What does one have to do to get published by you?
Pilotless Press: The first step is to have written, and then revised, and then revised again. Then, one must read our Manifesto, and understand that we are operating in the present, which actually means that we operate in the perpetually unrealized future of a recent past. Lastly, and most importantly, we must like what we read, which is often modernist or postmodernist, without being overly pedantic about it.
And what are the no-nos?
Pilotless Press: Oh, we could ramble for hours. There are so many things we do not like, predominant among them Bad Writing. Also Good Boring Writing. Also Admirably Crafted Memoir Writing about Boring Lives (if you don’t have it, make it up). We could continue in this vein for hundreds of html lines, but we will restrict our answer to what we do not intend to publish in the near or far future: poetry, flash fiction, theater, anything remotely influenced by superficial readings in eastern philosophy, cooking. Another way to answer would be to be specific: we love short stories and novellas in the modernist/postmodernist tradition.
Το δεύτερο βιβλιαράκι με τη σφραγίδα (στην κυριολεξία) Pilotless Press, το This Coming Fall, κυκλοφορεί ήδη και το παραγγέλνετε εδώ.
The book that you have now, yeah, sections of it have been published since 2008, but that should not imply that the book made any sense to me in 2008 at all. I finished a draft in 2010 that was almost nothing at all like this book. Nelson was still the main character and it still dealt with the theater troupe, but apart from that, it’s an entirely different book, an entirely different tone, and an entirely different plot. A lot of the stuff that was published in the New Yorker was sort of me trying to figure out the best way to tell the story and learning, in some ways, what the best story to tell was. I ended up coming back to “The Idiot President” after a long, long detour from another entirely different narrative direction.
How did you change your direction?
It was a pretty painful process, and I mean that pretty literally, to finish a novel and then realize that you’ve gone in the wrong direction and the only way to do anything about it is to cut 400 pages and start over. I showed it to a couple friends with a great deal of weariness and kind of a little bit of hope thinking that they were going to tell me that I was wrong, that this draft was good. And my friends, to their credit, were like “no, this draft is not good. I think you need to do something about it.” They didn’t tell me what I needed to do about it, but it became clear sort of meditating on what they told me at the end of 2010, that I needed to do something pretty radical with the book. So I did something very radical: I threw out everything.
[Στα ελληνικά κυκλοφορεί το Lost City Radio, με τίτλο Αγνοούμενοι FM, από τον Πάπυρο]