, loose cannons. Funny dudes. Alphas. These are your narrators, your voices if you will. Being full of nerve and giving no fucks can be alienating to people and attractive for art. Why is almost every writer such a toothless milquetoast then? Ought we not to be living more artistically?
BBDB) I don’t know why writers x or if x is generally true. There’s no explanation really, it’s just people. I’m not anybody to say how we should be living. I have my own ideas about how I should be living or how I’m trying to live and that’s my business other than I’m working on living better.
MM) Let’s talk about pain. These days, are you finding yourself partial to catharsis or relief? The raw pain you’re reckoning with hurts me, the reader. I recognize parts of myself in these pages. You’ve been places I haven’t gone. Why?
BBDB) I’d say these days I’m finding myself partial to whatever brings me back to fully living in the moment with as little extra pain as possible. Why do you recognize parts of yourself in my writing despite you not having been to places I have? Is this one of the “gonzo” questions you warned me about? People recognize parts of themselves in hobbits.
MM) An unhinged sense of humor chases the venom. Laughing and crying are expressive of absurdity, hilarity and rich melancholy. To straddle the comical and gravely serious, there is an eclectic array of styles you dispense with here. Are you a natural performer? When it gets real, is that an event? Are we all cameras?
BBDB) I can perform, if that’s what you mean. I’m 31 years old and I don’t think about this shit but there’s probably natural ability combined with cultivating/practicing that over time, which is like a lot of things. I don’t know what those last two questions are asking but I take “it getting real” as something that is said/thought when some kind of reality disrupts things and you’re confronted with it. I don’t know if that’s an event or if it’s more of an event than other things that happen. I don’t know if we’re all cameras but I think that question is in reference to a line in the book which is “our body cameras are recording.”
MM) You’ve been published by various presses. Each time it is a major crossover event, because you are your own known quantity. You have a strong personality and reputation but these days you’re keeping it pretty low key. How has your current station in life brought you here now?
BBDB) I’m traumatized and working through grief and dealing with mental illness and I don’t want to have contact with the writing world in the way I used to. I’m trying to heal and become whole. And I don’t think that’s so special or anything, it’s just the path I’m trying to be on. I mean, I know I’m missing a lot of important tweets by some of our finest thinkers, but it’s a sacrifice I’ve had to make, and despite talking a bunch of shit over the years, the work has always preceded everything else, so it’s not a big deal and I’m going to continue doing things.
MM) In your time spent writing and living, have there been any revelations that point you to where you’re headed now, existentially?
BBDB) Impermanence is swift and whatever you think is delusion.
MM) What are you presently working on? Will there be a new novel? A new life pursuit?
BBDB) Yeah there will be a novel. I’m branching out in different ways. I’m looking to be of service and I’m going to try to work with young people.
MM) Is it necessary to tell the truth to be a good artist?
BBDB) It’s necessary to tell the truth to be honest. Making quality art is necessary to being a good artist. Like, you don’t tell the truth to make good art. You tell the truth to tell the truth, because you should. If the art is good is a whole other mess and people have their own ways of determining value.