PHOTOS OF JOHN WERE TAKEN BY THE LOVELY Louisa Podlich.
Paper Darts: If you could compile a Norton anthology of writers that embody a new generation of literature, who would you include? Millions of undergrads would be forced to read this.
John Jodzio: They are dumbasses for not having done this already. Norton should totally put together an anthology with short stories from these writers:
Rebecca Curtis, Brock Clarke, Brian Evenson, George Saunders, Miranda July, Sam Lipsyte, Dan Chaon, Tom Perrotta, Kevin Wilson, Joe Meno, Alicia Erian, Etgar Keret, Junot Díaz, John Hodgman, David Foster Wallace, Arthur Bradford, Benjamin Percy, and Aimee Bender.
PD: Any favorite short story/novel by another author you wish you had written?
JJ: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about “Adams” by George Saunders. On one level it’s such an awesome and funny story, but then it’s also this wicked allegory on war. Wish I could figure out how to do something like that.
PD: What has been the best part of having your stories collected in If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home?
JJ: Having a book makes you into a much more public person––you need to meet people and give readings and organize events, otherwise your book is going to die a sad, unread death. I’ve really enjoyed all of the people I’ve met through having the book out in the world, and I’ve especially enjoyed all drinks (roofied and non-roofied) that they’ve bought for me. That said, I’m really looking forward to dialing things back a bit so I can concentrate on producing new stuff.
PD: Your writing process is extremely slow––you write one line, go back over it, write another line, go back over both, and so on. Do you approach all your work like this?
JJ: That’s the only way I can really write. It’s tedious and glacial and mostly horrible to have to work that way, but it’s the only way I get things done. I’ve always wished that some bolt of inspiration would hit me and a fully borne story would spill out, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen to me.
PD: You’re working on your first novel—why now?
JJ: I’ve got lots of reservations, but I think I finally have a good idea for a longer piece. I want to see if I can figure out how to write something that length that works, you know? That said, I don’t think I’m going to stray all that far away from my short story roots. I think it’s probably going to end up being a bunch of longer short stories that are all intertwiney.
PD: We’ve read that you labor over finding the perfect music to listen to while writing. Do you ever find lyrics accidentally creeping into a story or the tone of the writing feeling restricted by whatever song you’re listening to at the time? Or is music just a pure inspiration and momentum builder for you?
JJ: The stuff I listen to while I am writing rarely has lyrics (i.e. Deaf Center, Garamond, Gonzales, Max Richter). It’s usually movie soundtrack music for movies that don’t exist or if they do exist are mostly composed of someone staring out the window of a moving train at a field of windblown wheat. I don’t consciously think about matching things up musically while I write, but if I get stuck in a story I’ll totally switch songs to attempt to see if I can change the room’s dynamic.
PD: What do you think differentiates the Twin Cities art/ lit community from the art/lit communities in other cities you’ve lived in or visited?
JJ: The MSP art/lit scene is small enough to be pretty inclusive, but large enough to provide enough opportunity. There are probably more exciting things happening in bigger cities, but I’d argue that things in those bigger cities are probably way more soul crushing and harder to navigate. Living here is relatively cheap and grant money is pretty plentiful and you can get plugged into things pretty quickly, so what’s not to like?
PD: We stalked your goodreads.com profile. Can you give us a one word review on the following books?
JJ: Fugue State — Blood-diamonds.
Everything Was Fine Until Whatever — Boyfriend?
The Unnamed –– WALKING!
PD: Your pop culture taste at a judgeable glimpse:
PD: Movie you could watch 20 times?
JJ: Citizen Kane
PD: Band/song you always put on mixes for people?
JJ: Nas – “Get Down”
PD: Best popular catchphrase of the last 30 years?
JJ: “Bring me your finest meats and cheeses!”
PD: Pop culture icon with an undeserved bad rap?
JJ: Wesley Snipes
PD: Most overrated show of the last 10 years?
JJ: I fucking HATE GLEE.