Interview with Brian Bahouth
1/“Evinrude” starts out carefree, but ends on a darker note, yet the narrator technically gets what he wanted. Is the narrator’s end proof of his failure or should we take a more optimistic view?
For me, “Evinrude” says we all chase something unattainable. We don’t think our object is unattainable, and that’s why we pursue it, but the fact is, we’ll never get there. The narrator in “Evinrude,” will never get to experience the sensation of sustained weightlessness he seeks, short of becoming an astronaut or dying. Attaining that floating sensation could just as well be finding true love or seeing the face of God.
2/You can be heard reading your short story, “Evinrude,” on the apt site. Is audio an integral part of your creation process?
I produce my stories to succeed as printed literary fiction and web based audio art, so I record audio editions of drafts along the way and base revision not only on the text but also the using the ear. I share audio and text of each piece with editors, and they use both the ear and the eye when providing feedback. With each recorded edition (usually three or four per story) I assemble music and associated sound design, which further affects total meaning and the revision process. Even though I consider the audio of my stories my highest artistic statement, literary merit is my primary goal.
3/Do you think that online literature needs supplemental material (such as audio) in order to be successful? For that matter, do you think that e-readers should embrace an audio format (that is, readers with an audio component built in)?
No, I think good writing can succeed no matter the medium. In the digital context, audio does make literary fiction more accessible, especially to those who may not be short story readers. Data shows fewer and fewer Americans take time to read for pleasure. I believe audio of good literary fiction recorded and produced with unlimited and thoughtful sound design could be a wildly popular form of literature. A form that has appeal to those who are seeking and appreciate the careful story and for those who have never studied critical theory. I also fancy my audio stories nearly unique in form. Each audio piece is more than a lone voice reading and adds an acoustic ecologist’s ear to the story telling art. I would like to see more people adding sound design and musical elements to their short fiction and poetry. I believe this embellished form of digital literature holds great artistic and commercial promise. And yes, every e-reader should be able to play audio.
4/Sum up your work on apt in five words: go!
unrequited madness desparate folly cold
Brian Bahouth’s story, “Evinrude,” can be seen in the first print issue of apt, which can be purchased here.