Good Stuff to Read In Places You Wouldn't Normally Look

Michael Davidson

Michael Davidson {herocious}

1) Where are you from? Why?

I was born in Miami.

Why? At a swimming pool for everyone who lived in the Mariposa, which is an apartment building in Coral Gables, Florida, a girl who would become my mother was with a girl who would become my aunt, both Colombian, both in bikinis. A boy who would become my father, a mid-westerner in a speedo, was the only other person at the swimming pool.

The Miami sun put smiles on the girls’ almond faces. I think even the boy smiled, though he was reading something very mathematical.

The girls took out a point-and-shoot camera and took photos of each other. The girl who would become my aunt took one of her sister, my future mother, at the same time as the boy, my future father, was poised on the diving board directly behind her. My parents didn’t know each other then.

3-5 days after this decisive picture, the boy and the girl went on a date. When they got back, the girl’s entire family was locked out of their apartment. The girl’s father (my future abuelo) said he thought the sliding glass door was open. They lived on the 4th floor. Considering the options, my father immediately scaled the Mariposa’s facade, swinging from balcony to balcony. My mother’s family met him at their front door. They were very relieved.

2) Generate a relevant formula.

Mojan el arroz con un poco de aguacate
Pa’ cosechar nalgas de 14 kilates
-Calle 13

(rice + avocado = 14k booty)

3) How has your recent transition from Florida to Austin informed your writing?

New places always feed me. I write a lot during transitions. It’s strange, but somehow staying in one place for too long strangles a part of me, and movement brings me back to life. Austin made me love My Home in a new way. Austin unstopped a geyser in my soul, and some of what came out was fresh and sweet, but some other things were more like shit. Austin let me become a pedestrian again. Yes, this medium-size city reminded me how much I love writing from the perspective of a pedestrian. Thank you, Austin, for getting me to walk again.

4) What did you find out after finishing your first novel, AUSTIN NIGHTS? What weren’t you expecting?

Everything about AUSTIN NIGHTS started on a blank screen.The same one I’m writing on now. Absolutely no plot. The first sentence came from nowhere, or from somewhere so distant. It was all very free, very freeing, the process of writing. Story came in spurts and I had no idea what this thing would become. I’d say during this time I was attentive. My eyes were always recording, my ears were turning dialogue into audio tracks, I spent every day hunting for clues. When I found something memorable, I’d turn it into words without trying to fit it into the so-called larger picture. My loyalty was to each spurt, hoping the sum of these would at least add up to some kind of chunk. But at some point the story discovered its universe, and it had to operate according to certain laws, and I realized how brutally I had turned a very free world into something with walls.

What wasn’t I expecting? I wasn’t expecting to be saved.

5) TOE Press is interesting. Talk a bit about them.

My girlfriend’s dad has a shed with tools and plenty of spare building material. Whenever we’re in there, we listen to dub reggae and make very approximate drafts of ideas. {Tiny TOE Press} happened inside this shed. We built it out of wood scraps and screws. Now it sits on the far edge of our kitchen table. It looks like a very old machine.

As far as electricity, it’s powerless, but when touched the right way, this jig makes books. DIY style. Every book {Tiny TOE Press} makes is handcrafted. I feel like they should have their own alcohol content.

6) What is there, and what should we do about it?

We should fix world hunger.

7) This is the visceral question. Take this opportunity to describe something in your immediate experience and get us to feel something.

I’m digging this hole into the center of my body.
I’m doing it because I want to become an intense person, extract my intensity and lay it bare for everyone to see and feel and gnash.
There’s meaning in intensity.
It’s not for the weak.
It’s not for the safe people with layer after layer of security net, just in case they should fall from their middle land.
I live with nothing underneath me, nothing to catch me.
And one fine day I could lose everything and I’d have no backup.
That’s why it’s important I pull everything out of me right this second, straight from the center of my body, everything that is really me and not some security feature, not some entitlement.
This is what I think as I dig this hole into the center of my body.

Michael Davidson {herocious} writes on TheOpenEnd. His first novel, AUSTIN NIGHTS (link tohttp://theopenend.com/bookstore/), is available from {Tiny TOE Press}. He tutors math in Austin.

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