Five questions for Travis Jeppesen
August 2, 2007
Travis Jeppesen is the author of two books, Victims and Poems I Wrote While Watching TV. He lives in Berlin and Prague, where he edits the literary magazine BLATT. Travis will appear at the next meeting of the Bardroom, scheduled for August 15th.
“Many things. Editing Aleš Mustar’s C(o)urt Interpretations, which will be the next BLATT Book; reading entries for the first BLATT Books novel contest; dabbling with a couple of novels. I guess my main creative project at the moment is the compilation of a large book of prose fragments, or indeterminate prose, or prose poetry – however you want to call it. It’s basically a catalogue of my formless, largely unpublished daily endeavor over the last decade or so, and is currently several hundred pages in length.
“Why is it all taking so long? Believe it or not, some of us have to work for a living!”
2. Do you actually have moments of inspiration or is writing just a process of slogging day in and day out?
“Well, I don’t remember my dreams very often, but whenever I do, they usually disturb me to the extent that I feel it necessary to investigate them through my writing. And so they weave their way into it, or, in the case of a novel I’ve been working on on-again/off-again for the last year, the dream itself becomes the novel.
“Otherwise, I think it’s about 50/50. I write every day regardless of inspiration, but there are moments when I feel more compelled to do so than others. I also think that if you understand your process well enough, it is possible to create those conditions that trigger inspiration. For me, that can be as simple as overdosing on caffeine.”
3. Please define irony.
4. What word best describes the writer scene in your town: lame, poser, hip, up-and-coming, hibernating?
“One of the reasons why I moved away from Prague is because I didn’t want to be part of any ‘scene.’ In Berlin, I enjoy total anonymity. I suppose there is a scene here, but I keep my distance. In fact, I don’t have close associates in Berlin who are writers. My best friends here are a graphic designer, a rock star, and a drag queen. The only person from the expat literary scene I really hang around with is Gaby Bila-Gunther, who curates the FUEL reading series. Her events are always fun. She is interviewed in the latest issue of BLATT, by the way.
“Despite all that, I really do miss Prague. There is a strong chance I’ll move back there some day. You know, I basically grew up there. That’s not an experience that leaves you very easily.
“But right now, I enjoy experiencing Prague as a visitor. Whenever I go there, it’s like a prolonged party, I go out every single night. It’s a town that encourages irresponsibility. In Berlin, I never go out, I’m too busy working all the time.”
5. Did you ever get laid because of something you wrote?
“I think my writing probably has the opposite effect. They’re turned on when they meet me, then they read my writing and I never hear from them again.”