Q/A w/ Brandon Brown
As a part of an ongoing Q&A session with the Creative Writing and Literature Department’s Senior Reading Class, Jackalope Magazine sat down with Brandon Brown in his apartment. Brown discussed fan fiction, dead dogs, and played a mystery version of MFK.
Jackalope Magazine: How dare you?
Brandon Brown: It’s my house! I know that’s the question you’ve asked for all of them, so I prepared for that one.
JM: How did you get into writing?
BB: When I was younger, I really liked the video game Final Fantasy VII. I had Internet, so I went to the Internet to find other people who like Final Fantasy VII, a natural progression in liking something. I found this website called FF7 Citadel, and they had a forum. On the forum they had this section called role play, where a bunch of people who like something get in there and pretend they’re [in the game]. I was basically writing fan fiction with a bunch of other people. So I did that in various ways until I was 21. I stopped doing that so I could start real fiction.
JM: What genre do you work in and why?
BB: Fiction. My tracks are fiction and nonfiction, but for all intents and purposes, fiction. I guess [my work] is most easily classified as magical realist. Gabriel García Márquez, fairy tales. Just weird, delicate stuff. I try to [work outside that] occasionally, but that’s just who I am.
JM: What three words would you use to describe your writing?
BB: Oh, shit. That’s not two of them. Absurd, delicate, aflutter.
JM: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever written?
BB: A few years ago when Kathleen Lee was teaching a class…This is [a story] I’ve struggled with ever since. I wrote this story about these two women who were… OK, a young girl is driving her car and picks up this hitchhiker, and they have this experience where they run a dog over and kill it. Somehow in revision, it turned into two cooks talking about how bad the weather is. (laughs) I don’t know what happened! I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since.
JM: How do you balance work and family?
BB: I don’t. I have a girlfriend, it will be four years this March. I just hope, once school is over, there will be a balance again.
JM: Everyone answers that one seriously. That’s supposed to be one of the joke questions.
JM: Marry, Fuck, Kill: Helen, Susan, Catherine
BB: Helen who? Susan who? Catherine who?
JM: They’re just three names.
BB: Oh! OK. Marry Catherine. Catherine is a name that suggests to me a certain elegance, a togetherness, that I think is valuable for marriage. Fuck Helen. You know, Helen of Troy, it’s a name of a strong passionate person. Kill Susan, because ughh, Susan.