ABP- Thank you for taking this interview Mike. Back in January of 2018 Alien Buddha Press had the opportunity to help produce your poetry collection “Void Beneath the Skin”. What can you tell us about that book?
MZ-It was a culmination of everything I had been going through the last few years. Starting with getting back to writing, I had gone through a bit triumph and a substantial amount of tragedy. There were character portraits involved, going through my working class antics of bouncing here and there along with the death of my mother and reaching a breaking point. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin like there was a space between my flesh and electromagnetically animated bone.
The title also refers to an abandoned sci-fi novel I wanted to write about sex-bots and the hollow act of pseudo intimacy.
ABP- Fast forward almost a year and a half later, you followed up with another chapbook “A Farewell to Big Ideas”, which ABP also had the privilege of releasing. What went into that book, and what are the biggest differences between ‘Farewell’ and ‘Void’.
MZ-I’m sort of on a mental reset. Whereas “Void” was this massive release. “Farewell” is my saying farewell not only certain ideas that alienate say the general reader or even just people but it’s about breaking patterns, this is almost embarrassing but after four years of not opening up to anyone except in my writing and a few friends, I encountered a woman and what we experienced may have been wonderful in many aspects it wound up being a sort of deceptive whirlwind that instigated a massive shift in thinking and even composing for the page.
The biggest differences between the two works…”Void” is kind of a hodge podge of poetry, I’m throwing all sorts of shit at the wall just to see what happens in these emotional outbursts.
While in “Farewell” it’s kind of a search for something that’s been there the whole time and the revelation of discovery as you climb out of the mire.
I could be just bullshitting you right now and there really isn’t a difference…but that ending, huh?
Did he or did he not shatter his prospect at love? Perhaps we won’t ever know…
ABP- You have also been a big part of the “American Antihero” series as a writer. How has your experience been with that project?
MZ- It was so strange at first…not knowing if my style would mesh while in the midst of playing with prose again, which has by the way given me a prose boner again.
It’s been refreshing to say the least to work on something that isn’t your’s in terms of the onset of creation and yet help to evolve that world which I have generously been allowed to . I haven’t gone full balls out on it yet…but we might get there, should volume three ever rears it’s surreal head.
ABP- Who are your biggest influences as a writer?
MZ-That’s an answer that constantly fluctuates over the years but I have to go with; Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Erich Fromm, Noam Chomsky and Howard S. Thompson.
ABP– Do you have anything planned for the rest of 2019, and in 2020?
MZ– I’d like to kick out a few more short stories, I have about a half a dozen poems being published by Piker Press. I have a collaborative project I’d like to get off the ground with fellow poet Kevin Martin and see what we could do by the end of year in time for a December release date.
As for 2020? I’d like one last chapbook out for a while as I stray from poetry, I’m currently working on a couple screenplays I wouldn’t mind released as illustrated novels (hint, hint) amd my favorite a failed short story gradually becoming a novel about a mentally disabled man seeking God, who happens to be an alcoholic wearing paper slippers.
ABP- As a fiction writer, what is your favorite genre?
MZ-The stark secret is, I’m all over the board with this…entertainment wise and writing wise. I do enjoy vintage sci-fi like the original Star Trek and Twilight Zone but I also love crime fiction not that formulaic Law and Order stuff but more The Shield and Breaking Bad.
I guess you could say when it comes to reading, I like what the beats and Thompson did with creative non-fiction, the blurring of reality while examining society’s ailments but I’ll always have a soft spot for Shakespeare and Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” along with Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”
Writing wise, I tend not to think of genre…I feel trapped if I think of genre and then the story goes all to hell but then again, I probably need to get stoned and relaxed more often…
ABP- Thank you again for taking this interview Mike. The floor is all yours. Please share anything that you would like with our wordpress audience.
MZ-Buy my bad poetry books and read my subpar stories!
Honestly, it’s hard to close out an interview, you want to leave the audience with some sort of words of wisdom or leave them entertained in some slap -sticky manner of which that’s not really you being you but rather a representation of what you want people to perceive.
Fuck, don’t go out to impress anyone, write or read just to read, if it doesn’t come to you right away or you hate something… discard it, you have your entire life to render your style, your identity the way you desire and it’s not too late until you’re dead.
Be creative only when you want to and don’t produce just to produce to “get out there”.
Same thing in personal relations, screw the successonomics models, we’re not pre-packaged commodities, nobody has to sell anything to anyone that mentality has been gradually killing the mechanics of society for over a century end rant.
Take care and thanks for the soapbox.