So, I have a real treat for you: an actual interview! I know, right? Yeah, and it’s with one of my new favorite writers, Todd Austin Hunt. He may be a little weird, but he is also deep — I find a lot of allegory in his stuff. He is one to watch, guys. So, sit back, grab a highlighter smoothie and have a read:
Thanks, Todd, for agreeing to do this interview. I don’t do many so I’m a bit rusty. My questions are kind of… well, you’ll see. Shall we?
1.) How did you come to own an indigo ocelot?
Interesting story there. Most people, including you, probably won’t believe it. I had this friend in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. She was devastatingly beautiful, with black hair all the way down to the backs of her knees. She was born in the Puerto Vallarta city dump. Among her many gifts, she was able to weave stairways from the beaches of the Bay of Banderas into the skies above the Pacific using only the refuse from the dump. She had no interest in finding the end of the rainbow, rather she loved to breathe the air above the arc of a rainbow. “Where the air is fluorescent, and the horizon disintegrates my pride,” she said. Although she was my friend, the relationship would go no further. I admit I did yearn for her. Her most intimate companions were wild ocelots, and each time she visited the arc of a rainbow, she carried with her a different ocelot.
One gorgeous morning after a light rain, I was parasailing above the bay, marveling at the buoyancy and silence. The sun shone through some shredded clouds, revealing a rainbow above me. In that instant, I saw my friend standing at the end of her refuse stairway. Understand, she found a rainbow before anyone else saw it. She inhaled deeply, and as her wondrous breast filled with air, I noticed the ocelot lounging around her shoulders. The creature saw me, and a light shifted in its eyes. With a hiss, it gouged its claws into her neck, drawing blood. Furious, she cast the animal away from her, and it plummeted down, through the indigo stripe in the bow, landing in my arms, gazing serenely at me.
I glanced up, and she was gone.
I haven’t seen her since, and no longer see rainbows. Instead,
I have this indigo ocelot.
2.) Lucozade: love it or hate it?
I was as surprised as any despairing xenobiologist when that inhabited comet crashed into our moon. The satellite photographs and videos were enthralling. Not a moment after Lucozade collided with the surface, the Lucozadians crawled off the comet onto the surface of the moon in millions, like ants on sugar, carrying their cities on their backs. And they moved like amphetamines incarnate, digging holes and building towers faster than light can think. So, I love Lucozade. Oh? Sports drink? I hate that.
3.) What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
Naked, I ate ten pounds of licorice and drank four quarts of Ouzo on a featureless acre of glass suspended above the Mojave while SKYPING myself when I was 12 years old. In reality, all the most dangerous things I’ve done have been the result of incredible stupidity and I’ll not divulge.
4.) I know you’re a music freak. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Although I love music, I’m not a frequent concert-goer. I have a hard time describing myself a fan of anyone. Fans are inanimate things that keep people cool in hot weather. Huge concerts seem to me too much like worship, and often the performer is lost to me, vanquished in the horde of shrieking fans. A few years ago I attended a Radiohead concert in North Carolina. Radiohead is probably my favorite group of musicians. The audience was vast; I could hear Thom Yorke, but couldn’t see him. We might as well have been cheering for a radio. I left early. But I love small shows. The best was seeing Ryan Adams in Charleston. He drank wine all night and played like a divine lunatic, dancing on the piano, pulling a girl’s name from a lottery to bring her on stage and sing to her. It was fantastic.
5.) If you visited the zoo, which animal would you want to see first?
At the Intergalactic Asteroid Zoo, I love to go see the Colossal Zormbaggroot. Its segments are disgusting, as well as its dripping, breathing viscera. The real fun begins when the Zookeeper feeds a passenger provided by Asteroid Security to the creature. These are the stupid passengers who pack lotions on their carry-ons and don’t have their IDs ready at security check. Those are delightful, prolonged screams. On Earth, I like polar bears.
6.) Do you think H.R. Pufnstuf was based on a real monster of some kind?
I had to look up H.R. Pufnstuf, but after looking at a picture, things are coming full circle, starting to make sense. I thought the Ooglaphant was a monster isolated to the woods behind my family’s home in Kentucky. And, apparently the oral tradition has watered down the Ooglaphant’s behavior, has given it a fuzzy name. The genuine Pufnstuf, the Ooglaphant, is fifteen feet tall and steps into the world through the peripheral vision of children. Its maw is massive and riddled with blunt teeth, to smash and grind instead of tearing. An extra pair of arms line its mouth. It uses these arms to grasp unfortunate children to stuff into its mouth. My youngest brother lost several friends to the Ooglaphant.
7.) Who is your biggest writing influence?
I am still learning how to write, so influences are constant. A few of my formative influences are Roald Dahl, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain and Stephen King. I always read books as a child, but I distinctly remember reading Stephen King’s Misery when I was 13. I was astounded, consumed, burned and resurrected by that book. I kept closing the book, looking off into space, just overwhelmed that a story could devour so much of my imagination, could offer so much joy to a kid so lonely inside. By that time, I had already garnered a miniature reputation for writing here and there. A few years before I won a local writing contest. However, reading Misery was a revelatory experience for me. It solidified a desire within me to be a writer, to make up stories that would maybe offer joy to some other kid who was lonely inside.
8.) Do you have a nemesis? Who is it?
Me are the Nemesis.
9.) What are you most afraid of?
My biggest fear is to be eaten alive by a monster. This horror has been the source of nightmares all my life.
10.) How many stars do you think are visible in the sky above Charleston?
How many stars? So many that my tongue cannot fit around the number, so many that my brain would explode and be forgotten by time.
Thank you, Todd –that was, by far, my most favorite interview! You are, without a doubt, very interesting.
Want to read some of his stories? I promise you will find something interesting in each and every one of them:
Also, check out Todd’s blog, SALT, for peculiar musings and odd dreams: