Sunday, 5 June 2011

PUSH-UPS: Paul A. Toth

So, what you pushing right now?
Airplane Novel, the story of 9/11 from the only never-before-seen viewpoint: inside-out. A preview can be watched here: It departs in July 2011.

What’s the hook?

The South Tower serves as your narrator, and that device allows a grand-scale vision of events from a maximum number of viewpoints and height. To the Tower, innocent and virginal, the actions of any human reflect all of humanity. No one escapes conviction. It's a crime novel. But it's also every other kind of novel.

And why’s that floating your boat?

The challenge. This is the 9/11 novel. I say so without humility and not much arrogance.

When did you turn to crime?
As soon as I got serious about writing in my early thirties, though I've written as far back as I can remember. I can type 70 words per minute with two fingers thanks to using an old typewriter when I was seven.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
Noir's my first love, but I have to say that Jim Thompson was the specific influence. It's the way he subtly comments on inequities in American society. His characters are always bullshit artists. That may be the greatest American contribution to the arts: bullshit. You can't fight bullshit with art. You can only fight it with better bullshit. That's what Thompson's characters do.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp. What intrigued me was his absolute nonchalance. This seems to me the best attitude towards life: nonchalance. You get kicked around. So what? Wear steel clothes. You don't feel like writing today? Don't. Nobody will notice. Nobody will notice unless you do it when you don't want to do it. It's like sex; the other person always knows when you're not in the mood. Nonchalance is the goal. I'm nonchalant about getting there.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
I'd take the money, but I won't play the tables. I don't like the odds. I don't play the lottery, either. But if Ed McMahon rises from the dead and comes knocking, I'll answer the door.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
Indie. Raw Dog Screaming Press had the guts to publish Airplane Novel. The majors sent two-page letters praising it and bailed because as usual they can't sell anything they haven't sold before. Digital or paper? I prefer paper. It's the only time my work has any gravity, unless I have to move the computer.

Shout us a website worth visiting … For no charge, read the excellent, if grammatically butchered, Nihilist Communism, in which two writers under the comical name of Monsieur Dupont describe why there's no hope. It's quite uplifting in its way.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
I like repetition. I like repetition. I like Steve Reich. I like rhtyhm. My daydream is to see a woman reading one of my novels on a subway, tapping her foot. I want to write like Elvin Jones played the drums. At my best, writing's a physical act.