A NEW POP LIT Q & A WITH AN EXCITING WRITER
TODAY’S QUIZ IS WITH ONE OF THE BEST YOUNG SHORT STORY WRITERS ON THE PLANET– ANGELO LORENZO
1.) Who’s your favorite short story writer living or dead?
AL: I have to admit that before I got engaged with short stories, I’ve spent my early years as an avid reader by getting immersed in novels. When it comes to fiction, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, and George R.R. Martin would definitely come to mind. While Lewis and Tolkien made it to my reading lists when I was in elementary and high school, King and Martin helped me with style and voice when I got serious with writing in college.
But for short stories, I must say Edgar Allan Poe would be one in the list. Horror and dark tales have their ways of engaging the reader. Poe, regardless of his personal life, innovated literature by shortening the narrative form and hooking the reader with terrifying imagery. “The Masque of the Red Death” is one of my favorites.
In the local literary scene, I have been following the works of Nick Joaquin, Dean Francis Alfar, and Elena Paulma. Joaquin has been one of the most recognized Filipino writers because of the socio-political issues he depicted in his short stories. While he may have passed on, universities still study his works. Alfar, on the other hand, has written short stories which can be categorized under the genres that I love – magical realism and fantasy. Paulma underscores women empowerment with her characters. She keeps classical themes of family and love in contemporary setting.
2.) Why did you become a writer?
AL: When I was 11, my mother took me and my sister to watch the film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was amazed by the story, as well as its allegory. I remember obsessing over the series since then. I read the books, got introduced to fantasy, and then started reading other books. I think it was at that time when I started dreaming of becoming a writer someday. I wanted to explore further the kind of worlds that Lewis, Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling created.
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I started getting serious about writing. I wrote a couple of drafts, self-published them online, and also practiced translating my idea into words. I took advantage of the knowledge I gained while in college to hone this skill, especially when it comes to writing with structure. I majored in Development Journalism, and the program made me familiar with the discipline.
Currently, I am taking my Master’s Degree in Literature. Reading and writing will always be a part of me, and I think that’s a good thing. Nothing compares to the feeling of fulfillment once a writer completes a manuscript or makes worlds out of words. After all, I believe everyone is creative. The medium which we prefer to showcase our creativity makes the difference. I think it was Elizabeth Gilbert who introduced me to this idea after reading her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
Also, I write because I feel good doing it, and I feel accomplished every time I finish what I’m writing.
3.) Can writers be pop stars?
AL: Taylor Swift, I believe, is a great writer. Her songs made her a sensational pop star in this generation. The same goes with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, Patti Smith, and the many names in the constellation of music.
But when it comes to art in the written format (or literature in general), I think writers can definitely be pop stars. However, the work matters before the name. Genuine artists focus on the craft before anything else. Fame, reputation, recognition and wealth may be side effects, but these should not be the end-result or the main objective. Art is not about hoarding attention or money. These may come or these may not. But what every writer should keep in mind is that their craft is their outlet to deliver their message. These messages may inspire, disturb, reflect, frighten, encourage, motivate, etc. And whether these would spark attention or generate income, that’s for the odds to decide. The value of the craft – and in the case of writers, writing – should always come first.
TODAY we feature an interview with movie maker Pat O’Sullivan, best known for his 2012 film Space Werewolf. O’Sullivan has been getting buzz for his upcoming project, the film version of the Kitty Glitter book Jason vs. Katy Perry. We reviewed the oeuvre of Kitty Glitter in our previous post. Now, a movie version of one of K.G.’s books! The world of art moves quickly.
NEW POP LIT: “How long have you been making movies?”
PAT O’SULLIVAN: “I’ve been making movies on VHS and 16mm as far back as the 90’s. I took a break for about ten years to play in several bands around Chicago, and then got back into film a little over five years ago when digital cameras became more prevalent. I never stopped writing though. I was still writing screenplays and writing about movies for CHUD.com.”
NPL: “Who’s you favorite all-time movie director?”
PAT: “Favorite all-time director? Alex Cox is definitely towards the top of that list. I love the ‘anything can happen’ style of Repo Man and Straight to Hell. Coming up in the 90’s though it’s hard not to feel like you owe a debt to the likes of Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino as well. For the sake of argument let’s just go with Alex Cox for now.”
NPL: “How did you hear about Kitty Glitter?
PAT: “Random ad on Twitter. I had no idea who they actually were when I optioned the rights to Jason vs Katy Perry. That’s the beauty of the internet. You read someone’s Literotica story and it can be Stephen King using a pen name for all you know. It’s wild. So many of us artists are so concerned with pushing our own ‘brand’ we don’t realize the power and freedom in the anonymity of it.”
NPL: “Why does the world need the film Jason vs. Katy Perry?”
PAT: “I don’t think any of us are pompous enough to think the world needs this film. Simply put, it does not. I do know that there’s value in telling stories and making people laugh, taking people on a journey. This film is a very, very unique vision, one I’m lucky enough to merely be the conduit of. Is Jason vs Katy Perry a summoning song for cultural entropy? A message to the kids to kill your idols? An excuse to watch attractive women run around the woods topless and covered in blood? It’s all these things and none of these things. It’s just this anomaly that exists, that some nutball wrote it and an even bigger nutball came along and said ‘Let’s make a movie out of it.'”
(Photo of Pat O’Sullivan.)