Padgett Powell, "The Lunacy of Gumbo"

It's December 23. Padgett Powell, author of Cries for Help, Various and The Interrogative Mood, has a spice rack for the ages.

How would you describe your story?

PADGETT POWELL: A half-assed recipe, half-assed Life Adventure Taking 35 Years.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work? 

PP: I don’t know, I don’t know.

What kind of research went into this story? 

PP: Empirical.

What, to you, makes the short story a special form? What can it do that other kinds of writing (novels, poems) can't?

PP: It is special in that most are woefully undercooked as per Modern Tastes dictate. Cf. Trevor and O’Connor, William and Flannery, resp.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your writing?

PP: A kind fellow suggested I operate a web page, largely to capture domain name, and he framed it up for me, and as a Webfudd I have not added a thing to it. Will Amato is the Samaritan what hepped me with it and it is at, I think. But just Google me up. To paraphrase that criminal in The Thin Blue Line, Google is the one what knows.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

PP: Well, I’ve been wanting a Patterdale Terrier but don’t have to juice to go out to Floyd Boudreaux’s to get me one, even after calling him twice to tell him I was coming. Lafayette is a long way from Florida and I am trying to avoid becoming a dog lady. I did get my bulldog a spring-pole tug made of high-grade firehose from Stillwater Kennel Supply, and this is a good Christmas present for about anybody who wants something indestructible that will fit in a stocking.

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Michael Hingston