Show Me Your Shelves: Michael Allen Rose
Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
I am Michael Allen Rose, author, musician and performance artist. I also make a mean baked Mac N’ Cheese. Books have been some of my best friends and means of seeing new worlds and perspectives since I was a kid. I was one of those weird kids who was just as happy sitting in my room reading as I was out playing with the neighborhood kids, if not happier.
You read bizarro as well as everything else out there: what are some of your favorite non-bizarro reads?
Around the end of my undergrad college years, I got really heavily into the existentialists and absurdists: Camus, Sartre, Beckett, Kafka, Ionesco and the like. I remain a huge fan of that philosophy and literary style, but I’m also a huge fan of humor writing and pop-culture studies. Dark comedy is a great place between those sorts of authors and straight up comedy, which led me to Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, David Wong and a lot of the bizarro stuff as well.
You are a performer, stage man, madman; is it hard for you to sit down alone and write? Does music help?
Music is actually a huge part of writing for me. Most of the things I’ve written, I can point to the specific song that helped generate or refine the idea. This was especially true when I was concentrating more on playwriting. Entire works sprung from single songs that resonated with me in a certain way. As far as the writing being difficult, I think my main problem is a lack of focus. I start a million projects, but sitting down and doing the work of finishing them, though immensely satisfying, is difficult as hell. I’m thinking of asking hot women to tie me to the computer chair and make me write a certain number of words before they let me go. That… may be unreleated, however. Ahem.
What book would you like to see turned into a musical?
I think Laura Lee Bahr’s Haunt would make a great stage production. I’d be interested to see a musical where the numbers were written somehow in second person. Do the characters sing about you while they sing to you? How does that work. Outside of that, I guess anything unconventional that would screw with the tropes of the american musical. Like a cookbook, or a pamphlet about the Illuminati that you get from some homeless dude on a street corner.
Tell us about your latest book and why we should get our paws on it immediately.
My latest release is Declension, which was put out as a super limited release on Dynatox Ministries. As of this writing there might be just a few left, literally. It’s an interesting one, as it was originally written as an experimental performance piece while I was in graduate school, and then recently re-worked into a piece of meta-fiction for this release. A very strange book, steeped in surrealist techniques. It’ll be interesting to see how people react. Other than that, I have a couple of things I’m working on. Hopefully this year will see the follow-up to Party Wolves in My Skull from Eraserhead Press, along with a few other things I have in the works. I should mention that a few anthologies and things I’ve been accepted into are coming out super soon, if they’re not already. The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction issue #11 has a new short story of mine in it, as well as the Bizarro Bizarro anthology from Bizarro Pulp Press and Witch! from Dynatox Ministries. My band Flood Damage is finally recording an album this winter as well. But you know how it goes. Artists are like sharks, if we’re not moving forward, we die. And if we’re not doing too much, we feel like it’s not enough.