First things first:
Eclectic Flash Magazine launched its amazing inaugural online issue this week. I have a piece on page 26 in the fiction section. Since the issue includes over 50 talented poets and authors I could not be more pleased that my piece Bowling Night was included. I can't wait for the print copy to arrive in my mailbox so I can hold it in my hot little hands.
Now on to today's tQt:
Today Miscellaneous Yammering is pleased and proud and actually slightly giddy with anticipation of his answers to present you with the lovely and talented very macho, very bright, sometimes serious, sometimes quirky, sometimes just plain wacky but always entertaining Brad Nelson the Chief Editor of Eclectic Flash Magazine. Brad works a full time job, edits the magazine, shares the joint responsibility with his lovely wife of raising a young family, writes and submits his own work all over the place and oh yeah just for fun he's getting his MFA while he juggles everything else that life throws at him. Since we only have him for a few minutes and then a helicopter is whisking him off to an undisclosed secret location, everybody please sit up and pay attention [because I wouldn't want you to miss anything] and help me give a warm round of applause to welcome Brad Nelson to Ten Questions Tuesday.
K: Thanks for fitting today's interview into your insane schedule Brad. It's good to have you here. And hey, thanks so much for shaving before you came in, that beard you had before scared the bejesus out of me.
B: Thanks for having me. It's good to be here. And about the beard: In my defense, I was 13 or 14 months into a 15-month deployment to Iraq, so I couldn't be held responsible for my, uh, grooming habits—or sanity. Needless to say, after returning home from Iraq, my wife had that beard shaved clean before I could even take off my boots. It was the old ultimatum: "Either (insert the thing your wife can't stand here, in my case the beard) goes or I go." Now I'm sporting a much tamer version, without the dreadlocks.
K: The new version looks great on you, and I like your wife already. Can I get you some more pie? Or another beer? No? Ok then, if you're ready, I'm ready so let's get started with
TEN QUESTIONS FOR BRAD NELSON
K: Brad, don't take this the wrong way, but you're kind of a wild man. The first day we met and you showed me your backyard samurai video I knew that you were my kind of people. But I really have to ask you, when you licked the ketchup off the really really really sharp sword were you at all worried about slicing off your tongue?
B: Funny you thould athk that.
K: You used to be an army interrogator, have you found that your army training serves you at all in your role as editor of a magazine?
B: No. Let the record state that I have never yelled at any of my editors in an effort to get their feedback on submissions in a timely manner, and let the record further state that I have never interrogated an editor in an effort to discover exactly how the internet "ate" his responses for that week's submissions. Furthermore, I can neither confirm nor deny the use of "extreme measures" to coerce an editor to change his or her opinion of a submission. Does that answer your question?
K: I happen to know that you really enjoy zombies and the undead in general. Is there anything traumatic from your childhood that you'd like to share?
B: Yes, and it still haunts me to this day. Remember the book fairs we had back in school, usually junior high and middle school? Remember the one-dollar bargain book table? Well, I didn't have much money growing up, so all of my book fair books came from the bargain table. And in the sixth grade, I found myself at the book fair with one dollar in my pocket and very few books staring up at me from the bargain table. A blue one with "God" in the title caught my eye, so I picked it up and read the back cover. It was something about a sixth-grader dealing with school and growing up. Hey, I'm a sixth-grader dealing with school and growing up, I thought.
Well, I bought the book and ended up learning about pre-teen female issues—buying bras, having your first period, sanitary napkins, boobs from a female perspective, etc.—way before any boy should have to. Why didn't the lady selling the books know better than to let a little boy buy that book? I still imagine that lady getting together with friends at some librarian bar, laughing and saying, "This round's on me, girls. You'll never guess what book I just sold to a little sixth-grade boy."
Damn Judy Blume and her Are You There, God? It's me, Margaret. I'm sorry. I can't talk about this anymore.
K: Your work has a lot of range to it from flash filled with gore and blood and guts to really quite lyrical romantic poetic pieces. I think I understand how you tap into the blood and guts but how do you get in touch with your more feminine side?
B: AHHHHH, DAMN YOU JUDY BLUME!!!
K: Are you ever frustrated when something that's submitted to EF that you love gets vetoed by your editing staff?
B: Yes and no.
Yes because I have to go and tell someone his or her piece "isn't what we are looking for right now, but please continue to submit more work," when what I would like to say is "this piece is amazing and I would be happy to include it in the next issue of Eclectic Flash."
No because, as the name implies, our publication is eclectic. We are attempting to appeal to a wide audience, and you can bet if our editors—ranging in age from 22 to 77, with both males and females—all agree on a piece, then it definitely has merit and will appeal to the broadest group of readers.
K: I can't imagine you reading your gorier flash to your very young son, but I can imagine you reading books that are age appropriate to him. When you read to him do you do the voices and the animal sounds?
B: Yes. And while I was in Iraq, I would record video of myself reading to him at least once a month, and then mail him the book and the video—of daddy with crazy eyes and dreadlock beard reading Green Eggs and Ham. My wife played them for him nightly, and he cried himself to sleep wondering who the psycho on the TV was.
My son is three now, and his favorite book—at least for this week—is Dr. Seuss's Star-Belly Sneetches. He calls them "Strawberry Sneetches," and it cracks me up when he "reads" it to himself, half remembering and half making it up as he goes along based on the pictures like all kids do.
K: You're among friends here, so tell us what was the last thing that you bought in the toy store that was "for your son" but you actually bought it so you could play with it?
B: Are you kidding me? Every single toy I have ever bought him has actually been for me. They have to be. He makes me play with them for hours on end with him. So far, I have forced my love of samurai swords upon him, as well as my love of dinosaurs, fishing, Nerf guns, classic board games, indoor rock climbing, Hot Wheels cars, books, soccer balls, baseballs, and the list goes on and on.
K: Do you have a hidden talent like pulling your shoulder out of the socket to escape straight jackets, wiggling your ears or telepathy………… anything like that?
B: And you claim to have watched the Backyard Samurai Vs. the bottle of ketchup video? I'll let you in on a little secret. That video was originally three seconds long, including the opening title shot and closing comments. The special effects wizards responsible for The Matrix movies had to work their magic on that video just so mortals could view it.
K: Childhood hero? Favorite band? Worst movie you ever saw?
B: Freddie Krueger? Wait, um… He-man? GI Joe? Uh… No, I guess it was Freddie. He was so cool, definitely the best part of growing up in the '80s. There has never been another decade of children growing up in such fear for their lives. God bless you, Freddie Krueger.
I don't think I have a favorite band, which was probably the worst part of growing up in the '80s. Wait, can I change my answer? Nah, never mind, I don't have a favorite band. I'm listening to Ben Folds Five right now, and Ben is trying to get me to vote for them.
Worst movie? Twilight! (Whoops, did I just say that out loud?)
K: If you were ruler of the universe what would be the first change that you would implement to impose your will on the lesser mortals under your control?
B: Are you familiar with the Warhammer dark fantasy novels? Oh, just the first change, huh? Well, as Supreme High Samurai Overlord of the Universe, my first decree would be: (my voice would thunder in all caps, of course) THERE SHALL BE NO SPARKLY VAMPIRES!
K: Thank you Brad for coming in to visit with me today. To show my appreciation I'd like to present you with this custom Miscellaneous Yammering velvet smoking jacket to wear when you sit on your patio with your pipe. In deference to the fact that you live in the desert I asked the tailor to make it without sleeves. Wear it in good health and let me know if it starts a fashion trend in your home town.
B: If I might ask a final favor: could you have your tailor also cut it off above the navel?
[the scene fades out with Karen laughing hysterically]
I'm pleased to announce that the Nelson's added a new son to their family on December 26, 2009.
You can see Brad Nelson's very interesting mind at work here at Weirdyear and also here at The New Flesh.