Charlie aspires to the aesthetic of drunken boxing; you’
ll be wondering how he’
s staying on his feet just before he delivers a blow to the liver you won’
t soon forget. His one-two-punch endings come on the heels of yarns spun of equal parts decadence and spareness. Charlie hangs out in the shadows of literature with heroes like Genet, Dickenson, and Tanazaki
Japanese disciple of his old Franco-Irish favorites: Wilde, De Sade, and Baudelaire. On a given night you’
ll find him in a long coat with a loved-to-death volume of this or that master sticking out of a pocket in need of mending. His prose has explored topics from yard sales to heroin to luxury watches. In 2011 he received editorial submissions, from Grey Sparrow Press
, to the O. Henry
M.C: When we were putting together this interview it seemed like I was always catching you on your way to or from the pool in Montparnasse…What’s swimming got to do with your writing ?
C.D: Oh man…in the cover letter I send along with my stories I say ‘he swims and lives in France.’ That really is the order; I need to get my energy out in the sea—or at least a long pool—otherwise I go insane. Swimming is the source; it's how I make way for the words.M.C: Tell me about your relationship with France.
C.D: I guess Charles is a French name. I’m named after my great uncle who died for France in the first World War and is buried near Belgium… More personally: I love fine hats and Paris has great hat shops… As far as art goes, these interviews are a testament to the fact that, in France, art is a community not a race with winners and losers; French poets don't act like movie stars. But, like you said, I think any place could inspire my work; any place, that is, where words are vital to the way people make sense of this life and their place in it. Lucky for me, that’s just about every place. I'm very interested in verbal culture, wherever I find it and in whatever form; hip hop can excite me every bit as much as literature. I love songs. My dad would sing me this ballad he got from a Welsh coal miner:
“Don’t stab father with the bread knife, mother
It was a gift when ye were wed.
But if you must stab father with the bread knife,
Mother, please use another for the bread.”
Charlie's desk, in Montparnasse, where he drafts his prose and the orange typewriter series.
M.C: How do you deal with rejection?
C.D: I deal. Writers get rejected like swimmers get water in there ears. If anything I’d say I’m suspicious when I have good luck. If they publish me it means I’m doing something they already know is good, maybe it’s a sign that I’m not taking the right risks. Also I read for a journal now so I know firsthand how good pieces don’t always make the cut.
(found from adult personal ads)
I can't afford batteries anymore.
I thought i'd give this craigslist thing a shot.
Call it a booty call if you want.
I am just craving that something thats unfortunatley
lacking in my life.
LOVE DOESN'T SEEM TO BE LOOKING 4 ME
Suggest we hop in the car and head out to a remote
since my kids are gone until Monday.
I am Looking for a man with Herpes,
I'm not going to take a chance with some druggie.
I want dirty drunk sex in a truck, I don't have time for
I'll pay of course,
What kind of a woman would I be if I didn't?
*'Casual Encounters' appeared as 'Craigslist'
M.C: You do your drafts in pen and then on a typewriter, why?
C.D: I wonder how many oil-painters switched to that program ‘paint’ that comes with your laptop. That may sound like an over-simplification, but any painter will tell you that there’s something about the paint itself that allows them to do what they do. I need a pen to do what I do.
M.C: Oscar Wilde said that 'everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power'.....
C.D: Wilde's Salomé says it better than I can...I'd say that Sex is about freedom, but not a democratic freedom. It's a powerful, sublime, dark, and irresistible sort of freedom. Sex is not a democracy. The 'land of fuck', as Henry Miller called it, tends to be peopled by Napoleon-types: always the ones you wouldn't expect (like Miller for that matter) who take the life and lovers they want while the rest of us scratch our heads and wonder how/why they do it.
Next Time: Meet P.A and Alisa of the Springsioux tribe.