Authors: Stories Behind the Books, Chris Lundgren
This Author post, we take you over to the east side at a diner called, Lil' John's Restaurant where I continued my project to photograph local authors in their natural, writing environment. Once I saw this diner, I thought, "oh yeah...this is perfect." This is where my good friend and author, Chris Lundgren does his writing and he gave the most interesting answer why.....
For your photo we agreed on shooting at Lil' John's Diner off of I-90 in Bellevue. Why? What is it about this place that makes you most comfortable to write?
Lil Jon’s is an island apart from Seattle. I work in Belltown and I live in Issaquah. The restaurant is roughly the halfway point between work and home and, in the evenings, I stop for dinner maybe three times a week for two reasons. They make the best dinner salad in the Western Hemisphere and it’s completely unpretentious. It feels like a roadside diner you’d find somewhere between Anytown and Nowheresville and I can sit and eat and read or write or stare out at the sky in complete silence. It’s extremely comfortable and I will probably die in a booth halfway through my salad.
Cancer of my Convictions was your first book. What was your intent behind it? What was your overall response to the book?
The book started as a social experiment. I explain in the foreword that once Facebook became a thing I saw a lot of posts that featured pictures of meals, or kids, or kids having meals and lots and lots of adorable animal pictures. Throw in a little wrong-headed political discourse and a few off color remarks and there it was. Town hall for the modern era. It seemed to me; however, that it was and is a giant electronic playground offering very little substance and no one really seemed to be connecting the way humans should connect. It's very surface most of the time. It’s fake interaction. So I thought to myself “What would happen if I started posting these hellish introspective little thought pieces I write anyway and give them to the world without comment”?
Blast the landscape with the very worst I have to offer.
I had been writing as cheap therapy for a few years anyhow and I thought it would be a great barometer for my stupid brain to see how the material would be treated in this otherwise banal wasteland of computer based idiocy. So I started baring my soul one piece at a time by posting what I was feeling at the moment. I revealed my darkest fears and showed everyone the world view of a man who does not understand the world. At all.
A few people grew concerned but, more importantly, many more people read every word and encouraged me to keep writing. Asked me for more. Once I had a good number of these pieces out of my head and on paper I decided to publish them in book form through Amazon.
Buy YOUR copy HERE!!!http://www.amazon.com/The-Cancer-Convictions-Chris-Lundgren/dp/149274803X
Sorry. I've been accused of shameless hucksterism before. Cheap theatrics is the actual phrase if I recall. The title refers to my realization that the things I hold most dear are the very things conspiring to kill me or drive me clinically insane. There is an explanatory chapter in the book.
How did writing this book help you deal with what you were going through? Or did it not?
Giving these reports of self-doubt and rage to the world actually went a long way towards calming my soul. I’m still a giant mess but now I’ve got an instruction manual for anyone who thinks getting close to me is in any way a good idea.
In general, when did you start writing and what struggles do you go through?
I have always written in one form or another. I turned more seriously to writing once my diabetes took its toll on my hands and pretty much killed my ability to play piano or guitar anymore. I was damn good. Worked a lot with Jet City Improv here in Seattle and played hundreds of shows. Writing is my primary creative outlet now that I can’t charm the girls with my shredding anymore.
What are you working on now? Are you working on a follow up to The Cancer of my Convictions?
There will probably be a follow up to Cancer at some point but I seem to write less of those pieces at this time. Currently I’m writing two books. The first is a diet and exercise book called “I’m On a Diet and Why Don’t You Go Fuck Yourself”. It’s a literary tool get my fat diabetic ass to the gym and stop eating so much cake. Basically a sad attempt to keep myself both accountable and motivated in my quest to see my shoes again someday. If it helps some other pathetic indoor kid with glasses so much the better.
I’m also working on a novel about my dad and the disaster it would have been had I followed in his career footsteps. He owned a diesel engine repair facility in downtown Los Angeles where I fundamentally grew up and I then worked there full time for many years before he went bankrupt. The idea for the novel actually came to me in a dream, as corny as that sounds, and I’m compelled to see it through. And sell it. And get an agent and a publisher and become a real writer with deadlines.
Do you have any favorite authors you like to read that inspire you?
I find inspiration everywhere. I read mostly biographies and current events material although there a few writers I return to again and again. Charles Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, Don DiLillo, Hemingway, William Kennedy, John Fante. I could spend the rest of my life just rereading each of their catalogs and be as happy as a person capable of happiness.
Thanks. Buy my book. I’m dead serious.
Question I am asking every author, as a reader, o you feel compelled to finish a book once you start?
While I am usually determined to finish anything I start reading I have only stopped reading a book once and it was for a very good reason. When the Picasso show came to Seattle a few years ago I went fundamentally because I had never understood Picasso and I thought that perhaps seeing the work in person would give me a better understanding. The show was arranged chronologically and what I saw was a brilliant young artist turn into a grotesque cartoonist. The final few paintings were blatantly obscene primary color fuck yous to the people that viewed them. The last was a large canvas Picasso had painted late in life that featured his them 19 year old mistress. Naked. Exposed. Throw at you in a manner that said "I need to get back to having sex with her so enjoy these sloppy, massive brushstrokes"
Still convinced I was missing something I picked up a copy of Arianna Huffington's extensive biography. Halfway through this exhaustive tome, written by someone clearly mesmerized by the Picasso allure, I decided I had been absolutely right about this petty, miserable, mean little swindler and I vowed to stand by my initial assessment while hurling the book across the room.
Thank you for being a part of this project, Chris, and your honesty.
Special thank you to management and waitstaff at Lil' John's Restaurant for dinner and letting an author and a photographer hijack your dining room for a couple hours.
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