NOTE: The following is a transcript of the second part of a self-interview with Jay Leonard Schwartz, author of O Little Central Florida Town Of Bedlam. The interview is taken from a podcast to be released in the near future. The author—that’s me—discusses his new novel and its development. The first part of the interview can be found by clicking here:
Jay: OK, so now let’s move on and talk a bit about the process of your writing the novel. You said before that the book didn’t start out as a novel. Is that right?
Jay: Yes, as I mentioned, I began this book mainly as a writing experiment. Ultimately, it took on a life of its own as a novel—which was a pleasant surprise to me, to say the least, considering how it all began as sort of a bit of therapy.
Jay: Therapy? How so?
Jay: Initially, I began writing because I was recovering from an intestinal bug and became bored with an academic project I had originally started. Later, I returned to this material as a distraction from the local coronavirus-related lockdown. It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine—and I can ceertainly attest to having much fun writing this work.
Darwood’s Field Notes: The Eventual Demise of Dadaland
The county pig lives in the village! It serves the good of the community by gnawing on rooftops and prepubescent annoying children. At City Hall, the town jester hunts his prey with a Geiger counter and ukulele, hoping to ensnare civil servants in order to sing to them.
In the village square, the heretic vomits on pedestrian consumers as they exit a pharmacy. A hermit, dressed in orange, watches from a safe distance, fondling his turnips. At times, he waves nervously to a priest who is fishing for compliments from his cathedral.
At the steps of the palace, a royal guard clips his toenails and sells them to the hungry and the poor. Inside the reception hall, the King lays in state, farting silently. And, in the adjacent courtyard, the town crier shoots bare-footed messengers who have gathered for communion before embarking on a pilgrimage to the post office.
On the path to the community abattoir, a streaker sits in a small park studying a Fall fashion catalog from a mail-order cheese-maker. An old hag sits above him in a tree blowing a whistle. A groundskeeper is observed planting sardines in the rose-garden … and in time, some firemen arrive and begin hosing off the sidewalk pavement from the previous evening’s defecation rituals. A temperamental mutt barks in the distance before being pounced on by a rabid armadillo.
A long procession of duck-billed platypi, not to be confused with chicken-beaked platypodes or faux anteater-snout wearing platypuses, march towards the post office. They honk in unison as they pass a little girl named Dadiana who is scolding a large tree for its vanity. Her older brother, the village sophisticate, rolls around on the ground beside her, laughing obnoxiously at his own jokes.
Yes! All was well in Dadaland … until the day a cargo freighter fell from the heavens above … flooding the village with its hold: an assorted mix of pink lawn flamingos, toy bowling pins and tin soldiers. The village was never the same … and in three days’ time descended into the annals of mediocrity as just another lost Atlantis cum Washington.
Oh, such was the glory and cautionary tale of Dadaland, the lost paradise. Such a cavalcade of exceptionalism, the world would never see the likes of again.
PS: Please contact me, if you would like to license this work for ‘Hollywood treatment’. Cheap rates.