13 Questions with Ryder Collins

by HST UK on January 2, 2012

Sometimes I get a little carried away when in the company of Gentleman Jack. Before I composed these 13 Questions was probably one such occasion. Thankfully the fantabulous Ryder Collins took my jocular, somewhat drunken inquisitiveness in her stride; we talked a little bit about her rapturous book Homegirl! which you good people should seriously consider buying, or Mama will be awfully disappointed.

HST: Referring to yourself as ‘Mama’ really twisted my melon. It brought back repressed memories of dreadful Sunday morning television, I recall AC Slater referring to Jessica Spano as ‘Mama’ in Saved by the Bell; and also I think of Jacko’s argumentative anthem Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’. How is ‘Mama’ feeling today?

Mama’s feeling fine today, especially since she escaped childhood without ever having watched Saved by the Bell, yo.

HST: Homegirl! is out now, published by Honest Publishing. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read online. I dig the lackadaisical prose; it’s almost post-slacker jive talk. How did you find your narrative voice?

Living in rural Alabama cut off from the world I once knew except for the Internets did it, I think. I blame Alabama. It sure is pretty, tho.

HST: I’m interested to know if you’ve dated a ‘Richboy’ and a ‘Punkboy’?

Everybody wants to know… Mama has dated the men’s who have some of their qualities, yes. Punkboy would be mama’s idealized version of an amalgam of a couple and Richboy, well, I grew up surrounded by privileged white boys, yo. I have never dated anyone who hired a witch off of Craig’s List… that I know of.

HST: Where is the oddest place that you’re written something?

The Rainbow Family Gathering in Kentucky back when mama was a young babe. A naked woman with socks and shoes on kept hitting on mama. Mama does not like the nudes who still wear socks and shoes, ya know?, so mama started writing to block her out. Well, to block the whole experience out, pretty much cos mama was also asphyxiating on the patchoulis and the faux free loves.

HST: From your experiences working in Food Service, would you one day like to write a tell-all Anthony Bourdain-like account of your time in the industry?

No. There are some food service secrets that only food service peeps should know.

HST: I’ve also enjoyed reading your scatological musings (http://www.cricketonlinereview.com/vol6no1/ryder-collins-1.php), and it got me thinking, do the best ideas come from the bathroom?

Mama thinks so. Look at Bukowski, yo. I get a lot of my ideas when I’m in the shower, actually. There’s something about water raining on nakedness…

HST: Tell us about your involvement / interest in the OCCUPY movement, what do you believe the movement can accomplish?

I’m very interested in the stories that we tell ourselves and the stories that society tells us. I think the stories that society’s been telling/selling us have been inhibitive and prohibitive in terms of compassion, passion, identity, sensuality, sexuality, love, art, literature etc. – all the things that make having a consciousness fucking worth it. I’m hoping the Occupy movement can help us tell new stories about how to behave with one another in society. Cos mama’s sick of the judgy hierarchical bull shit that supports and helps perpetuate a corporatized world.

HST: Do you think the biggest enemy to the movement is the harsh winter? Over here I imagine the UK movements will splinter significantly when Jack Frost makes us all shiver?

I think the biggest enemy are the people who think that this is just the way the world is. Or that people not having enough to eat or clean water to drink or shelter is natural and sucks to be them, yo.

HST: What the dickens is a ‘hairshirt’?

A hairshirt is a shirt that monks and other spiritual ascetics wear underneath their clothes as penance for “sinful” thoughts and doings, especially those relating to the body. It is pure angst in t-shirt form.

HST: When chatting to Fictionaut you stated you liked the work of Haruki Murakami. Earlier in the year I finished his non-fiction book ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’. Murakami’s athletic pursuits enhanced his abilities to write, what helps your ability to pin the words down?

Mama’s pursuit of the perfect Manhattan… I also think that writing is a way of re-telling one’s life or re-telling the world. Changing the stories or bringing in new stories. I try to write the stories that I haven’t found that I would want to read. I wrote Homegirl! cos I wanted to read about a woman having sex and being dirty and still having a heart but not being relegated to that story of the hooker with a heart of gold. I want to read about the body & the mind. I want us all to go beyond the body/mind dichotomy & all those other dichotomies that keep us in our places. I love the Gothic genre cos it’s all about the body and how what is repressed will be expressed. So maybe that’s it; my artistic pursuit is to express the repressed, yo

HST: Do you subscribe to Bertrand Russell’s view that “worry and fret and irritation are emotions which serve no purpose”?

No, that seems silly. A little bit of anxiety is healthy.& keeps mama’s moonshine stills from being discovered by the sheriff who lives down the street…

HST: You recently got a rather nice tattoo done, to celebrate Homegirl! What do you like most about tattoo studios – the wasp trapped in a jam jar hum of the tattoo gun, or the pencil scrape sensation of the ink marking skin?

Thanks! Those are both very excellent reasons to like getting tattoos. It doesn’t hurt that a lot of tattoo artists are mama’s type.& that mama likes a little bit of pain.

HST: How do you like your whiskey?

I like to drink it with only a hairshirt on.


If you are interested in answering HST’s 13 Questions then email us: aprilmaymarch777@yahoo.co.uk

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