Ask the Author: Lincoln Michel

Two of Lincoln Michel’s fictions appear in the January issue. He talks with us about the Wu-Tang sword, face slapping as a motivational tool, what he would hunt and more.

1. What rank would you like to have in the KISS Army?

I’m afraid that I’m more likely to study under the Wu-Tang sword than enlist in the KISS army. My stance is that you can only get away with dressing in leather, spikes, and scary clown make-up if you are in a Norwegian black metal band or if you’re a children’s party clown with a mean streak.

2. In the second paragraph of “The Solider”, you say this “I would like to make a point here about violence inflicted on one person being passed down to another in an endless cycle.” What made you break the wall between narrator and reader?

The simplest answer is that is how the story came to me. Often pieces, especially short pieces, come to me more or less wholly formed. However, a more interesting answer might be that I tire of the simplistic psychology and direct morality employed in so much fiction, especially realist fiction. That one line of dialogue is what directly leads to the protagonist’s final epiphany, this character’s horrible deed is explained by this specific scene in flashback, etc. Life is a mess of confusion and absurdity. So many writers tend to make the world much more cartoonish and simple in their efforts to “realistically” portray it. Perhaps I’m taking a little jab at that tradition.

3. Who would you slap across the face to motivate them?

I have very large, yet sensitive hands. I do not slap with them. Instead, I rub them in a variety of organic oils and artisanal lotions every morning. After they have dried in the summer sun, I slide them into the velvet lining of my metal gloves. These are the iron gauntlets I use to rule.

4. What would you hunt? How would you go about hunting it?

You know how there are all those movies that revolve around the idea of a rich British sportsman deciding to hunt the most dangerous game of all (man!)? I always wanted to make a movie with the same premise, but when the modern humans are taken from their cars and computers and air-dropped into the secluded hunting grounds, they are all too incompetent and lazy to survive and are all shot and killed in the first few moments. The rest of the film would just be the evil sportsmen and his accomplices sitting around and shrugging.

5. What things have you salted so they could not grow back?

Everyone I’ve ever loved, everyone who has ever called me a name, slugs, my first attempt at a novel, my second attempt at a novel, hopes and dreams, the failed vegetable garden in my childhood home, my conclusions, the pets I accidentally buried in an ancient, haunted Indian burial ground that came back to life and had to be killed again in gruesome fashion and prevented from blighting the earth again with their undead howls, the rivers, the moon, the hills, the stars, all of the fish of the sea, all of the birds in the sky, and all of the beasts and animals of the earth, even squirrels. I use a lot of salt. I carry around a large sack of it on my back at all times. I like the kosher kind with the gigantic flakes.

6. How would you cultivate a beard? Would you stroke it whenever you had a thought?

Since I was a child, I’ve had a habit of touching my face when I think or think I’m thinking or wish to fool others into thinking I’m thinking. Now that I actually have a beard, the motion finally seems appropriate.