In this quick, crisp and subtly humorous interview, the author of One Note Symphonies talks about his book, his lack of influences, his favourite words, reasons for publishing, his other work and more.
Interview by Magdalena Ball
Magdalena Ball: Tell me about the origin of One Note Symphonies.
Sean Brijbasi:I can’t really remember how it started. I believe it was in a haze following a party walking down some street in Baltimore at 4 in the morning. An idea came to me.
MB: Did you feel constrained by the need to put your pieces into a “short story” slot?
SB: No, not at all. I really haven’t given that much thought.
MB: Did you write the pieces separately or with a sense of the whole work/or a unifying theme?
SB: Since I wrote them one after the other, I think that there is a unifying theme that connects the pieces. I didn’t force it onto the stories, however, it just sort of crawled into the work’s ear and buzzed a bit here and buzzed a bit there. Buzz buzz buzz. That being said, it’s mostly a work about disconnection. Or is it?
MB: Is there indeed a unifying theme to the work? Can you talk about it a bit (one way or the other – eg if there is a theme, tell me about it. If no theme, why did you choose not to have one).
SB: The unifying theme changes depending on what angle one holds the book while reading it. Sometimes it’s better to not touch it while reading it, or maybe have someone read it to you. Sometimes that’s best.
MB: Tell me about your “Martins” – are they related (or even in some way, one character)?
SB: It’s possible that they are related. They were all borne of the same mind. But they are different minds.
MB: Why did you self-publish?
SB: Because I didn’t know any better.
MB: Would you do it again?
SB: Yes, I suppose I would. I don’t think mainstream publishers are ready for me.
MB: Is this your first book, and if so, tell me about some of the other writing you have done in the past, and why you decided to take the plunge with a full length work.
SB: This is my first book, but I’m working on other things now. I don’t know why I wanted to take the plunge. I thought it was good and I thought it should be read. I thought I was onto something new, something original. I suppose that was the reason. I’ve also been told that I am arrogant and immature, but I don’t think that was the reason.
MB: Talk to me a bit about your unique narrative voice. How did it arise?
SB: I’m not sure how it arose. That’s the voice that came out while writing them. That is, I didn’t force the voice, it just happened.
MB: Who are your major influences?
SB: I can’t say honestly that I’ve had any major influences. If I did I would be making something up after the fact. But I do like the word “gooder” and now “kindful” is entering my vocabulary. How about that?
MB: Do you think that linear narratives are becoming hackneyed?
SB: I don’t think so. It depends on the writing and the writer. Anything can become hackneyed if done in a hackneyed way. I am smart like that. I know seven year olds who write the same old ditties in gooder ways.
MB: What do you think of experimental forms like hypertext?
SB: I’m in favor of all forms of writing, experimental and non-experimental. The writing has to be good, that’s all.
MB: What can you fans expect next from you?
SB: I am a currently a contributing editor at www.writethis.com (more edge than a hacksaw). Some of my current work and information about any future publications may be found there and on my website www.seanbrijbasi.com