Headquarters for Experimentalism

Wensinkterview

Interview with author Patrick Wensink.


DA

What are some of your most important aesthetic influences?

PW

By aesthetic do you mean non-literary? I hope so, because that’s how I’m going to answer.

I find way more influence in the world outside of books than inside them. The photography of William Eggleston and Robert Frank, the films of Preston Sturges and weird Ealing British comedies like Kind Hearts and Coronets, the way a composer like Stravinsky can juggle instruments like plot points, the awful seasickness of failing at life, a friend telling you a story about their family that sticks in your head for weeks.

DA

What is the most (experimental) piece of art you’ve ever enjoyed?

PW

I come back to Godard’s Le Week-End about once a year. Every time I watch that movie my head blows up from all the color and big ideas and total confusion. It’s a movie I’ve been returning to for probably almost 15 years, and each time I watch it there is something new and inspirational and WTF that I discover.

DA

One TED talk a day keeps the _____________ away?

PW

Insomnia

DA

At which point does Bizarro become an unacceptable transgreßion?

PW

I suppose that’s an individual question for every author. I don’t tend to step very far into the transgressive world because it’s not how I communicate best with readers. There are a lot of talented writers who do and I suppose as long as they have a purpose for their transgressions, they can go as wild as necessary.

DA

Is it possible that music is totally overrated?

PW

Music is not overrated. In my book it’s the ideal form of artistic communication. Music flips an emotional switch faster than anything I can think of and it’s universal. I don’t have to read or speak the language or see the musicians in order to feel something from their work … that’s pretty magical.

DA

What would you rather have invented – the Ö or the 1?

PW

If there are two things I am bad at, it’s math and computers. There is no chance I would have invented either one, but if I did it would have to be the zero. Zero is the number of failure and failure is always funnier than success. I think a lot of my humor lies in failure because I’m a person who learns the hard way in life (Also known as the Failure Highway).

DA

How many spiders are needed to creep out one level-4 arachnophobe?

PW

I would say zero. Just the threat of spiders is probably enough to drive them nuts.

DA

What is your favorite ____________?

PW

My favorite movie at the moment is Network. Paddy Chayevsky’s writing is the closest thing Hollywood ever came to Don DeLillo.


Image source: patrickwensink.com

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