Bizarro Pulp Press is proud to introduce Jame Grefe, professional screenwriter and world traveler. His newest book features two novellas, Static and Orgone. The beautiful cover was crafted by Matthew Revert, with exceptional interior illustrations from renown artist Luke Spooner. Static/Orgone drops on October 11, 2016!

13770365_10155117958612699_4388554825123307446_nHow do you define the word “bizarro” as it applies to fiction?

I don’t recall who first said this, but I still admire the “Bizarro is the cult section of the video store” definition. For me, that definition stretches the skin of bizarro quite wide to mash-up an array of interesting genres tropes, manipulate styles of narrative exploration, and leaves plenty of room for literary experimentation. The definition also preserves a fine (or trashy or artful) cinematic quality, which gets my imagination gurgling in a productive direction, and it was that cinematic frame that helped propel my first bizarro book, The Mondo Vixen Massacre into existence. It was also that frame that’s stuck with me through all of my work since then.

How does Static/Orgone fit the bizarro aesthetic?

Both novellas were informed by that “cult section” definition, or feel like it in retrospect. Static features a mansion of fleshy mutability, a hapless man trapped in a kind of sexual death-loop, and doors that are memory-portals or parallel universe portals. Orgone melts even further from reality with a gigantic frozen naked woman, her chest entering into a meditation chamber, psychokinetic assassination, holographic representations of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, an octopus, and sadomasochistic performance art that doubles as shamanic healing. The beautiful thing is that in both of these novellas, the strangeness is organic to the story.

Does your experience as a screenwriter influence how you approach writing a narrative?

I’m sure my understanding of screenwriting blends into my fiction, whether that be through how a plot is constructed, mapped out (or not), how a climax unfolds to completion, or how my imagination likes to frame narratives a whole and use narrative techniques informed by cinema like close-ups, zooms, certain quick-cuts from scene to scene, etc. I think Robert Coover once talked about the mind as camera lens in fiction or how a story could be framed in such a way. His Lucky Pierre really captures that well. Also, Stephen Graham Jones’ The Last Final Girl and Demon Theory are both perpetual inspirations in how to approach a cinematic understanding of literary fiction. Perhaps I’m groping for that kind of impact in my own work. Perhaps I’ll always be groping for that kind of impact. Also, length. I love novella-length projects, literary experiences that a reader can knock out in one or two sittings. A screenplay should be the same way, no? One sitting? Two sittings, tops?

You have seemingly lived all over the world; is there a specific place that had an impact on your writing?

Ibaraki and Tokyo, Japan were where the seedling took root via improvised music, but Beijing was the place where I really started understanding myself as someone who is able to write. I wrote The Mondo Vixen Massacre and many pieces of flash fiction in a tenth-floor condominium, windows cranked open, hearing the grating drone of the city, a massively different language, the smells of traffic congestion and cigarette smoke, the smog, the swelter. All of that fed into the hyperrealistic violence of my work. I’ll always hold Beijing as the faraway place that spawned this journey, a journey that has since taken me to Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and now, Los Angeles.

Did you approach the construction of Static/Orgone differently than your other work? What was different?

The first draft of both novellas took shape during my time as a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at New England College. Static was written under the guidance of Katie Farris, author of the supremely enchanting boysgirls. I’m forever indebted to her brilliance, her open-mindedness, and her amazing ability to steer me further and further down Static’s nightmarish rabbit hole(s). Orgone was a winter project written under the guidance of the masterful Matt Bell, author of Scrapper and other tremendous works. Matt was extremely supportive of the project and is a guru of style, ever encouraging the weirdness, ever helping to stretch the project to a more grounded, yet richly complex place. Without those two mentors and without my MFA peers, neither of these novellas would be as good as I believe they have become.

Was there any specific art that had an impact on your approach to Static/Orgone?

Yes. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s books on psychomagic, Nurse With Wound, John Hawkes (the author), Preacher, Brian Evenson’s Dark Property, Gregory Dark, Sunn O))), Lars Von Trier, Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, Barry Gifford, Japanese butoh, Reichian breathing techniques, Rudolf Eb.er, Alice Kemp, and Roger Watkins (aka Richard Mahler).

What kind of reader would enjoy Static/Orgone?

I think Static/Orgone will appeal to longtime bizarro readers who take their coffee black and are looking for a heady narrative experience that quickly plummets into the savory abyss of anxiety and violence (and humor). It should also appeal to a more general readership who want to straddle the boundaries between poetry and fiction and/or are interested in exploring a different, more painful way of approaching the erotic.

What are some of artistic influences?

This ebbs and flows, but Nic Pizzolatto, S. Craig Zahler, Rabelais, Tom Six, John Carpenter, Vinegar Syndrome, Harold Budd, old Merzbow, Xiu Xiu, Circle (NWOFHM), David Lynch, Dario Argento, Vincent Gallo, PFFR, Bela Tarr, Mickey Keating, Scream Queens (the show), Rob Zombie films, Takashi Miike, Russ Meyer, 1981 slashers, E.M. Cioran, giallo, and Saint John Perse would be a few.

What are you currently reading?

I just picked up two books by Peter Straub that I’m excited to dig into, but currently slashing through Matt Serafini’s Under the Blade and Gary J. Shipley’s Crypt(o)spasm.

What advice do you have for writers who want to jump into the publishing game?

Here’s one method that could potentially be of use:

  1. Become a better reader (and read widely).
  2. Complete projects, whether it’s a short story or a novel. Just finish, finish, finish.
  3. Revise and/or rewrite your project, until you feel you need to let it go.
  4. Write better. Read better. Revise better.
  5. Submit your project and/or queries to publishers (or to agents).
  6. Be prepared for rejection. Be cordial. Be personable. Fail better (Beckett).
  7. Write better. Read better. Revise better.
  8. Understand why you got rejected. Use that knowledge to get better.
  9. Write better. Read better. Revise better.
  10. Keep submitting your work. Keep refining your work (and finishing your projects).

Bio

Jamie Grefe writes within rooms of the darkly comedic, the surreal, and the horrific. His first book, The Mondo Vixen Massacre, was published in 2013 by Eraserhead Press. In 2015, Rooster Republic Press published his surrealistic love letter to Japan, Domo ArigaDIE!!! Grefe is also responsible for the official novelizations of comedians Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington’s Adult Swim web-series Decker: Classified and Decker: Port of Call: Hawaii. His short work has appeared in Birkensnake, elimae, LIES/ISLE, New Dead Families, and Sein Und Werden among other places. Unfnished Business, a feature-length horror film he co-wrote, is currently in post-production. Grefe has also worked with performance artist Rudolf Eb.er (of Runzelstirn and Gurglestock) as well as film director and producer Jim Wynorski. Grefe’s website is http://jamiegrefe.com

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