Sean Lovelace is a professor of creative writing at Ball State University. He writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Recent publications include Willow Springs, Diagram, Sonora Review, and Black Warrior Review. His works have won several awards, including the prestigious Crazyhorse Fiction Prize. He blogs at seanlovelace.com. His chapbook, How Some People Like Their Eggs, is forthcoming from Rose Metal Press.
what are you reading now
USA Today, Merriam-Webster’s Manual for Writers and Editors, Hobart, Copper Nickel, Sonora Review, Mexican restaurant menus, Excitability by Diane Williams, Light Boxes by Shane Jones, Birdhouse by Ryan J. Rayder (self-published), bills, Brevity & Echo: An Anthology of Short Short Stories, edited by Abigail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney, Quick Fix: Sudden Fiction by Ana Maria Shua, more and more insistent bills, and Birds of America by Lorrie Moore.
classic you’ve been meaning to read
Moby Dick, but I probably won’t. I tried twice and failed.
last book to make you laugh out loud
That’s easy. Iceland by Jim Krusoe. Oh man. It’s about this typewriter repairman and his, uh, adventures, with women and with Iceland and with robbing gas stations and with his “failing organ,” etc. The book is amazing in how it sets up characters, gets the reader to invest, and then throws them into volcanoes or ice floes. Krusoe can kill a man’s family in a paragraph, and then a paragraph later the same man is dating a woman who lives in a bar/pet shop. A seriously funny (oxymoron) book. I now want to visit Iceland, which is unfortunate since a plane ticket is $1300. I checked. Well, later.
book you borrowed and never returned
I have it right here in my office, The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader. I borrowed it from the guy (name of Will) in graduate school. Will drove a Jaguar (never above 20 mph) and wore kilts to bars and often exposed himself to others and would drink these amazingly tall glasses of straight gin. Cool guy, but we later had a falling out. I got the feeling he despised me, not sure why, but possibly me stealing this book was the beginning. Seems fair.
strangest book you’ve ever read
The Singing Fish by Peter Markus. I am still trying to understand this book, honestly. But I return to try again and again, so that’s a good thing. I’m a little tired of people telling me what I am supposed to feel about Markus, so I just keep trying.
favorite book from childhood
Hmm. There was some book about a kid with a pet raccoon, but I can’t remember. So I’d say White Fang and its mirror image, The Call of the Wild. Both are exciting reads that make a young man yearn to read and write. I also like London’s “work-day” approach to writing. He thinks inspiration is bullshit. He says, “Just write.” Well, what he says is (paraphrase here), in a not so PC suggestion: “Go after writing like you would a seal with a club.”
most challenging book you’ve ever read
Brunner & Suddarth's Textbook of Medical Surgical Nursing, North American Edition: In Two Volumes. I spent two years with this book in nursing school. Have you ever been so anxious and down you woke every morning and cried into the showerhead? Just gripped that showerhead at 5 a.m. in the darkness of the shower and cried your lungs/heart/soul out? Wow. Being a nurse was great. Nursing school, not so much.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I can’t think of one. I’m sure I have done this, though—I can be as fake, if not more, as anyone. I once had a KILL YOUR TELEVISION bumper sticker on my truck. The whole time I was watching TV in bars, at friend’s houses and enjoying the experience. I finally took the sticker off. And bought a TV.
collected stories of
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
best thing you’ve read online recently
Reading through the Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2009 list right now. So far, they are strong. Jet fuel tequila, desiccated whores, all that. I adore flash, and I think online writing is often fresher than elsewhere. I prefer online at this reading moment of my life.
recommended reading list:
Quest Narratives That Rock
- A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
- Flaming Iguanas by Erika Lopez
- Deliverance by James Dickey
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
I like books where the person has a goal and shit is thrown in the way and maybe they get it, or not, but at least they think a bit along the way. Also sex in a book is a positive. All of the above have sex.