Umm, okay. This is already starting off like a chatroom session with Chris Hansen and his cadre of creepy “To Catch a Predator” accomplices. But I will take a chance and bite. I go by the name Brian W. Fugett. I am 42 and I am a male with pubes that are longer than his flaccid member from Dayton, Ohio. The manly-topiary maintenance occurs once the summer months are upon us and the HEAT is intolerable. Ball soup is most uncomfortable.
How long have you been writing and do you have a specific writing style?
I have been writing and cartooning since I was a wee-pup. I would have to say that it really sparked between the ages of 12-18. I endured at least 6 panic attacks a day, every day of the week. The weirdest things would trigger them: fluorescent lights, a boisterous voice, a windowless room, or even a simple gesture. And when one hit, it struck like a sudden jolt of electricity. It was like all my nerve endings would tingle, vibrate, stretch, then go numb. My heart would begin to pound, my palms would sweat. The room would spin & everything looked & sounded distorted, as if the barrier between myself & the rest of the world suddenly expanded & contracted. Voices & sounds would seem distant & muffled. It was as if all ambient noise had been sucked into a giant vacuum. Everything would sort of zoom out of focus for a split second, then zoom back in. At that point my senses felt razor-sharp, the slightest sound or movement seemed augmented & amplified beyond natural proportions. Nothing felt real. I felt beside myself, as if my mind had been stripped from my body. After about 10 minutes the entire episode would pass.
It was a terrifying experience. I was convinced I was dying every time it happened. I had no idea what the hell a panic attack was. Nobody did back then. I would try to explain the sensation to people & they’d just laugh at me. My parents didn’t even understand what I was talking about. It was frustrating.
The sensation of dying 6 times a day was emotionally exhausting. So I became very withdrawn & sought refuge in the form of comic books, cinema, & literature. I soon discovered filmmakers & writers like David Lynch & William S. Burroughs who seemed to have tapped into this internalized nightmare world that I felt trapped in. From then on, I had forged sort of a kinship with surrealism & the absurd. So naturally, as I got older, my own personal vision as a writer, cartoonist & filmmaker had been heavily influenced by all of this and has influenced my style of writing.
Do you write as a career and do you write full-time?
I wish I could make a buck or two writing. I mean, I got a damned B.A. in English and spent 2 years in film school on top of that. I feel like I incurred TONS of debt and got a “toilet paper diploma”. First let me address that the “toilet paper diploma” refers to my B.A. in English. Now don’t get me wrong, I value my education. But we all know how worthless an English degree is in the grand scheme of the job market. It has a net value of about $0. Matter of fact, I am inclined to believe that my diploma wouldn’t even be fit to wipe my ass with—could you imagine the paper cuts it would leave on my hemorrhoids? And I hate to say it, but there are a lot of degrees like that. It is unfortunate that a lot of youngsters are brainwashed to think that getting a college education will land them a phat job making mucho dinero when they graduate. But the sad fact is that a lot of graduates will find themselves reeling in a sea of debt (student loans, credit card bills, etc.) while scrambling to find their dream career. More often than not, that dream career fails to materialize & they get stuck working low paying jobs that technically they are overqualified for.
Why does this happen? I am of the opinion that the university setting is too antiseptic; it involves too much theory & speculation that rarely translates well to the present & is difficult to apply to the real world. It is all organized so that we learn what “THEY” want us to learn & we have to pay out the ass for it. Essentially, our education enslaves us in the form of student loans. I think education should be free to all. So if I ever had the misfortune of becoming president of a university, I would address some of these problems by:
- Cutting the # of General Education classes required & replace them with classes that emphasize more hands-on experience.
- Create a setting that is less academic & puts more emphasis on real-life knowledge, the kind that comes from everyday experience & living.
- Allow students to tailor their own curriculum to fit their desired career choice.
How often do you write and how do you react to rejections?
Excellent question! I write and scribble stuff every damn day. I have stacks and stacks of notebooks and scraps of paper recording my thoughts and ideas for poems, plays or comics. I don’t leave the house without a pen and a tiny notebook that might fit in my pocket. Inspiration comes at the most inopportune times. And I take rejection in stride. It doesn’t bother me at all, especially since I have been a publisher/editor for over 10 years at “Zygote in my Coffee and Tainted Coffee Press”. Rejection is a part of the game. You gotta have a thick skin & be prepped for that if you are gonna ZAP your work out there for others to judge. Art is subjective & more often than not, editors are seeking work that will make a good FIT for their rag or vision for the publication. You can’t take it personally.
So, Fugett, what’s with the diaper?
The Diaper? Appears I have become infamous for that thing! I have appeared in it and will continue to for many shows to come. But, believe it or not, I don’t just appear on stage or perform in front of a LIVE audience with that for shock value. It represents being LIVE AND NAKED and exposing your feelings and who you truly are when you perform and read your work. We are vulnerable as kids with diapers and we are also when we become elderly adults when dying from cancer or Alzheimer’s. You just get to a point where you have to be yourself and shake-off the fear of death and personal humiliation & transform it into something funny that makes it a coping mechanism. Ultimately, we all shit ourselves many times in life…
I have seen an entire bar full of people empty out onto the street during one of your LIVE readings... angry, disgusted people. i have also seen an entire crowd go crazy enjoying the show and getting into it. what are you doing up there? is it pre-planned? how does the crowd reaction effect you? or does it?
HAHA! WOW! Yeah, I do have an idea what I am going to read and do! Number one thing I do, is be MYSELF. What you see on stage at a live reading is me. I like to have fun and be the real me. And I dig interacting with the audience, negative or positive. Any reaction is a good one, in my opinion. When folks clap listlessly just because they think they should is an atrocity to me. I feed off of any crowd reaction, the positive or the negative. I love to get heckled & I will heckle people who walk in or out of a reading I am doing…that shit makes me happy. A silent, non-reactive crowd means you are doing something boring. And sometimes, a bar emptying out is just as fun as a fun as hell as you can heckle them back as they stand outside and SMOKE! Sometimes the folks can stomach a diaper and a man getting Mohawk LIVE while you read shitty poetry—other times NOT!
Zygote has been around forever. over 10 years in the small press is like 300 years in normal people speak. What has been the best/worst of it? What keeps you at it? and what can we expect from zygote in the future?
Yeah, I think a tidbit of insanity has kept me active and moving forward with Zygote in my Coffee for all of these years…I do care about the written word and the arts in general and I wanna keep repping them as best as I can, and being an artist/writer myself keeps helps KEEP me at it. It is rough at times. No shit about that! EGOS &jealousy and other crap seems to creep into things & has created bizzaro rifts and legal shit I can NOT go into here…But, ultimately, you can expect Zygote in my Coffee and Tainted Coffee Press to move forward and continue to produce and represent the awesome artists.
The Nothing to Lose radio show has featured a wide range of guests, how did that get started? What has it been like doing a weekly show for.. how long?
“Nothing to Lose” radio show is pretty much the “Zygote in my Coffee Radio” show that started as a fill-in for another show on a certain network when some one pussed out and cancelled. I must admit, it caught on and caught FIRE! And ultimately, I rolled with it and transformed it into a radio show that I would really like ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE to be—a representation of poets, artists, musicians, etc.
Is print dead?
Well, I hope it is not. But I have to be honest, print has become a bit antiquated. I mean HELL, I used to love to read print newspapers and have a subscription to the local newspaper and read it while pooping on the porcelain throne. But who does that now? I grab my smart phone or I-pad and read the news while defecating. However, there is nothing like a nice tangible book you can feel & smell and in your hands. I reckon I am old school like that.
And finally, why do you hate poets?
HAHA! great question. I don’t hate poets really, I reckon it is more of the crazy ego stuff that happens more often than not theses days. I have been involved in organizing and having to deal with MANY-MANY live events as well as print books and online zines. And it sucks ass that you have to try to cater to some of these folks and if you don’t you get UBER bitched at or else fucked over LIVE at a show…but yeah, I dig poets...just sometimes they make it too damned easy for me to take a STAB at them because they can be egotistical bastards!