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Close Encounters of the Literary Kind: Part 6

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Meet Alex: Graphic designer, DVD collector, literary enthusiast

Recently, my iPod nano decided to up and die on me. Apparently, Apple products are not invincible, despite what their employees and devoted fans imply. It’s impossible for me to work out (or live, for that matter) without music. So the same day, I went to Fry’s Electronics to grab a replacement.

If you’ve ever been to Fry’s on a weekend, you’ve pretty much entered my own personal hell. It’s hot, it’s crowded, people are eating snacks in line, and 9 times out of 10 there’s a screaming kid within earshot. Unless you’re a total masochist, do yourself a favor and go on a weekday during your lunch.

I spotted Alex Gutierrez holding a stack of DVD’s while waiting in line for a cashier and did my best not to stare. Unfortunately that can be difficult when someone is directly in front of you and you’re trying to avoid impulse buys on surrounding shelves. I’m sure someone somewhere needs a Pillow Pet and Almond Roca, just not me. While trying not to burn a hole in his back, two things specifically caught my eye. “The Crow” on Blu Ray (don’t ask) and a beat up copy of ‘Story of the Eye’ by Georges Bataille poking out of the back pocket of his jeans. Wasn’t Bataille’s work banned? I couldn’t help myself…

1. What book has been the biggest influence in your life?

When i was in art school, we had to read Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky for a studio class. It completely changed how i approached and looked at art. Kandinsky was an amazing painter, but i really had no appreciation for him until i read that book. It’s his manifesto. He placed huge significance on these four elements: Line, Color, Composition, and Form. Which can be applied just as easily to abstract or figurative work.

2. What author and/or character do you identify with most?

Denis Johnson, particularly from his book, Jesus’ Son. The way he describes situations with an almost dream-like timeline is very relatable to how my memory works. He can find beauty in a totally insignificant “normal” situation. The narrator has a tendency to make terrible decisions without malicious intent. Sort of absent minded, but on some kind of weird road to enlightenment.

3. What do you think happens to you when you die?

Hopefully heaven or reincarnation. or something cool. if there’s nothing, then it’s sort of like, what’s the point. i feel like art and creativity are proof that we’re more than just hollow organisms. like, i feel like we have souls, and when our bodies die, our soul moves on. i dunno, i’m not religious, it’s just something i’ve always felt was real.

4. Have you ever penned anything yourself? And if so what’s the recurring theme?

No, i’m a terrible writer. maybe not terrible, but definitely not good enough to pursue it.

5. If you had to re-live your life as a character in a book, what book/character would it be?

Sal Paradise in On The Road, probably. The thought of road tripping across America, to Mexico, etc… especially around that time period (late 40s, early 50s) would be incredible.

Close Encounters of the Literary Kind: Part 5



LAXIf any of you have ever frequented LAX airport, you’ll understand my pain. It’s crowded, it’s hot (at least it is every time I’ve been there), kids are screaming, and the overhead speakers shouting out flight updates make my brain hurt. Needless to say, when my friend asked if I could pick him up from the airport I wasn’t thrilled at the opportunity, but agreed because he’s awesome and would do it for me. As luck would have it, his flight was delayed 40 minutes due to bad weather. Yay for me.

$7 bought me a snack sized bag of trailmix and a Reeses peanut butter cup. Walking out of the store, I saw a tall, white haired woman in uniform take a seat in the only secluded area of the airport and I decided this was my best bet. She pulled a Kindle out of her bag, put on her glasses, and let out a sigh. Five seconds later, she returned the Kindle to her bag. I guess I was staring because she met my gaze and clarified: “dead battery”. Her tone was so full of disappointment that I couldn’t bring myself to pull the Bret Easton Ellis book out of my bag and crack open the first chapter. Instead I offered up my unopened Reeses and struck up a conversation with Rachel. (She wouldn’t agree to a photo)

1. What book has been the biggest influence in your life?

Eloise. Is that odd? When I first read it with my mother, we both laughed ourselves silly. Over the years, I came to realize that my mom bought the book for me not just because it was about a wonderfully imaginative free spirited girl, but because she hoped it would instill in me a belief that growing older doesn’t have to be a bore. Be a character and make no apologies.

2. What author and/or character do you identify with most?

Gloria Steinem. I can’t begin to explain why. Perhaps I see her as “Eloise” all grown up. I’m not sure

3. What do you think happens to you when you die?

[chuckles] That’s a pretty heavy question to ask someone you’ve just met. I’m quite certain that when I die, I’ll cease to exist. No frills there.

4. Have you ever penned anything yourself? And if so what’s the recurring theme?

I’ve written a few short stories. I rarely write about the same subject, but the theme is consistent. Irony is always around you.

5. If you had to re-live your life as a character in a book, what book/character would it be?

Lotty Wilkins in “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth Von Arnim

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