I’ve known Jeremy Beal for a long time. Our association began in history class a long, long, time ago in the hidden recesses of London Ontario. We’ve somehow managed to keep connected in the years past and Jeremy to his credit has published his first novel Johnny Kicker. You can buy the book at this link here.
I had a chance to talk to Jeremy about his book, and a myriad of other things. The following interview did happen over emails and facebook. Jeremy is charming, quick witted and filled with a million ideas.
Jeremy Beal: It’s the strangest thing, but I knew I wanted to put pen and paper together for a living after Naked Lunch. Not the book, I probably read the book well before I was ready to process what was going on, but in the version I had bought/stolen they included the transcript from the congressional hearing they had on whether or not the book was smut. Norman Mailer defended Borrows in absentia, talked about the importance of having this boundary pushing stuff around. I was in Ms. Holtz class, that really sealed the deal.
JP: the same Ms. Holtz who taught creative writing? What would you have done if you hadn’t found writing?
JB: The same. I’d probably still be at my old job, As a locomotive conductor for Canadian Pacific. It was a decent enough gig, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
JP: So what is your white whale your casting for?
JB: “If his chest had been a cannon he would have shot his heart upon it…”.
I guess the big deal for me is lifestyle, having the freedom and the resources to chase my interests, and being able to say “fuck it” when I’m bored.
I have a project that’s sitting out there waiting for me, an anime-styled animated series, an aboriginal re-imagining of the Iliad set along the shores of the St. Lawrence 6000 years ago. It’s a sysiphean pitch thanks to my unfortunate/fortunate pigment, but if I’m ever at the helm of that show, you’ll know I’ve done what I came to do.
JP: So is television your endgoal or do you have other aspirations? What did Johnny Kicker teach you as writer?
JB: It seems to me that you can do impressive things with Television nowadays. I think though the medium of animation has conquered comedy doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an effective medium for drama, or even sci fi/fantasy, in prime time before a Western Audience.
Johnny Kicker taught me about how much of a craft writing is, how art isn’t flippant. And it taught me about the business behind everything. The curtain got pulled back a stretch. It was a series of demystifications, it was good.
My aspirations are to be able to do whatever takes my fancy, to get it made.
JP: So what are you fancying right now? I disagree with your view on animation a little. Japanese anime has some amazing dramas. Ever see Fullmetal Alchemist or Codegeass?
JB: Oh yeah, of course, I’ve watched all the FullMetals, I’d argue of course that it’s never been set up attract an adult (see: Female adult) Western Audience. Fullmetal has great themes, but let’s not kid ourselves that we don’t love it for the geek factor. Right now I’m writing a screenplay for a Friend of mine, He’s got funding for a heist film in Northern Ontario.
JP: Nice. What Era?
JP: Could be fun. Enjoying screenwriting?
JB: I do. It’s a different skill set, you hand over a blueprint in a lot of ways. It’s not the most precise intrument for passing on your ideas, but it’s fun and it holds you more accountable to your themes.
JP: I love cutting scripts. That whole necessity thing is good. I start mine soon – probably next week. I’m nervous.
JB: That’s it though. You have to keep it all tight. If you weren’t nervous you wouldn’t be taking it seriously.
JP: Yup. So what else are you working on?
JB: I’m pitching an Augmented Reality concept that I think is a game changer. I’m editing up a reality television pitch about a family business in Burlington, and I’m getting really getting into wine writing. Completely Epicurian.
JP: Why wine?
JB: Wine isn’t a bad thing to be tasting for a living. It’s a very interesting cast of characters that produce, sell and buy at the moment. Such a ripe place for creativity.
JP: Any stories about any of the characeters? And yes, that’ misspellign will be in the interview. So will that one.
JB: I’ve been batting around coming up a collection of short stories.
JP: Sounds awesome. You should submit them to Prairie Fire.
JB: Nice idea.
JP: I’m good with this idea stuff. Final two questions – what advice would you give to other writers?
JB: If you want to make a living writing, make it a habit. Write a Thousand words a day, if you don’t, you probably won’t get success.
JP: I’m a failure. I only do five hundred then.
JB: Better than nothing.
JP: True. we’ll have to debate writing sometime I think. My final question is to simply say something about Johnny Kicker that hasn’t been said elsewhere.
JB: Johnny Kicker is all I think about Rock n’ Roll. How I always have to catch myself falling for the message.