13 Questions with Willie Smith

by HST UK on June 2, 2012

Honest Publishing is putting out some pugnacious books. The kind you wouldn’t want to read in a dark alley. Although, you probably couldn’t read them, unless you had a light, but then a light in a dark alley draws attention, makes you vulnerable, allows you to be hunted. Alas, I digress; HST spoke with Willie Smith about his new book ‘Nothing Doing’.

HST: Willie, ‘Nothing Doing’ contains stories written over the last thirty years, there is however a consistency in style, and storytelling, it is genuinely difficult to tell which stories were written the earliest, can you chart your own development as a writer, or were you just naturally good?

I started writing, as best memory serves, at age eight. My first efforts were dystopic political satire. By age ten I had branched into efforts at more or less conventional sci-fi. Porn happened at age 22. A few years later, the threads wove themselves together. Little has changed since.

HST: The book contains many stories which showcase a variety of cruel and downright odd behaviour shown towards animals and insects. Please tell me that you never tortured your pets like a Serial Killer might’ve done in their youth?

I was a very good little boy. I got straight A’s. I trained my pets rigorously. Sometimes my pets died. To a creature, they were always loyal to me. I would never have left them to rot in Stalingrad, but given them freedom of action and expected them to break out within a week of their encirclement on 11/20/1942. Two things to bear in mind: I write fiction, and “their” does not agree in number with “a serial killer.” You see: I was a nice little boy, but I grew up to be nothing more than a snotty, cranky old asshole.

HST: ‘How Everyone Came To Put On Their Coat’ reminds me of an extreme episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’. What inspired the story?

I had always wanted to write a story about a coprolite dildo. I write with music in mind and I have always liked the overtones of “coprolite dildo.” Then one day I took a rather large dose of an over-the-counter mixture of ephedra, kola nut, vitamin B-complex and various other simples and additives called Chromium Dextrate. I then sat down to my Smith-Corona portable and “How Everyone Came To Put On Their Coat” ensued. Yes, I know: “everyone” and “their” do not agree in number.

HST: Is ‘Short Subject’ based on a real life bromedic experience?

What does “bromedic” mean? You see, I’m not only a snotty, cranky asshole; I am sometimes into the bargain a stupid asshole. “Short Subject” is based on my experiences of sitting around forty or so years ago with various collections of similarly-minded fools while watching television and doing nothing. As a side note, I was born on Johnny Carson’s birthday. We are both Scorpio-Libra cusps, meaning we are mentally imbalanced and will each die with a hard-on; well, I guess Johnny already did. Like Johnny, I am also a combination of magician and pokerfaced comedian; Johnny just made more money at it than I do.

HST: Despite many of the stories looking back over a warped childhood, I get the impression, that really your formative years were quite uneventful, and this has allowed your imagination to go wild, creating a distorted sense of nostalgia, is this assumption accurate?

Yes. I was a very decent child. I always closed the door before jerking off. Before emerging from the bathroom I was ever careful to run the hot water and silently count to fifty, to convince anyone listening that I was duly washing my hands. All my life I have had a deathly fear of soap. When I first realized the world was made almost entirely of bullshit, at about age five, I kept religiously quiet about it. Except when darkening a page with my efforts at exposing the truth to myself while striving elaborately to hide it from others.

HST: So, talk to me about your relationship with Honest Publishing, who approached who, was the editing process a smooth ride?

I think Honest approached me, all done by email. But I could be wrong; I’m an old man, senility is just around the corner and, like Buck Mulligan, I only remember with confidence ideas and sensations. I was of course deeply honored and flattered. These days, not even the sorriest of streetwalkers approach me. The editing process was smooth as what happens eight hours after a good hearty cup of senna tea. I sent them about twice as many stories as they chose and I am immensely pleased with both their selection and their arrangement of the material. Say nought of the cover, which is all their doing. The two-headed dog looks so intent, so eager, so about-to-discover happiness. Alex Chilvers, the artist Honest employed, not only hit the nail on the head, but drove it right through the skull on down into the medulla of my heart. I’m extremely happy with the job Honest Publishing did.

HST: The first two stories you sold were pornographic, what are your thoughts on the current state of the Adult Entertainment Industry, what effects does the easy available access of porn have on the male psyche?

The very best part of sex is pleasing one’s partner. Achieve that miracle and all else will follow. As for the Adult Entertainment Industry: like any other industry it is corrupt, disgusting, greedy, unfair and inhumane. And like any other industry, like capitalism itself, it is a necessary part of human nature. We are not nice creatures. No creature is. Cute, yes; all creatures are cute; but even the koala bear rapes the eucalyptus. Having uttered all this platitudinous crap I should like to conclude: keep it legal, keep it out there where all who want to can see it. Our prisons are already crammed with sufficient nonviolent inmates.

HST: Whilst many of your peers were no doubt turned on by rock n’ roll and rebellion, you developed an interest in classical music, what composition started this love affair?

I cannot go a day without “classical” music. My father was an alcoholic high school dropout obsessed with this music, mostly 19th Century Romantic symphonies and operas. I remember being about four years old sword fighting with an imaginary opponent in the livingroom while Tchaikovsky’s ROMEO AND JULIET OVERTURE roared on the Victrola and Dad raged about the house swearing at the top of his lungs, slamming doors and threatening to leave the family without a dime. I lusted after every note in Dvorak’s NEW WORLD SYMPHONY and in Rimsky-Korsakov’s SCHEHERAZADE before enrolling in elementary school. In my adult life I have settled on the Baroque. I’m listening to an Albinoni oboe concerto as I type this. Bach and Vivaldi are my preferred drugs, but I also treasure works like Corelli’s LA FOLLIA, Purcell’s RONDO from ABDELAZER, Mozart’s ADAGIO AND FUGUE in C minor… don’t get me started. I am a European-American. This is my music, this is my roots. I could not imagine life, much less writing, without this music. Mais, quand même: De gustibus et de coloribus non disputandum est.

HST: How essential is it for a writer to have worked several shitty jobs as a source of inspiration for ideas?

I have no idea. I have ever but through the sweat of my brow come to bread. The Bible got that right. Shitty jobs come, shitty jobs go. One survives, one writes. Raymod Carver had what looks like from the outside a cushy job: creative writing teacher at some state college, and you won’t find a better writer in America. Proust never worked a day in his life; you won’t find a better writer in Europe nor all the Russias. Shit happens. One either cleans it up or leaves it behind.

HST: As a visitor, and later a worker in public libraries, does it concern you that in your lifetime it is possible that the printed book will be all but dead, replaced by screens, bright shiny expensive flat gadgets containing all the information you will ever need?

Wrong person to ask. I am not digitally savvy. I understand “kindle” no longer means starting a fire; I’ve heard predictions that someday soon we will all be putting our dicks into the cyber equivalent of a light socket and the ladies will be inserting sophisticated palm-pilot-cum-cell-phone dildos into their virtual twats; I also understand the world is going to end around the middle of this coming December. I remember reading in a respected news magazine in the early 60s that by 1980 the world’s oceans would likely all be dried up. I suspect books will be around not quite as long as oceans, but almost. But what do I know? I’m just a cranky, stupid, snotty old fuck.

HST: If a School would have you, then would you ever consider teaching Literature again?

School work is dangerous. The young ladies try to rape you, maybe even the young men. That said, teaching Literature does seem like rather a comfy scam; I’m sure I’d get paid better and get the same or better benefits. Plus I’d get to lord it over young people, boss them around, rot their minds, distort their lives and invite them to line up to rape me. Worse fates could be imagined.

HST: In another interview you referred to yourself as a “peace queer” during the Vietnam conflict. How active were you in the protest movement back then? Can you recall any anecdotes about the veterans who returned home in one piece?

I was not active at all. But I did not then and do not now believe in killing people. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against the death penalty, I’m not against war (being against war is like being against upright carriage: war is an essential part of human nature). It’s just I don’t personally want to kill anybody, or even strike another human being; I mean, hey, when you do shit like that, you only get your hands dirty, right? I have never in my long, disgusting and regrettable life ever struck, or otherwise practiced violence upon, another human being. Merely to consider the prospect makes me shudder with revulsion. To mix, in a distinctly nonsexual manner, my karma, my fate, my weird, my kismet, my actual FLESH with that of another human being – yuck, how filthy! My cousin was a paratrooper or something in Vietnam. He died about ten years later in front of his TV, overdosed on methadone and smack. The Vietnam War started in America, the Vietnam War ended in America; it is now, at last, almost finally over. America won. Once again, as with the Indians, America defeated the Americans.

HST: Finally, what next for Willie Smith?

Locking more oxygen into C02. Polluting more potable water. Consuming more available food. Waiting for the Reaper. Avoiding whenever possible sin. Wondering why in the hell I can’t get over suicide being the only real sin. Slapping plastic… darkening page after page… all who read this may the gods bless.

http:// www.youtube.com/wsmith49

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

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