13 Questions with Adam Schirling

by HST UK on August 11, 2011

Sometime friend of HST, grit Poet and the groundbreaking creator of the website ‘Drunken Absurdity’ Adam Schirling decided to run the gauntlet, and answer our 13 Questions.

HST: Your poetry is written with a knife that cuts through the BS. This is represented well in your poem ‘My Day’…
“I come home from
my boring and mind numbing
job and eat tacos
and drink cheap rum
and wonder what I would be in this
shit world if I wasn’t such a
fuck up”

These words reflect a matter of fact attitude. When you sit down and write do you think to yourself. You know what; I’m just going to tell it like it is?

When I sit down to write, it is usually after a long period of agonizing self-evaluation. The words are literally in my body, bouncing around and causing destruction and chaos. When I finally allow my fingers to put them on paper, they spill out like a broken dam, and I just write almost on auto-pilot for minutes, or sometimes hours, without stopping. So every single line is an exact thought and feeling of mine that is begging to be put out. That makes it seem so ‘in your face’, because I am trying to just express, without pretense, my raw emotions. I compare it to trying to hold a fire-hose when it’s on full blast. The words are flying out, and I am trying my best to guide them in the right direction so that they make sense to someone who doesn’t know me whatsoever.

HST: A number of your pieces make mention of booze. Regarding the history of alcohol as a lubricant for the creative process, do you see the writing as cathartic, but the alcohol the necessary tipple to help accept the truths the words have told?

I absolutely view both the writing and the alcohol as cathartic. Most people drink in order to escape reality, and ignore their demons. I feel that I am the opposite. When I drink, it is to face my most candid and guarded feelings, it is a shield somewhat, that I arm myself with before I open the door to allow the horrors in my subconscious to come out. It is kind of a double edged sword, haha. I know that I need to tap into this river of words that flow through me in order to truly write, but it is painful to allow such emotions to just run rampant. Hence, the booze allows me to control somewhat the sometimes overwhelming nature of the realities I am trying to convey.

HST: I’d like to congratulate you because your short story ‘best friends forever’ is getting published by Macabro Xtreme Publishing, (http://macabroxtreme.wordpress.com/) but please tell me what exactly hardcore horror fiction is?

That is something I am trying to figure out myself, haha. When I first wrote that story about 8 months ago, it was shortly after I had stumbled across examples of splatterpunk flash fiction in various online zines and newsletters. I was fascinated by the genre. If you were to compare splatterpunk to a movie, it would be like Saw or Hostel, movies with overwhelming amounts of gore and gross-out terror. This is very ironic, because I usually despise such movies, preferring the subtle dread of classic horror films like Nosferatu, or zombie gore fests like any of the George Romero works. Flash fiction can be hard enough as it is, with trying to cram an intro, plot, and conclusion into a 1000 words or less, but to add a horror element to that seemed like a challenge to me, and I wanted to prove , to myself mostly, that I was capable of more than just ranting essays and booze soaked poetry.

HST: You are a prolific blogger, some might even say you’re a hungry writer. Which makes sense that you have created Average Bro’s Food Review (http://averagebrofood.blogspot.com/), what culinary delights are likely to get the thumbs up from Adam Schirling?

It would only take someone about a second after meeting me and viewing my 6’5 300 lb frame, to deduce that I love food. I was raised in a family where big family dinners and homemade comfort food was the norm, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered that I have a rather sharp, albeit untrained, palate. BBQ is and will forever be my true love. The patience and sharp attention of detail needed to take a large, rather cheap, part of a pig or cow, and turn it into a delicious meal will always fascinate me. I am rather snobby about it too, haha, with only using natural lump charcoal or whole wood to bbq with at home. But altogether, despite a passion for all food, my main focus as an amateur(and hopefully one day professional) chef is comfort food done with a refined, modern, and gourmet twist.

HST: Tell me about your site ‘Drunken Absurdity’, what motivated you to start up the engine on this underground lit showcase?

Drunken Absurdity was an idea that started kicking around in my head shortly after my very first essays and poems were posted on Alternative Reel. I have always had an inner desire to explore the darkness and seediness of American society, and a love of alternative, controversial, and counter-culture literature. I wanted somewhere that I could feature writers and poets who fit this bill, along with my findings as a tourist of sorts in various underworld settings. When the idea to interview these unique and unusual people that I meet came to light, I knew that I had to move forward and bring exposure to these people for middle-class members of society in a raw fashion.

HST: Your interview with Shelby Devine (http://hstrial-drunkenaburdity.intuitwebsites.com/shelbydevine.html) is extremely candid. I’m interested to know what your immediate thoughts were when the conversation with Shelby ended.

The interview with Shelby was amazing, and took place over the course of a couple hours, and lots of booze, in a strip club. So by the time we were done, I was quite tipsy, and felt almost high from the rush of shocking information that had been recorded. My girlfriend was with me for it, as she loves strip clubs too, and the first thing we did after was get a couples lap dance from Shelby, where the two of them were quite, er, friendly with one another haha. Just recently we went back to the Foxy Lady to see Shelby, and we found out she had gotten divorced again, was homeless for a bit, and was now stabilizing, but again highly addicted to drugs and trying to do amateur porn and working for a new pimp. Right after that, she fell off the radar again, and we haven’t been able to get back in touch with her. We suspect the worst, but that is the nature of the underground.

HST: And another interview, the one with ‘Blaine Maxwell’ (http://hstrial-drunkenaburdity.intuitwebsites.com/blaine.html) is extraordinarily frank. To setup these meetings, am I correct in thinking that you advertise on Craigslist, and also actively pursue your subjects?

The interview with Blaine was unique, in the fact that I had known plenty of gay men, and a few porn actors, but never someone who was a gay porn star. Yes, Blaine contacted me from my Rhode Island Craigslist ad. I post them every now and again just searching for someone with a crazy story to tell. I am never specific about what I am looking for, except for the Woodenleggs interview. That came from an ad I had posted looking for someone who could truly explain to me the horrors of meth addiction. That is a subject I have become highly interested in, because it has done such a number on working class and rural America.

HST: You know what after reading these I think you’d make a damn good counselor. Have you thought of moving into that field of work?

No, not particularly. I don’t know how good I would be at offering people advice in any fashion, my personal life has seen its share of quite fucked up times. I just want to listen and learn, and to share my new knowledge with people who have no awareness on these topics.

HST: Your association with HST began through Ben and Ian, how did you first come in contact with these two luminaries?

Ahh, truly a great question. I first came in contact with Ben Smith after my first essay was posted on Alternative Reel. Bill, the editor at AltReel, had passed along my contact info to him under the clever suspicion that we had much in common and would hit it off. That was an understatement. After the first few initial emails, I grew to be a feverish fan of his writings on AltReel, and his HST blog. In fact, his blog inspired me to create the Drunken Absurdity blog, so I owe him, and Bill, a severe debt of gratitude for where I am currently at with my writing. When I first ‘met’ Ben, I was going through a huge amount of changes in my personal and professional life, and he became someone I wholly trusted to pour out all my thoughts and feelings to. Oh, fuck, that makes it sound gay as hell now, haha, sorry Ben. But it’s true. I grew to know Ian after Ben had launched HST, this amazing fucking site that has become a home for alternative writers and artists the world over. I was very impressed with Ian’s work editing such a fucking sweet website, and became a big fan of his writings as well. It goes without saying that when I launched the Drunken Absurdity site, I just HAD to have these two fucking bros became featured Revolutionaries.

HST: I recently finished reading Will Self’s ‘Dorian’, an adaptation of Wilde’s classic ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Self sets the novel in Thatcher’s decadent 80’s, the spectre of AIDs looms in the background, striking down the unsuspecting. I was wondering what classic novel you would like to adapt in a contemporary setting.

That is difficult to say, so many would make a great transition to modern times, but if pressed I would have to say “The Plague” by Camus. We live in a time of great fear right now, and I feel that novel best portrays the solidarity that comes from living in a place that is gripped with fear from a horrid fate looming overhead. It makes us realize the true lack of control we have over the universe and the relief and almost comical feeling that comes from just accepting the absurdity of the human condition. I feel that in a time when we are so afraid of war, poverty, pollution, disease, and the true fate of our species, such a work would be greatly adaptable.

HST: You make mention a few times of writing ‘The next great American Novel’, this is a two parter. Firstly, what sort of criteria should a book be judged on in order to be considered a great American Novel other than being both American and novel length and secondly what books for you would be contenders in a possible top five American Novels?

I think a great American novel is a work that wholeheartedly captures the national mindset of the time, like ‘The Jungle’ did for the Industrial Revolution, or ‘The Road’ did for the emerging youth counter-culture movement in the post WWII years. It’s a novel that screams out to be adopted as a calling card for a generation of Americans. Top 5 I would have to say: The Road, Tropic of Cancer, The Great Gatsby, Flowers for Algernon, and A Prayer for Owen Meany. The list may seem a cliché list of novels from a high school reading assignment, but there is a reason for that, they are amazing and timeless classics that have made me delve into very intense and hellishly introspective thoughts when reading them.

HST: I’m currently reading my penultimate Bukowski, his novel ‘Hollywood’, like a good whiskey I’m taking it slowly. I see you’re also a fan of Buk. What fascinates me about Bukowski is how he encompasses everything he writes, each word has been lived. How important is it for a writer to be so deeply rooted to their works?

I think it is absolutely vital. Buk makes you feel, with every line, every agonizing thought in his mind when he was writing. You can trust his words, because you know what he lived through. And sure, his misery was mostly self-inflicted, but that does not discredit how important it was to his work. Too many times I find writers on these alternative lit sites, that are just trying so damn hard to convey angst and misery into their works, but if it’s not honest to their nature, it just comes off as pretentious in my opinion. HAHA, but what the fuck do I know, I am a drunk pervert with a shitty laptop.

HST: A while back you made a pilgrimage to Lizzie Borden’s house. Do you buy into the theory that Borden didn’t commit the murders? Would you consider making other such trips to infamous crime sites in the States and even abroad?

The trip to the Borden house was an incredible experience. To be able to tour and view the site of such a horrid crime, and then to actually sleep in the room where the mother was murdered, was fucking awesome. After hearing the whole story in depth and seeing the house for myself, I absolutely believe she did it, and the fact that she was acquitted is ridiculous. My girl and I very much would love to tour the sites of such infamous crimes the world over, and most likely get drunk and have sex in them, like we did in the Borden murder room. We’re classy folks.


If you want to answer HST’s 13 Questions then contact us: aprilmaymarch777@yahoo.co.uk

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