Interview With Tony Rauch, Author of Eyeballs Growing All Over Me . . . Again
Book Divas had the chance to interview Tony Rauch, the author of Eyeballs Growing All Over Me . . . Again. With a title like that, we know the book has quite a ride in store for us. Tony shares a little about his latest collection of short, unusual stories, and what inspires him to write with whimsy.
Tell us little bit about yourself.
I write short, imaginative stories.
I have three books of short stories published. The first two are more adult related, though young adults may enjoy them depending on their understanding of the themes -“I'm right here” (spout press) and “Laredo” (Eraserhead Press). The third story collection is geared to Young Adults - “Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again” (Eraserhead Press) An additional Young Adult title is forthcoming in the next few weeks - “As I floated in the jar.”
My short stories are imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal, fantasy, sci-fi, and fairy tale adventures. The underlying themes relate to fragility, uncertainty, impermanence, the mysteries hidden in everyday life, a sense of discovery, escape, concealment, ennui, regret, loneliness, technology run amok, eerie vibes, irresponsible behavior, confusion, absurd situations, odd gadgets, surrealism, modern fairy tales, story starters for young adults and reluctant readers, etc.
As far as my personal life . . . well, I really don't have one so there's not much to know. I'm watering my lawn right now. Later I will make myself lunch for tomorrow. Yep, it's pretty much a non-stop party over here.
With Halloween right around the corner, what are some of your favorite horror movies? Why?
I don't like horror because to me it's not inventive enough; it's all been done before, and it doesn't pose any large questions for me or make me think. When I was a kid I liked Salem's Lot, Equinox, and one other TV movie from the ‘70s that had to do with a coven of witches in contemporary times. I can't remember the title, but they sewed a guy's mouth and eyes shut because he saw their mating ritual in the woods.
These movies were scary to me then, but would not be now. I guess I just have trouble suspending reality enough to think they would ever happen. Perhaps that's just a sign of me getting older. In looking at it now, it seems like the characters in the horror I liked as a kid were closer to my age, so maybe it felt like those things could happen to me as they were being experienced by some of my contemporaries.
Who are your biggest writing influences?
A big long list. The main ones -
Donald Barthelme, J.D. Salinger, Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Leonard Michaels (Murderers), Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Barry Yourgrau, Mark Leyner, James Tate (Return to the City of White Donkeys), Rod Serling, L. Sprague De Camp, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick.
These writers make me think about possibilities and are entertaining and concise.
Hardest part about writing a book?
Marketing after the book is published. Sitting and doing the time it takes. Waiting for my publisher to actually put it out.
The actual writing itself and crafting an interesting tale is not difficult, just the amount of time it takes is the hard part - doing the time.
Why did you opt to write an anthology instead of a more traditional narrative?
I have a lot of ideas and it's easier and faster to explore them in the short form. If I sat down and took the time to do a novel it may not turn out or get accepted for publication. Whereas a series of short stories is fast to do and if it's not accepted then I didn't waste a lot of time invested into something that wasn't going anywhere.
Plus, I just like the challenge of the short form. I'm more of a sprinter, less of a marathoner. I would get bored writing a novel after a while. To me most novels seem overly bloated with unneeded background filler.
Why did you want to be an author?
I like art and literature and wanted to be involved in it in some way. A good way to explore and understand literature was to try writing it. I was always an artist, an “ideas” person, and a conceptual artist in search of an art form where I could do well.
So, I tried all sorts of art forms and was most comfortable with creative short fiction. Plus it is an art form that allows you to be inventive and propose ideas that can be mass-produced and seen by many people.
Why do you think people like getting scared?
To suddenly be in another state of mind. To feel something on a primal level, waking them up and causing them to feel alive. To feel out of control for a moment.
Scariest moment of your life?
Social embarrassment when the situation is entirely my fault. For some reason those are scarier than the several near death experiences I've had. Maybe because they were my fault and anything else was just arbitrary serendipity.
Why do you feel reading is important?
It gets you thinking. It puts you in another state of mind. It keeps you out of trouble. You are connecting with at least one other person (the writer, and possibly the protagonist) on a very intimate and often private level, living their lives.
The adventure of experiencing things you would otherwise normally not have the opportunity or time to. It is another means to investigating, learning and/or understanding something.
How do you feel about turning books into movies?
Movies are formulaic and boring. Books are books and movies are movies—they are two separate and different matters, so it doesn't matter if someone turns a book into a movie because changing the art form then changes the viewpoint of the piece. They are two separate and distinct objects that must be viewed out of context from one another, like comparing apples to hubcaps.
Television seems to be the best visual medium for storytelling—the long form of a series like Mad Men or Breaking Bad or a miniseries where you really have time to explore the subject in a variety of perspectives. Movies are too brief. They might as well be poems or music videos—just brief snapshots.
Books, too, are more expansive than movies and you get the inner monologue in books that are difficult to achieve in movies without the use of a voice over. I like TV and books. Movies are too short and too much like visual sound bites. Movies are too contrived and formulaic.
Gilbert, the Sexy Robot was my favorite story: Growing up did you ever wish to have something like Gilbert to help you meet people?
No, because for some reason when I was younger I would always hang out with a lot of other kids my age. Even past college. Looking back now I find that interesting. So while when I was younger I lived in a neighborhood full of children, I guess I wouldn't have needed a robot like that to help meet people, though it would've been nice to have even more people around, especially when we would play football or hide and seek. So a robot would be useful in those applications.
It would be nice to have a robot like the one in the story now though as my free time is tragically limited.
What makes you a Book Diva?
A tragically short attention span. Holding people to their promises, especially when they think they don't have to be accountable for their promises. No attention span. General irritability, mostly due to sleep depravation. Severely limited attention span.
Passion for my work. Belief in my work. Having a clear vision for my work. No attention span. Follow through. Exuberance mixed with angst. No attention . . . What? . . Huh? . . .
About eyeballs growing all over me . . . again
eyeballs growing all over me . . . again is a 140 page short story collection of imaginative, whimsical, dreamy, absurd, surreal fantasy, sci-fi, and fairy tale adventures. These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers. Some of the pieces are absurdist or surreal adventures that hearken back to imaginative absurdism, sci-fi, and fantasy of the 1950s.
With themes of longing, discovery, secrets, escape, eeriness, surprises, and strange happenings in everyday life, readers will delight in these brief but wondrous adventures such as a man comes home to discover a Bigfoot-like creature watching his TV, a giant robot pays a visit to a couple, a girl becomes so ill she has her head replaced with a goat head, and someone wakes to discover little eyes growing all over his body.
About Tony Rauch
Tony Rauch is the author of Eyeballs Growing All Over Me . . . Again. He has been been interviewed by the Prague Post, the Oxford University student paper in England, Rain Taxi, and has been reviewed by the MIT paper, Rain Taxi, and the Savanna College of Art and Design paper, among many others.
Tony’s next book “as i floated in the jar” will be released in 2013 and explores stories such as a lonely girl finds a small spaceship in the woods, a stranger extracts a baby from a man waiting for the bus, and a gang travels into the past to escape a regression plague that slowly turns people back into primates.
Visit his website to see more samples of his work.