Tuesday, December 31, 2013

INTERVIEW: BRUCE HODDER


Name. Bruce Hodder. "Bard" to my family & friends.
Age. 49. The numbers are getting surreal.
Location. Northampton, England. Home of Alan Moore, last resting place of James Joyce's daughter Lucia and the woman who shot Mussolini.
How long have you been writing? I wrote a thirty-three page revenge Western called "Blood Lust" when I was seven. So quite a while.
Do you have a specific writing style? I don't think so. I just go down whatever dark/bright healthy/perverse alley my mood wants to take me.
Do you write as a career? I've never made more than about two pounds in a year from writing, so no! It's more of an existential or scatological function.
Do you write full time? I don't write full time, but I do write all the time.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Getting several poems in the Crossroads Press anthology "Other Voices" was my most conspicuous achievement, but the thing I'm proudest of is a long poem called "The Ballad of Jack the Bastard."
What is your ultimate goal as a writer? To keep writing, to keep getting better and to write one sentence with enough truth and music in it to last forever.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Fortifying myself against everything that calls me away from the pen and the page, like having to get food money from somewhere.
What projects of yours have recently been published? I've been self-publishing a lot recently, just sticking stuff on my own pages for anyone who wants to find it and then moving onto the next thing. Been writing a lot of rhymers and it's hard to find a market for that. But someone said he was publishing a poem of mine called "Trayvon" a while ago. And you can see a couple of essays by me at the Empty Mirror website.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I'm in the middle of an essay about casual labour in the UK. I've been doing some to pay the bills and I want people to know what it's like.
Where can we find your work? Apparently a surprising amount comes up when you google my name, although be advised: I'm not a former New Zealand rugby football coach. I don't keep a publication list or anything like that. I don't always know if I wrote a poem either, which pissed off a guy recently who was trying to prove something that was supposed to be mine had been plagiarised.
How often do you write? Every day, in my journal if nowhere else. Been keeping one for three decades.
How do you react to rejections? I fucking hate them! General writer-wisdom says it's okay, you can't win 'em all, it's their loss etc. But every one crushes me to fine powder. After two days, though, I have usually managed to convince myself that the editor who passed on my work is an arsehole. After a month I can frequently see their point.
How do I react when one of my submissions is accepted for publication? I feel ludicrously good until I see the thing in print. Then I become self-critical and wish I could change everything.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? It's better if you're crazy. So is the writing.
What is your favourite book? So hard to pick just one. My favourite books of last year were "Exit Nothing" by Pat King and Frank Norris' weird, ugly, violent "McTeague."
Who is your favourite author? Richard Brautigan
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? The "I" in my journals when I was in my twenties. Nothing was really the way he wrote it. I'd like to push a cold pizza in his face to get him back for all the things he did to other people that it's too late now to undo.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Facebook.
What is your favourite word? Flapdoodle. (See P.G. Wodehouse.)
What makes you laugh? Being attacked by my girlfriend after she read a book about women and class by Angela Davis the other day was pretty funny.
What makes you cry? I cry alot. I once cried while washing the dishes and listening to "Johnny B. Goode" because the guitar riff was so perfect.
What is your preferred drink while you write? Thick black sugar-less coffee.
Beach or mountains? Beach.
Cats or dogs? Cats.
The Beatles or the Stones? The Beatles. But I love Keith.
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? Shakespeare, I’m afraid. I still admire Bukowski’s poetry and writing, but it doesn’t speak to me the way it used to. Is that heretical? Who cares?
Personal website/ blog. SUFFOLK PUNCH http://shoetownsurrounds.wordpress.com. Links there to other pages.
Facebook profile/ page. Look me up. I’m the one with the Ned Kelly helmet on.
Twitter profile. Look me up. I’m the one hugging a tree.
Books for sale and/or press. No, but if anyone wants to do a book, we’ll talk.
Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals? England is a beautiful small country still suffering a hangover from its days as the imperialist scourge of peaceful indigenous peoples everywhere. Since 1979 it has been engaged in a weird attempt to become the ultimate citadel of laissez-faire capitalism while holding onto its feudal values about social organisation. Trade unions and the welfare state have been dismantled, the gap between rich and poor is so wide no daredevil on Earth could jump over it, the pursuit of money is now the only value recognised by mainstream society as respectable and yet the second chamber at Westminster is still filled with unelected lords and ladies. Who swear fealty to a monarch in a million pound hat. Work that one out. On the plus side, we have great football, great writers, great poets and great bands. We also have a wonderful multi-cultural community. Even if half our citizens hate foreigners.


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