Ladies and gents, we welcome Stona Fitch, novelist (his novels, including the dire and wondrous and appalling Senseless and the lush, seductive Give + Take) are not to be missed) and founder of the exciting venture, Concord Free Press, which publishes and distributes (for free!) original novels throughout the world, asking readers make a voluntary donation to a charity or person in need. (BTW, Concord Free Press most recently published Scott Phillips’ dynamite novel, RUT; get your copy while you can.)
These details do not begin to sum up Stona, who is also founder of Gaining Ground, a nonprofit farm, a former reporter and former member of the band Scruffy The Cat (for whom he played mandolin, accordion, organ and electric banjo).
I swear, all these things are true.
And yet, honestly, having known Stona about five years now, these details don’t begin to sum him up, or gather his talents. And it is only through knowing Stona that I once met Gore Vidal on the top of the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. I was too nervous to say more than three words to Mr. Vidal (those three words may well have been: “It’s Gore Vidal”), but I am forever grateful to Stona, all the more so for the chance to read his books.
Upcoming and not-to-be-missed, we have Stona’s reminiscence of his Writer Uncle, William Harrington.
1. What is your greatest fear?
Accidentally cutting off a finger. One of mine, that is.
2. What is your favorite way of spending time?
Walking around a new city all day and getting lost. Falling in with the locals, gaining their trust through charm and guile, stealing their stories, leaving them scratching their heads.
3. What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of Cuban landsnail shells, genus polymita, from the 1940s. Worthless but beautiful, like most of the things I pick up.
4. When and where were you happiest? Right now, of course. Never look back. Or ahead. And definitely don’t take a close look at your feet and think about birds.
5. What is your greatest indulgence?
6. Where would you like to live?
Edinburgh grafted to New York, with Cuba just off the coast of Brooklyn.
7. What is the quality you are most drawn to a person?
Someone who’s interested in everything, up to a point.
8. How would you like to die?
Accidentally crushed by my forty-seven great-grandchildren’s loving but super-clumsy embrace.
9. What is your secret superstition?
Like Pavlov’s typing dog, I listen to the same music over and over when I write.
10. What was the best dream and worst nightmare you ever had?
I wake up screaming about once a week, just ask the neighbors. Usually it’s about water. I hate water.
11. What song do you most hear in your head?
“Afternoon Delight” shows up way too often, as does “Beat on the Brat” from the Ramones. “When I’m Small” from Phantogram surface when I’m driving. Late at night, Arvo Part chimes in. Mostly I just hear a high-pitched hum, sonic residue from standing in front of a stack of amplifiers for years.
12. What do you read/watch/listen to when you are feeling badly?
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue.
13. What do you consider to be the greatest elixir/restorative?
14. What’s something you never told anyone?
Before she left town forever, my mother said “Goodbye, Steve. Be good.” Don’t call me Steve. Don’t expect me to be good. Never say goodbye.