I want to tell ancient stories in a unique way. In this endeavor,
I'm influenced by a very odd group of characters, primarily Jorge
Borges, Joseph Campbell, Lao Tzu, and Raymond Chandler.
For Borges, mystery stories are the highest achievement of
literature because "there is nothing in the world that is not
mysterious." Campbell makes it very clear that ancient stories are still
alive, that "the current iteration of Oedipus is standing on the corner
of 43rd street, waiting for the light to change." From Lao Tzu I try to
understand that the truth said in words isn't the truth;
words can only point or suggest or imply. And for practical matters,
what can be more important than Raymond Chandler's instruction,
"If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."
Which is to say that I hope to write stories that are more
than they seem.The Flap Tucker series is a loving parody of the
noir ethos with Zen riddles. Each Fever Devilin novel is a
contemporary take on an ancient folktale. The Christopher Marlowe
books are all at least as interested in the metaphysics as they are in
spies. The current Foggy Moscowitz series hopes to synthesize all
these admittedly strange elements.
My theatre work follows the same path, elements of mystery
and metaphysics, with a hint of social commentary. Edward Foote
is a twisted variant of the Oedipus mythology set in Depression era
Appalachia. Foxglove is a retelling of Tristan and Isolde set in the 1950s,
with folk tunes. And a current work-in-progress involves Appalachian variants
of Grimm stories.
In 1965, Miss May, my tenth grade English teacher, told me I
should write. I agreed. In 1969, my folklore professor, Dr. Burrison,
told me to go research Appalachia. I went. In the late 1970s, Joseph
Campbell told me to use the mythology to write. I did. That, in short,
is how I got here.