Ben Fountain

You have the mainstream bourgeois life of the U.S., Europe, the “developed” world – the life of technology, education, mortgages, careers, a certain level of physical comfort – while on the other hand, several billion people on the planet exist on less than a dollar a day. That’s a huge and terrible reality to get your head around.

“You have the mainstream bourgeois life of the U.S., Europe, the “developed” world – the life of technology, education, mortgages, careers, a certain level of … Read More

From about the age of 15 or 16 I’d had the notion that I wanted to write fiction, and I’d done enough in college to satisfy myself that I had a knack for it – I wouldn’t call it “talent” – though I wondered if I’d ever have the guts to actually commit to it.

“From about the age of 15 or 16 I’d had the notion that I wanted to write fiction, and I’d done enough in college to … Read More

If a person wants to be of any use to himself, he better insist on getting his fair share of beauty and pleasure, and if there’s something about the system that’s keeping him from getting his share, then I think he’s well within his rights to fight to change that.

“If a person wants to be of any use to himself, he better insist on getting his fair share of beauty and pleasure, and if … Read More

A person deprived of beauty and pleasure puts me in mind of the Haitian notion of a zombie – a person disconnected from his or her soul, a person who works for others’ profit but never his own, a person who mindlessly does the bidding of the boss and exists in an emotional and mental limbo.

“A person deprived of beauty and pleasure puts me in mind of the Haitian notion of a zombie – a person disconnected from his or … Read More

I have a horror of being self-indulgent and wasting time, and there is that risk in doing this kind of work. Are you totally deluded in sitting down at a desk every day and trying to write something? Is it self-indulgent, or might it possibly lead to something worthwhile? At a certain point I decided to keep on because I felt like the work was getting better, and I was taking great pleasure in that.

“I have a horror of being self-indulgent and wasting time, and there is that risk in doing this kind of work. Are you totally deluded … Read More

Haiti is unique – the first successful slave revolt in history, the first black republic etc., and then when you get into the culture, the voodoo, and that wonderful synchretization of Christian and African belief and symbology, it’s like nothing the world has ever seen.

“Haiti is unique – the first successful slave revolt in history, the first black republic etc., and then when you get into the culture, the … Read More

You’d think family would be the one sure thing in life, the gimme? Points you got just for being born? So much thick, meaty stuff bound you to these people, so many interlocking spirals of history, genetics, common cause, and struggle that it should be the most basic of all drives, that you would strive to protect and love one another, yet this bond that should be the big no-brainer was in fact the hardest thing.

“You’d think family would be the one sure thing in life, the gimme? Points you got just for being born? So much thick, meaty stuff … Read More