Has staying away from New York (by which I mean: mainstream publishing) helped you to take more risks, to say, “Fuck ‘em,” to not feel like you have to ascribe to anything?
Scott McClanahan: No, it hasn’t helped me at all. I know how to do it. The path is fairly easy in terms of New York publishing. It’s called networking. You write a manuscript about living in Europe and how you struggled there, or you write a novel about your vacation to somewhere or a book sort of like another book and then you start dreaming about the bland cover you want for the hardcover edition and your quirky author photo. Then you also think about the non-fiction book or collection of short stories you can package with it in a contract. Writers should work on their networking skills. I think everyone knows this, though.
People think books are holy or something, but books are products. They’re no different than shitty television shows or shitty movies. But shit saves us. It’s what keeps us going. It’s fertilizer. I love books of all kinds.