I was interviewed recently by my friend Don G. Ward for a secret organization we both belong to. This is as much of the conversation as can be safely released to the public at this time.
Don G Ward: Hi, Robert. First of all, are you asleep?
Robert Emmett: I don’t believe so. I keep really weird hours. I’m mostly nocturnal. Best time to write.
DGW: Where do you live? Tell us a bit about yourself.
RE: Born in Chicago. Lived around here all my life.
I think I was exposed to Monty Python at too young an age. I heard the Beatles I Am The Walrus at about 7 or 8 years old and it completely blew my mind. It was like seeing in color for the first time. I wanted to grow up to be John Lennon after that. Played in loud weird rock bands for a long time, and I do my weird drawings too. But writing seems to be where I’m meant to be.
DGW: We have a fair a bit in common there, except Chicago. So, how did Meowing... come about?
RE: A few of those stories go back to 1990 or 1991. I wasn’t writing a book. I was just writing little stories. Learning the craft. Over the years they’ve piled up. The idea of putting together a collection of my short stories has been brewing for a good ten years probably. But I never had enough material. Or quality material. I had a good run in the last couple years and wrote a ton of new material. And so I found myself finally ready. I finally had enough good stuff to make a really solid offering I thought.
DGW: What instruments do you play, by the way?
RE: I play guitar and bass. I can fiddle around on just about anything. but really I’m more the songwriter than the musician.
DGW: And obviously Philip K. Dick is one of your influences. Who else has had an impact on you and your writing?
RE: As far as writers… Douglas Adams. Hitchhikers Guide was the first book I read and really enjoyed. Vonnegut. Something in the tone, the mood in his writing I really connect to. I read a lot of Robert Anton Wilson and Principia Discordia and that sort of stuff when I was younger. Anyone who is doing something completely different and doing it well. Salvador Dali. David Lynch. That sort. William Kotzwinkle especially The Fan Man, a book everyone be required to read. Funniest novel you can finish in a night. And literally laugh out loud.
DGW: I’ll have to look up Mr Kotzwinkle.
RE: He’s written a lot of good stuff. I think he was most famous for the novelization of E.T. But The Fan Man is brilliant. Especially if you have known or been a hippie or similar at any point in time.
DGW: Can you read your own writing and enjoy it – or do you want to constantly rewrite it?
RE: I think it depends on my mood. But it is hard to look at it objectively. And I always do find things I could have done better. But I guess that just means I’m still growing as an artist.
DGW: What do you like about the stories in Meowing?
RE: What do I like…
DGW: Yes. Sell it to us!
RE: I like that I really took my time. I didn’t rush out a collection as soon as I could fill 150 pages. These forty-two works are whittled down from about 80 I was considering. Which is out of a few hundred that will never be ready for print. I think for the most part the work is strong and original. I really don’t think there’s too many other books like this one out there.
I like that one of the most common reviews I get about it is a warning to readers that they are going to spit food or drink from laughter. I don’t know why but that makes me giggle.
DGW: And I believe that if we were to buy it from you directly you earn a lot more from it than if we ordered from Amazon? Which is important, I think.
RE: Absolutely. And people do ask us little guys to sign our books. Buying it right from my site I make it part of the package.
DGW: And of course [redacted] members would get a very personalized dedication.
RE: Absolutely. This is my favorite secret organization of all the ones I can mention in present company.
DGW: Thank you for your time, Robert Emmett. Been lovely chatting and hope this motivates a few people to order the book directly from you.
RE: Thanks for doing this Don! Absolute pleasure. I’ll do it again anytime. Thank you so much for the continued support!
DGW: You’re welcome, friend.