Michael Jacobson interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jan 17, 2016 3:33:56 PM
Author interview with Michael Jacobson by David Alan Binder
Micheal is truly one of a kind and the interview shows that from the beginning on how to pronounce his name. His books include The Giant’s Fence, Action Figures, Mynd Eraser, and The Paranoia Machine; he is also co-editor of An Anthology Of Asemic Handwriting (Uitgeverij). Besides writing books, he curates a gallery for asemic writing called The New Post-Literate, and sits on the editorial board of SCRIPTjr.nl
His website: http://www.raintaxi.com/michael-jacobson/
Start Interview1. How do you pronounce your name?
MJ: My-Kill Day-Vid Jay-Cub-Sun = Michael David Jacobson: a name that is 3/4ths Hebrew and 1/4th Viking. My bloodline is mainly Suomi, Irish, English, and mystery meat from the lost tribe of Asemica.
2. Where are you currently living?
MJ: Right now, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA, but I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota USA.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MJ: I was in high school when I first began to write poetry and song lyrics. My Grandmother influenced me because she would write poetry and long letters to friends. I would dig around in her desk and find her poems when I was searching for paper to make art with. My Grandfather also influenced me; he was a journalist and wrote for Stars & Stripes, the Army’s newspaper, during WW2. I stayed with my Grandparents a lot when my brother was sick with Leukemia.
In my early teen years, I produced a zine called No Magazine with a couple of friends. The zine was about BMX racing and freestyle bicycle riding. We only made 2 issues. It was bad writing, but it got me going. These events were my first experiences with writing outside of a school environment.
I didn’t seriously consider writing as a main form of artistic expression until I was in my 20s, though I had experimented with different forms of writing from a young age. I was into painting abstract artworks on canvas, and I was writing an illegible (not intentionally, but still bad) novel. Eventually one thing led to another and I combined my painting with my writing. Out of these experiments came my asemic trans-symbolic novella The Giant’s Fence.
4. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
MJ: The Giant’s Fence took me 2 years to write, Action Figures 2 months, Mynd Eraser about 6 months, and The Paranoia Machine (my single page asemic kinetic motorized peripheral vision nightmare poem crown) about 13 years.
5. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
MJ: I work Monday through Friday. I feel the most creative in the morning. The weekends are the most difficult times for me to work because my daughters basically own the computers when they aren’t in school. So on the weekends I do laundry.
6. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
MJ: I hand write my books without words, though lately all my work is digital asemic kinetic calligraphy, and planet poems.
7. Did you self-publish or have a publisher?
MJ: I have self-published, and been published by friends.
a. If publisher, who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
MJ: UBU Editions published The Giant’s Fence electronically, which is part of a website called Ubuweb. Avance Publishing put out my asemic hieroglyphic novella Action Figures. My friend Tim Gaze runs it from Adelaide, Australia. Tim has also published The Giant’s Fence in a large print edition on his micro-press Asemic Editions. An Anthology of Asemic Handwriting, a book I co-edited, is put out by Uitgeverij, and is dually based out of the Netherlands, and Albania. I self-published my latest collection Works & Interviews: 1999-2014
Which contains The Giant’s Fence and Action Figures, along with 6 interviews, in a perfect bound paperback book.
8. Do you have any feelings about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
MJ: I prefer to read print books, but I will read ebooks if I don’t have a choice. Though, I actually read the Internet more than I read print books. My online gallery The New Post-Literate exists in an electronic environment, and I read it every day.
9. Do you have any tips for writers on getting a book published?
MJ: Read, write, and make friends with everyone you can, writers and non-writers alike. I started by self-publishing, and then was offered to be published by friends who are interested in asemic writing and who became editors and publishers at small presses. I am taking asemic writing into many worlds: the publishing world, the art world, the spirit world, the internet, and the streets.
a. If you have an agent how did you acquire one?
MJ: I have a secret agent!
10. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
MJ: I get ideas and inspiration from everything, everyone, and everywhere. I read books, make and view artwork, and listen to music. Whenever I feel like my head is too full of racing thoughts, I meditate. But to be more specific, I get a lot of inspiration from the full history of writing—From cave painted proto-writing, hieroglyphs, Illuminated Manuscripts, to HTML, novels, poetry, undeciphered scripts, graffiti, etc.
11. Any tips for writers that you may have?
MJ: Study writing till you explode.
12. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
MJ: I like to spend time with my daughters, ride my old Ross mountain bike, go to the movies, brew mead, publish writers on my blog, and feed my Internet addiction.
13. What does your family think of your writing?
MJ: They think I’m crazy! But they are supportive for the most part.
14. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
MJ: That I can survive writing them, and grow as an artist, writer, and a person. The nice thing about writing a book, is the sense of completion when the book is finished and in your hand. Holding books is something I will never tire of, unless I have to move boxes of them when I am switching apartments.
15. Which is your favorite?
MJ: My favorite is my latest collection Works & Interviews 1999-2014, it contains 2 of my novellas and my thoughts on asemic writing, and is the closest thing to having my soul exposed.
16. Do you hear from your readers much?
MJ: Almost every day on Facebook. There is a very active asemic writing group I administer, which has now grown to over 10,000 members.
17. Who is your main audience for your books?
MJ: Artists and creative types, basically anyone interested in apophenia, abstract art, calligraphy, experimental literature, new forms of writing, old forms of writing, secret writing, and something new and different.
18. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
MJ: My career choices were either to be an Astronaut, Fire Fighter, Guitarist, Beatnik, or a Headhunter in the jungle. I settled on being a Beatnik.
19. How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
MJ: Asemic writing, the type of writing I create, came out of my merging of abstract painting with conventional writing. A short definition of asemic writing is: Intentionally illegible, abstract, or wordless writing.
20. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
MJ: It was enjoyable to feel that what I was writing didn’t really exist as a genre; there is no section for asemic writing in bookstores or libraries. There are only a handful of books which have asemic writing as an element, and virtually none which were purely asemic from beginning to end.
21. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
MJ: It was probably the LSD I took in my youth, and the CIA trying to mind control me.
22. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
MJ: Brion Gysin, Max Ernst, Jack Kerouac, Mirtha Dermisache, Timothy Ely, Hemingway, Henri Michaux, Sherman Alexie, James Joyce, Tim Gaze, Rosaire Appel, Henry Rollins, Marco Giovenale, Xu Bing, Alain Satié, Miekal And, Amiri Baraka, Nuno De Matos, Tony O’neill, Douglas Adams, Spencer Selby, Jean-Christophe Giacottino, Matt Margo, Boccaccio, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Andre Breton, Eckhard Gerdes, Charles Baudelaire, Christopher Skinner, Jefferson Hansen, Arthur Rimbaud, Gary Shipley, Satu Kaikkonen, Luigi Serafini, John M. Bennett, SAMO©, José Parlá, Walt Whitman, & The Creator.
23. Are you a full-time or part-time writer?
MJ: Part-time, but I will try and create whenever I feel inspired.
24. How does that affect your writing?
MJ: My main form of writing these days is creative blogging, which I can do from just about anywhere there is a wifi connection available.
25. What are some day jobs that you have held?
MJ: I will put them in order: paper boy, landscaper, car washer, janitor, actor, rickshaw driver, cigarette salesman, floor sander, telemarketer, bicycle mechanic, courier, security guard, barista, house painter, carpenter, window glazier, and I make a microscopic amount of dinero from writing.
26. Did any of them impact your writing?
MJ: They all did. I hated most of them except for the barista and carpenter jobs. Having the jobs I have had made me realize what I do and don’t want to do in life: I want to spend my time writing and creating artwork and not scraping paint off of houses.
27. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
MJ: The calligraphy I create is completely non-verbal from start to end. My manuscripts are also entirely hand drawn. The script is meant to stimulate thoughts in the reader by way of the alien textual aesthetics. In The Giant’s Fence, for example, there are no pictures, there are no words, there is only raw electricity burning across the pages, and gestures balancing on the edge of meaning and vacuum. In my abstract hieroglyphic “story” Action Figures there is a telling of mutation, and a future that is simultaneously timeless and uncracked. All of my writing can be interpreted in the same way as abstract art. I try and write the way Franz Kline, Picasso, Kandinsky, and Keith Haring painted.
28. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
MJ: I use the Internet mainly, Facebook, Google +, and interviews like this one, and blogging too, though I would like to be published in print more often. Tim Gaze has a famous quote “paper has more presence than electronic media.” I am different: I use print AND electronic media as much as I can.
29. What projects are you working on at the present?
MJ: THATplanet: an evolving cyberspace crypto-sphere home for my robot. I am also guest curating a show of asemic writing at Centro Cultural Casa Baltazar in Cordoba, Mexico. The exhibit is going to run for 3 weeks and starts on February 15th 2016. It was co-organized by Axel Calatayud, an artist currently living in Spain.
30. What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
MJ: Where can we space aliens order copies of your book for our extraterrestrial home worlds!?!
END OF INTERVIEW
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