MOME Interview 4: Jonathan Bennett


gg: Right. Are you always taking mental notes, as you go through your daily routine?

jb: Not as much as I probably should, because I find myself desperately trying to dredge up a memory that I thought would have been a good idea. And I don’t always write them down, but I do always keep a sketchbook around, I usually have one in my bag or my pocket and try to write down ideas. But a lot of the times, they really do write themselves and it’s more exciting that way, to not have an idea of, “Oh, wait, I should make sure that this small detail comes out in one of my stories in the future.”

Instead, I know that I’ve seen these things, so I must be taking some sort of unconscious mental notes of them in order to remember them. It’s more like when I’m writing the story than I’m almost trying to remember how it happened, even though it didn’t necessarily happen to me. I’m trying to write down the story as if it were a memory, even if it didn’t really happen in any specific order. I may or may not have ever experienced that sort of thing.

gg: You’ve got to be extrapolating from memory but changing the context or changing the situation.

jb: Yeah, because these are all things that I’ve either witnessed or thought about it, or obsessed over. When they come out, it’s usually surprising, and hopefully it will work [Groth laughs], I hope that they fit into the story.

gg: This is how things would unfold if you actually sat on a park bench and watched pigeons for 20 minutes.

jb: Yeah, exactly, which never really happened. I saw the chicken bone being feasted on by a couple of pigeons a couple of years ago and that was just the seed for a story, but a lot of the stuff in that story, just sort of came out of that story as I was writing it, which worked I guess.

gg: It seems like a great way to work, really. It gives you free play. I’m always leery of people who create vast blueprints, and then follow them assiduously [Bennett laughs], rather than letting the story itself create more opportunities.

jb: It’s very limiting of course, and I really want to get away from it, at least for a little while, and try to bring two things together at once, so I have another style of working, at least. Because I really don’t like being tied down to that and making the same sort of stories.

gg: I look forward to a story from you with two people in it.

jb: Yeah. [Laughs.] It’ll happen, I think. I don’t know if it will be any good, but it will happen.

gg: A cast of two, or a cast of three.

jb: I think I’ll make that jump, hopefully for the next story, I don’t know, I haven’t even gotten started on it yet.

gg: We could put that in the press release.

jb: Yeah. [Laughs.] So we’ll see, we’ll see. I’m working on it. I just feel like I’ve hardly been doing this at all, even though I’ve been doing it for a few years now.

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