You know how sometimes you see a warning on some product like, “Warning: Contents under pressure” or “Danger: Flammable” and you think to yourself, “Well yeah. It’s an aerosol can full of gasoline.” Similarly an interview with Miracle Jones shouldn’t really need the disclaimer, “These are not my thoughts, and the fact that I am posting them here does not necessarily mean that I agree with or endorse them,” but I’m gonna go ahead and say it anyway.
With that in mind, be sure your head is fastened firmly to the top of your neck, and dive in to the wonderful weirdness of Miracle Jones.
Your writing is peppered with the weird and unusual. Your novels in particular feel like an ongoing game of personal one upmanship when it comes to bizzare concepts and strange ideas. Is this something you consciously try to do, or do you feel it comes naturally from who you are?
All I can say is that I delete more than I produce.
I try not to think about it very much.
Which writers do you admire, and/or which stories have you been inspired by?
I like writers.
I am more inspired by my friends than by writers I don’t know. Jeanne Thornton, Bill Cheng, Anton Solomonik, Jason Laney, Kevin Carter, Chris Nicholas, Sarah Bridgins, Avi Hartman, the Belomlinsky family. If you want, I can talk at great length about why these people are amazing. Most of my ideas come from hanging out with these fine individuals who are always willing to put up with me, always ready to talk about crazy bullshit, always encouraging me to keep “publishing” stories in spite of a weary life of near-constant failure. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky that I know so many original thinkers who don’t mind my ridiculous ways and restless mind.
When it comes to people I admire, this is a long list, unfortunately. Spider Robinson. Victor Hugo. Bill Hicks. Charles Dickens. Ursula Le Guin. Alejandro Jodorowsky. Bruce Lee. Clive Barker. Flannery O’Connor. So many others. Stephen King. Kathy Acker. Also, my Momma, even though we are so different we can barely be said to live on the same planet. I think she would be proud of me if she had seen the things I have seen, but obviously I cannot download my life experience into her brain, and so there are tensions. Also, I admire my Dad. He is a really fucked-up dude but he hides it well and is also one of the least judgmental and most friendly people that I know. I admire these qualities and have tried to cultivate them. Also, he can drink me under the table, and all those years of youth I spent smoking weed, watching horror movies, and talking crazy, he was always like: “hee hee, one day you are gonna be a writer, boy.”
Have you ever written something you felt uncomfortable about posting?
I have written a lot of problematic songs with my very good friend Jason Laney, who is a genius pianist and who shares my innate, Texassy love for the pointlessly controversial. I have never been sure about how to promote any of these songs, even though I am very proud of them. We used to sing them at shows, but I feel that they never found their proper audience.
Here is one called “Baby, Let Our Rape Baby Live,” sung by Jason:
The lyrics to this song actually came to me as a religious experience. I was walking home from work one day in the middle of a Texas heat wave in Austin, walking by the Austin State Hospital for the mentally ill, and I was praying for a song idea that would make every single person who heard it angry, upset, and confused. I felt touched by God, or maybe the ghosts of all the people who have ever been confined to this lunatic asylum, and the lyrics to this song came to me all at once, effortlessly, like the breath of an angel on the back of my neck.
“Because there’s nothing else I can give to you…and my genes are aces, too!” The music that Jason wrote is stirring, don’t you think? We used to print the lyrics to this song out and make people sing it together, as a hymn, at shows.
Here is another one called “Government.” I made the video for this song while sleeping on Jason’s couch. Jason is an alarmingly nice man with a lot of patience. The food that he cooks is also delicious.
Where do you fall on the “Write every day” vs. “Write when you feel like it” debate? Is writing nothing more than craft? Or is there magic involved?
Yes, there is magic involved.
How would you want to be remembered?
I hope one day some kids name some dangerous drug after me and there are magazine articles about how this drug is destroying the nation. It would also be cool to have my work pirated and turned into evil porn for insane foreigners.
The bio on your blog states that you are a “very private person.” As far as I can tell you’re not active on social media trying to promote your writing, beyond posting new stories on your blog. How do you feel about social media, specifically concept that authors need to push their work?
Does a sunset need a perfect status update to be perfect? Does an orange dreamsicle need a sexy publicist to be delicious?
Ha, ha. Just kidding. I really don’t know what I am doing and nobody should learn anything about “making it as a writer” from me. I AM a very private person, though. Fame is not a good goal in life. Top-down validation from a global corporate superstructure is not a good prize to fight other people for, people with whom you share common passions and experiences. Better to have symbolic tokens from the revolutions in which you have participated.
However, I can always be found once a month at Kevin Carter’s fantastic NYC show “Derangement of the Senses” at the Happy Ending Lounge in Chinatown (third Friday of every month, 7:30 PM). It is the best literary reading in the United States, as far as I’m concerned. There is nothing complicated about it: there is a poet, a fiction writer, a storyteller, a musical act, and some burlesque. Everyone has a good time. The motto is: “The purpose of literature is to fuck you up!” I don’t think you can call yourself part of the literary underground and not be into this show right now, just like I don’t think you can be part of the literary underground and not be reading every book published by Lisa Marie Basile’s “Patasola Press” and O/R Books.
Do you think the internet has changed the way literature will be perceived in the future? If so, how?
The internet is basically just a precursor to actual telepathy. When that happens…yes, I will colonize your mind fairly fast thanks to the aggressive imagination I have cultivated from reading and writing books. A smart populace would be killing off all writers right now, because one day we will be far too powerful. All those religions that people love were invented by writers, and in the future we will find new ways to make people our thralls so that we can live like corrupt sorceror-gods.
Ha, ha, just kidding! THE INTERNET IS CRAYZEE! HOW WE WILL DEAL WITH IT? (hand-wringing)
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Unemployed? I hate working. It does not build character. It is wrong and stupid, unless you are a doctor or a teacher. Every day, I try to become a better criminal.
It would also be cool to be the captain of a starship.
What obscure author do you wish more people knew about? Someone who makes you want to scream a passing pedestrians, “Hey, this person is awesome, why aren’t you reading his stuff?”
Jeanne Thornton is thrilling at words and will be remembered for all times, most likely. Also, she is a good person in-real-life and you would like her. She has a novel coming out this year that you will read and love. It is called “The Dream of Dr. Bantam.” Google this title every day until it pops up in your face for sale, like a toaster pastry in a commercial where the children have gel in their hair.
I have actually screamed this at passing pedestrians while trying to sell her stuff on the streets before, so this is an honest answer to your question. Also, I think everyone should be listening to the music of Steve Schecter (AKA “Ghostwriter”), reading the poetry of Corrina Bain and Sarah Bridgins, hearing the stories of Peter Aguero, and reading the comics of Anton Solomonik.
If you could give one piece of writing advice to the struggling writers out there, what would it be?
I thought I was a struggling writer?
I guess my advice would be that it never gets any better, but one day you will realize that you are made of granite whereas most people who do not read or write are very brittle — like carmelized sugar — and so you must be emotionally careful, especially with people who are “doing better than you,” financially, professionally, or socially. Being a struggling writer is like being a struggling assassin: you can’t really complain that nobody wants you to make it. I wouldn’t even tell people that you are a writer, unless there is some really good reason, like you are trying to make them feel better about breaking up with you.
I want to thank Miracle Jones for taking the time to share some of his crazy genius here. I recommend that you check out his wonderful novels Sharing and Shifting as well as his insane short story blog, This Rocketship Will Crash. (And when I say insane, I’m not speaking euphemistically.)