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Powell's Q&A

Jerry Stahl

Describe your latest project.
Love Without is a collection of short stories, culled from the last three decades. I guess I'd describe it as the Good, the Bad and the Peculiar.

  1. Love Without: Stories
    $6.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Love Without: Stories

    Jerry Stahl

  2. Permanent Midnight: A Memoir
    $11.50 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

  3. I, Fatty: A Novel
    $6.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    I, Fatty: A Novel

    Jerry Stahl

  4. Plainclothes Naked
    $13.95 New Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Plainclothes Naked

    Jerry Stahl

  5. Perv-A Love Story
    $6.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Perv-A Love Story

    Jerry Stahl

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
For better or worse, I already wrote it. The title was Permanent Midnight. Maybe the subtitle would be If I wrote this now it would read a little differently...

What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
I'm going with Eve. It seems like she was up for anything.

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I had the great good fortune to work at McDonald's at the ripe age of 38. Good times.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Sam Lipsyte — Home Land.

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
You're right.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"Harry locked his mother in the closet again." That's the first sentence of Hubert Selby's classic Requiem for a Dream. It tells you all need to know. Or I think it does. I don't have the book in front of me.

How do you relax?
I'm always relaxed. I have to work at getting tense.

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?
King of the Jews by Nick Tosches. It ended up in my hands because I put it there, as I put anything Tosches writes.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
I tracked down Hubert Selby because his writing kind of saved my life.

What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
I lost them thirty years ago, and memory is always better than reality.

What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, to what sign would you change and why?
Libra. I've learned to be okay with it.

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Nothing consumed was legal, so I'll skip the details.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?

What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Pleasure is a moving target, so that changes all the time.

Why do you write?
It beats working.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
A woman tried to stab me with a Bic pen. Since then I've switched to felt tips.

Name the best television series of all time, and explain why it's the best.
I'm always partial to The 700 Club. It's just so damn inspirational.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
One man's wild is another man's lame.

On a clear and cold day, do you typically get outside into the sunshine or stay inside where it's warm?
If it's hot out I may try and stay cool, if it's cool out I may try and stay warm.

Talk about your vision of the ideal life.
One where you don't wonder if your life is ideal or not.

Who are your favorite characters in history? Have any of them influenced your writing?
I've always been fascinated by Catherine the Great. She taught me to never trust a horse.

Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
I love Lucian Freud, for his happy go lucky style. And I'm a huge fan of Karen Finley, for her performance, her sensibility and most of all her heart in the face of art-defying odds.

Do you read blogs? What are some of your favorites?
Wooster Collective is great. So's FireDogLake and Wayne Madsen for politics. Which is better than porn.

If you could have been someone else, who would that be and why?
I am someone else. Who isn't?

Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Thanks, but I'm a vegetarian.

In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?
What's she doing here?

Make a question of your own, then answer it.
Really? Really.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Drugs are always a fun topic. Since the subject is never really drugs — but far deeper elements of society and the human soul. Plus some of them are screamingly funny. These are five top drawer narco-reads.

Trinities, Nick Tosches

Requiem for a Dream, Hubert Selby

Junky, William Burroughs

Wrecking Crew, John Albert

Cain's Book, Alexander Trocchi

Five Books I've Given to Girlfriends over the Years

I always give the same one: The Book of Job. spacer

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