Friday, November 30, 2012
Q-and-A with Anonymous, author of 'Diary of an Oxygen Thief' — and East Village resident
Anonymous is back with "Chameleon On A Kaleidoscope," a sequel of sorts in which the protagonist returns, though this time he is finding his thrills as an online sex addict.
Turns out that Anonymous lives in the neighborhood. So via email, we asked Anonymous a few questions about the new novel, self-publishing and life in the East Village.
While writing "Diary of an Oxygen Thief," were you already looking ahead to a second novel picking up where this one left off?
My original intention was to write a book that felt like somebody’s diary. I wanted to give the reader the impression they were eavesdropping. But of course a diary has no finite ending and so it became obvious that there would be a second. That’s when "Chameleon On a Kaleidoscope was born. And now I’m already working on a third in the series; a prequel to "Diary Of An Oxygen Thief." Collectively they’re known as "The Oxygen Thief Diaries."
As a writer, do you envision continuing to remain Anonymous?
Being anonymous is part of the story. I love that there’s no cheesey photo on the backcover and that we don’t have to hear about how the writer lives in Connecticut or San Francisco or Brooklyn or wherever with his two dogs and a cat. Fuck all that. In this case the story is the hero.
Also writing anonymously allows me to inhabit the reader more effectively. Because we can’t Google anyone we’re forced to make up our own minds about what’s happening in the narrative. It actually makes for a more satisfying experience.
What is your top advice for someone considering self-publishing his or her work?
My best advice to a self-published writer is to try to say something that established publishers can’t or won’t. This way your content and marketing merge into one.
How long have you lived in the East Village?
I’ve lived here altogether now for about 10 years — with a break of three years when I moved to Amsterdam. Mostly I love it. I’ve always wanted to live here and I‘m very lucky to have found a rent-controlled building that welcome the likes of me. The area around Tompkins Square is my favorite place in the world. The Helmholtzplatz in Berlin is a close second but only because it reminds me so much of Tompkins Square Park.
Do you have a favorite place to write here? Are you able to accomplish much sitting at, say, a café or a library?
I’m not sure I’m socially equipped to sit in a cafe these days. And I don’t just mean emotionally. Mind you it might just be laptop-envy on my part. But when I do venture out, one of my favorite places is Café Pick Me Up on Avenue A and 9th Street. Perfect for people-watching or more honestly, girl-watching.
Most of my writing is extracted in private in a darkened corner of my fur-lined lair. In fact, writer seems far too pleasant a verb to describe what I do; word-worrier is more accurate.
Do you think the East Village provides a nurturing/creative atmosphere for artistic endeavors? Do you find inspiration here?
The East Village as a neighborhood and my building in particular have been hugely influential in my being able to write fulltime. I’m lucky enough to live in a rent-controlled HDFC that welcomes only artistic tenants so that’s certainly a nurturing environment and since a local woman was murdered in my apartment it came with inspiration ensuite. I can’t wait to write that story.
But let me answer the unasked question here. Yes. The East Village is still cool! I like to tease people from Park Slope and Williamsburg and Bushwick by saying I live a block away from Tompkins Square in West Brooklyn and let them figure it out.