Thursday, February 15, 2007

Swerving Between the Lines

--You’re listening to Book Sense, the show where we make sense out of books. I’m your host Gertrude Grimmelshausen, and we’re here talking to John Jacobs, author of How Do You Like Them Apples? John, what is it about apples that inspired you to write this novel?

--Actually, Gertrude, it’s a collection.

--Of apples?

--No, a short story collection.

--I see. Why short stories instead of a novel?

--That was the form I wanted to work with.

--Did you choose short stories because you felt you couldn’t stretch apples into a novel?

--The apples don’t really have anything to do with the stories. It’s just an expression.

--Do you dislike apples?

--No, they’re quite good, that’s not the point—

--I like red delicious myself, sometimes Rome, or applesauce.

--It’s a figure of speech, Gertrude. It’s rubbing someone’s nose in something that’s happened to them, which is the point of many of the stories.

--I see. But there’s an apple tree on the cover.

--Yes, well, I didn’t choose that.

--If you were a tree, what kind of tree...?

--I’m sorry?

--Vis a vis trees, if you were one...?


--Exactly., uh, elm.

--Not an apple tree?

--No, not an apple tree! The book isn’t....You know, Gertrude, what kind of tree would you be?

--I don’t like trees. I got poison ivy once from a forest. Have you ever had poison ivy?


--I would think it would be difficult to write with poison ivy. Because you’d be itching instead of writing. That’s what Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about.

--I’m sorry?

--Love in the Time of Poison Ivy. How hard it was to love because of the itching.

--It was Love in the Time of Cholera, Gertrude.

--Yes, that’s the Spanish translation. Like your name would be Juan Jacobs. Or Yay-cobs. You notice that our names have letterracy?

--What on earth are you talking about?

--Letteracy. They start with the same letters. Gertrude Grimmelshausen, John Jacobs. Or Juan Yaycobs.

--That’s called alliteration.

--No, I know I can read, and you just read from your novel.

--It's a story collection! How hard is it to—


--...Should I dare to ask what that means?

--That’s the kind of tree I would be. You can’t get poison ivy from a cactus.

--That’s the first true thing you’ve said this evening.

--So, as you were writing this “collection...”

--Why are you doing that thing with your fingers?

--I’m quoting you, John. That’s what you called it.

--Because that’s what it’s called! A story collection.

--So you were writing this, and then you finished it.

--Is that even a question?

--You finished your “collection.”

--Stop it! Stop making the quote signs with your fingers! Of course I finished it. How could it have been published if it wasn't finished? Now the next words out of your mouth better be a real question, or this “interview” is over.

--It’s been written that our attention spans have decreased, yet the popularity of the short story has also declined. Do you find this to be a paradox?

--That’s your question?


--No apples? No poison ivy?

--We already covered those topics, unless you’d like to revisit them...

--No, no, no. You just surprised me. Um, that’s a great question, and I have a theory that I think explains this...

--A theory our audience would probably love to hear if we were not out of time. You have been listening to Juan Yacobs discuss his latest collecion, How Do You Like Them Elm Trees? I’m Gertrude Grimmelshausen, and thank you for listening to Book Sense, the program for sensible books.

Dedicated to Daniel, who wrangled the "questions" like a pro.


Noelle said...

I would never chose to read anything by this particular author. He is too impatient. You know, the actual Booksense is a collection of independent booksellers trying to make sense of how to keep their market share. I bet they would find this funny, too.

MSF said...

that was awesome.

Churlita said...

Too perfect.

Brando said...

I actually wrote this two years ago for another blog, after D did a reading here for his short story collection. The second appearance was actually not like this (thankfully).

Noelle, I forgot about Booksense. I'll bet they are trying to make sense of that.

Churlita said...

It reminded me of a reading I went to a couple of years ago. The author kept making jokes, and the person (ahem) announcing the reading kept taking him seriously. It was hilariously ridiculous.