Friday, March 15, 2013


It is my great honor to host my friend Jon-Michael Frank's answers to The Next Big Thing. Jon-Michael, take it away!

The Next Big Thing

It’s been a great honor to be tagged by Chris Tonelli for the Next Big Thing. So as he says, “a greeting / is a consolation; / each introduction, / a loss,” here we go!

What is the working title of the book?

The Wheelbarrow Oms.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book was initially conceived to be some sort of metaphysical detective story where two characters were trying to find each other not knowing that they were, in fact, the same character. A headache, I know. Happy that I didn’t have to write that book, I wrote a book about sadness instead. What I ended up with was an ontological detective story about my life, and myself, with the occasional tree and/or bird.

What genre does your book fall under?


What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ever seen that movie Harvey? I’d want the actor that played Harvey to play all of my characters, except myself, who I could see being played by Wilson, that volleyball that quelled Tom Hanks’ loneliness in Cast Away. If Harvey is unavailable to play the characters, then any pookah will do, for the characters are, in a lot of ways, already pookahs themselves; characters such as Time, Life, Her (the lover of the book), Thom Williams (a death in the book), The Idiot (the genius of the book). And if Wilson won’t do for me, then maybe Yorick’s skull Hamlet holds when he’s thinking about the great beyond.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

It’s the attempt to evince narrative from an illiterate heart.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took, in some ways, a year, in some ways, twenty-eight.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The death of the great Thom Williams, who took many idle years of my life when he introduced me to Masaoka Shiki’s inexorable haiku, “the body of a dog / thrown away / in the winter river.” Then there were these summer nights when I would drive along the docks of the Delaware River after getting off of work at “The Penthouse Club” listening to “Pain In My Heart” by Otis Redding and think about how to write a poem that I truly belonged in. And finally, moving to Austin, TX and reading about the concept of negative space and feeling homesick afterwards.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There’s a character called “We” in it, that character is you. And there’s a brief appearance of an avocado.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

TBD. Currently looking for a publisher.

My tagged writers are:

Dan Boehl

Gentris L. Jointe

Karina van Berkum

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