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Starving Artist Interview #5: Davis Schneiderman
January 25, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: art, interview | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Davis Schneiderman swoops in from above to scavenge more dead, dying, & live! writhing with desire! language while eagerly mocking us all. Davis was interviewed in MP#3 about collaborative fiction and his novel Abecedarium. Since then, here’s the news:

My novel, Drain, will be published in June 2010 by Northwestern University Press, with a fantastic afterword by Megan Milks. It’s about a near-future where Lake Michigan empties of water, and all sorts of crazy starving-artists stuff goes down. Why not pre-order a copy for your loved ones here? And I am trying to blog more often here.

1) If/when (now or in the past) you have used the term “starving artist”** in relation to yourself, how literal are we talking in terms of actual starving? What would you count as part of the territory that comes with being a “starving artist” and what would you disallow?

Davis Schneiderman

I use this term when reading Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist” which is sometimes translated as “The Fasting Artist” or “The Starving Artist” and fills itself with ennui and anonymity at the decline of public interest in the starving-artist spectacle. I read the story, conversely, after a feeding frenzy that consumes everything possible at the local all-you-can-eat/eat-all-you-can buffet establishments: Chinese and American. How much lo mein can i eat in one sitting? Can i make a steam-table parcel of reddish-pink Alaskan snow crab legs disappear by the time you finish a series of slow belches? Just you watch me, Kafka, just you watch.

2) What would you say is your general level of starving as a starving artist? By that, I mean, when you look around you, or think about starving artists in history, how would you place yourself in a kind of spectrum?

Less than Ghandi. More than Ben Kingsley.
3) What’s been your most profound moment as a starving artist in terms of suffering? Has this shaped how you view your art or how you view the world & humanity?

There was the time we were so cold and hungry in the orphanage and Miss Hannigan has a crazy scheme to get some hustlers to pose as my parents and trick my bald-headed dad with no eyes…but that drunken slut didn’t know Punjab would save me in a helicopter–so eat shit, Kafka! I’m living large now.

4) What has been your most profound moment as an artist in terms of what you would consider success?

This interview. It’s like having sex with myself, after eating a boatload of Twizzlers.

5) How much pride do you take in being a starving artist? Ultimately, do you think it’s worth it?

I take as much pride as possible from other people. If someone tells me he or she is proud of something, say, a suburban lawn, I reply, “Sure, if that’s what you want to believe.” Then, I add, in a sour mumble: “Whatever gets you through the night, Franz. ”

6) As a starving artist, do you enjoy NOT being part of mainstream America? Do you restrict your American cultural consumption calories, and if so how?

Please. When I first saw the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island, flaming sword in its hand, I knew I would eventually attend the Nature Theater of Oklahoma after having many adventures and writing much about this subject, here, in the journal Entertext.

7) Is there anything else you’d like to say about your journey, or your future, specifically to other starving artists out there? Moneysaving and moneymaking tips especially welcome.

The best way to make money is to participate in the underground economy: not drugs or the sex trade (yawn), but giving kids what they really want: augmented reality viewers that turn the real world into an endlessly unfolding stream of data that will identify those who are truly starving, downtrodden, and under the thumb of the American Dream. That way, it will be easier to take advantage of them by interrupting their subscriptions to Mildred Pierce.

**Feel free to substitute the term “starving intellectual.”

That’s very kind, but America is an anti-intellectual country and the best policy is to never substitute “artists” for “intellectuals”. It’s like trading barf for shit–both of which can be minimized by starving. Did you know, gentle reader, that there is evidence to show that one can extend one’s life by starving? The body will adapt to the minimal calorie intake and react accordingly. You will be weakened, rendered immobile, but you can outlive your oldest relatives and collect on their estates.


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[…] drain Hello! A great piece on Davis Schneiderman, interviewed in MP3 and also on this here blog, in the words of his collaborators (incl. moi) is over at The Kenyon Review, put together by […]

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