Q & A with Our First Issue Journal Contributor Patrick Madden


1. If you were reviewing your own work, how would you describe its style or point of view?

My work is faux-erudite, self-referential, meta-literary, wanderingly mindful, subtly playful, beholden to long tradition, which it honors and subverts, postmoderning together old and new forms, flattening the distinctions between high and low art. On its surface, it is often long and convoluted, functionally non-narrative, twisting through thought, abetted by my betters in quotes, and underneath it reveals deep concerns with the long-standing philosophical questions (death, mutability, timespace, fortune, etc.).

2. Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?

Brian Doyle, Eduardo Galeano, Amy Leach, Joni Tevis, David Lazar, Chris Arthur, W. G. Sebald, Ian Frazier, Annie Dillard, Kim Dana Kupperman, José Saramago, many more...

3. If you were told you couldn't write anymore, what job would you pursue and why?

As long as I'm fantasizing beyond my current abilities, I'd be a volleyball player and maybe a coach. Volleyball was a passion of mine for many years when I was younger and stronger, and I still love the sport, though my schedule and body don't allow me to play as much as I'd like. I also very much enjoy coaching my daughters' city-league teams.

4. When you think of Austin, what comes to mind?

When I was in college and playing on the Notre Dame volleyball team, we traveled to UT-Austin for the national championship tournament. We rented a van locally and parked each day wherever we could find a spot near the gym. One busy day we left the van in a faculty spot and got a ticket, but decided to ignore it, figuring that UT would do as Notre Dame would do: withhold transcripts until they received payment. But they chased us down, through the rental company and back to South Bend, and thus we were not only out the money, we were in trouble with ND's athletics administrators, but not too much trouble.

5. Answer the question you wish we had asked.

Would the world be a better place if everyone read more essays?

Yes, we would all mellow out and more readily see each other's viewpoints. We'd never impose our will on others or insist on our correctness. We'd find beauty everywhere and muse deeply on the great mysteries.