Interview with Edward E. Rochon

Published 2019-08-19.
Any eBook Literary Regrets?
To improve writing skills: write. Publish to publish better? It is easier for more writers to publish with eBooks. I just unpublished an essay (titled: New Pythagoras) purporting to demonstrate another theorem proving commensurable values for all line segments. The particular method has been swimming in my mind for years. I think I have it and do not. There is some sort of psychic compulsion about it. I seem to bamboozle myself. My head swims on this particular method. I told myself to hold back. I told myself to put it on the line and see if anyone attacks it. Better to eat crow than forebear. I attacked it and unpublished. Hey, it is a theorem, logic, true or not. What is the problem? And not all that complicated in essence, but I have tunnel vision to some degree. And I already have worked out refutations of irrational numbers, besides. My views of other writers, fiction or non-fiction, have a certain constancy of judgment. Opinions can change over time and so preferences. I have wild swings about my own poetry, fiction and non-fiction. It varies with the time of reading. Hey, that's not too bad. Or then, God, what was I thinking? On rereading, it is terrible. Fortunately, I all but never think anything is up to the mark, perfect. Nothing is complete, up to the mark for fallible man. The Mona Lisa is never done. Virgil wanted to burn that opus so many praise. This is not uncommon. I wrote a novel once, once, only once. Not my style at this stage of life. I like one thread, short and sweet. It would seem the secret is to sew many short stories together to create subplots and bulk. I had one central theme, knew it was far too short and tried to pad, resentful and bitter in the process. I was not a short story writer prior to the novel or into fiction. I wrote some plays before that. Yeah, I have some regrets.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hermann Hesse has a musical quality to his writings in German. Surprisingly, anglophone translators do a pretty good job translating Hesse (English speakers are notoriously bad translators. Great anglophone authors are generally not scholars. Samuel Beckett is a notable exception, but then 'Waiting for Godot' could have been written by any semi-literate.) George Eliot had a fluid style, but I do not like Middlemarch. I prefer Silas Marner when she wrote like a man. In the following decade between Marner and Middlemarch, she must have been outed. Not the biggest pouf in Britannia could have possibly believed Middlemarch was written by a man. Whoever outed George did a great disservice to English literature, according to my literary taste. Blake, Tennyson, T. S. Eliot, Yeats, Robert Frost, Coleridge, Poe and Matthew Arnold wrote some poems I like.
Pourquoi les traductions françaises?
Pour le lecteur français: je commence à écrire un peu en français. Faux amis, des erreurs de traduction de Google, et les idiomes sont toujours un problème. Je passai six mois traduisant une pièce de théâtre une fois. Maintenant, je suis impatient et tout simplement devine. Mes yeux sont fatigués, et je ne veulent pas passer par la peine. Je vais voir comment ça se passe, et je pourrais corriger plus tard. Comme pour la ponctuation? Parlez-en à Google.
What authors influence your work?
I need an editor not authors. [Correction: I need perfection not editors. Changed my nickname from Ed to Ward. Rather than Ed-It (my It girl), I prefer Ward-Off (an Off girl as in F off! Bugger off!] It is all about the harmony of the synapses, in the groove, the zone, you see. If I like something in the work of another author, it is only because that is the way that I would do it. Writers tend to have a lower opinion of the great writers than the public at large. I am no exception to this dictum. The idea of a co-author does appeal to me sometimes. I definitely prefer she to he, sexually attractive than not, loyal friend to disloyal rival. It has long been my opinion that the truly great books will ultimately come from male/female co-ed writing. Shakespeare, Racine and that crowd will fade into the background along with Homer, Virgil, Dickens, Poe and the rest.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
It is necessary to stay healthy and to keep the pain away.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I practice on the harmonica, do Pilates, Qi Gong, kickboxing, and stretching exercises. I look up stuff on the Internet. Mostly, I do household chores. Household chores includes formatting and reformatting my eBooks. Editing can be writing as in re-writing. Formatting is simply drudgery compounded with ignorance. Smashwords has a sizable styles guide; I have a sizable memory problem. Add to this: misunderstanding, computer problems, irritability and enough is enough, and the eBook goes out half-assed. Paying people to do it costs money without any assurance that it will make any difference. The world is filled with books that nobody reads. However, I never put out anything that in my opinion people cannot figure out. I am slowly improving my formatting skills.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse sites or get ads from distributors. I read very little literature other than my own and prefer audio books. My eyes are weakening with age.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
An unfinished book about the further adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
What is your writing process?
I prefer to write fast. My motive is what I am interested in more than what I know. Look up info on what interests you and learn something. Of course Shakespeare and Homer knew about those people who existed centuries before them or were myths! Apart from diaries and autobiography (mandatory to write about what you know), writing about what you know is a bad idea. If you must write on these matters, T. S. Eliot's advice to write many years afterwards and with emotional detachment from the subject sounds apt. How long should you wait? Ideally, until after you are dead. No one is perfect and I have violated my own advice in the past. I used the excuse that since I attempted suicide a number of times, that this justified the exception.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was a primer in grade school with someone called Zeke as a mentor to the kids. Zeke was a strange name to me. I believe Zeke drove a steam shovel (real steam), if I remember correctly. It was a good book in my opinion at the time.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Bible - It covers the gamut of human affairs.
2. Silas Marner - Eliot writes well.
3. Huckleberry Finn - It's a kid's book and brings back memories of finding a way to grow up without harm.
4. David Copperfield - It's another growing up book to manhood.
5. The Snow Goose - a book for the wounded heart.
What do you read for pleasure?
Nothing anymore, I read for my health.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A big ass high resolution computer screen. I recently bought a Nook to replace my broken Sony Reader. Big ass screens keep you awake and not good to doze off at night, the time I read my Nook.
Describe your desk
They can get messy. I seldom have room for a big desk and the computer robs me of writing space. So I write on clipboards or portable lap desks to compensate. Currently I write in a standing position to allow fatigue to remind me to take breaks. It is probably better for the posture, but I still stoop into the monitor. The computer off of my desk gives me more space on my little crappy desk.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don't have any so I just write. On second thought, writing is a marketing technique. Every time I post something new to Smashwords, my other works get more sample downloads.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My early memories were of small towns in Upstate New York. I later moved to the Boston area and lived in many places around there. I write from interior motivations. Place probably has little to do with it apart from the language used.
When did you first start writing?
Twelve years old.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This question is a bit tedious to keep up with. I have had a new language in mind for some time, and probably always will. It is a hell of a chore to create a language from scratch. Anyone for talking in tongues care of the Holy Spirit? I am dead set against just one universal language, too constricting, and any language you may care to create has advantages and disadvantages over any other you might conceive. Let us work on first rate computer translators, please. I am thinking about writing just for God. He should make a great editor and critic. Keep him happy and you're set for life. We must keep busy in growing wiser.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I couldn't get published in print.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Define success. I am not making a living off of writing nor on anyone's best seller list. Well, maybe it is for the best. Celebrity-ness sucks, right?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I want to get my views across in hopes of making a better world. I recently read Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, the great American sage. His advice was to sell ideas by opting your own egotism out of the sale. He found it better to solicit funds for civic improvement by ascribing the ideas to others. I can be abrasive and worry about making enemies and being ignored because of personal dislike for the author. I try to float my ideas in the ethereal heights so to speak, where my own interests apart from the rest of the world are not paramount. Franklin at times wrote under pseudonyms. I have thought of that but got off to a bad start. It is hard for an author to ascribe ideas to others. But then much of what I write came from others in many respects. I just edit it to a large extent. Homer edited The Iliad. Shakespeare stole from the actors' sides built up over the centuries, stole from his fellow actors and so on. I have very little doubt about this. It was harder for a man like Victor Hugo to steal and take credit. Racine, Corneille obviously dipped into Greek drama, probably improving it. Anyway, if people do not care for my overall zeitgeist, take my views on minimum wage at their own worth, for example. I really do not care if other people run with the ball while disagreeing with much of what else I support. This whole matter is a problem and is a counterpoint to satisfaction derived from writing. Perhaps I should go back to fiction under a pseudonym and sneak my ideas into Sherlock Holmes, Huckleberry and that type of characterization.
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