Interviewed on Quiddity

Eric was interviewed by Jim Warner on Quiddity: International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, as part of their 5Q4Q interview series:
Each Friday, the editors of Quiddity ask hard hitting, probing inquiries to writers and editors generous enough with their time to answer… 5 Questions 4 Quiddity.

This week, we sound the tornado alarm with Eric Shonkwiler. Eric’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Fiddleblack, [PANK] Magazine, and Midwestern Gothic. He was born and raised in Ohio, received his MFA from The University of California Riverside, and has lived and worked in every contiguous U.S. time zone. His debut novel, Above All Men, is a Midwest Connections 2014 Pick and is available now from MG Press.

1. Eric Idle, Eric Clapton, or Eric Roberts?
We can safely remove Clapton from the equation because I just can’t stomach that watered-down blues anymore; if it’s not sizzling and popping I don’t want to hear it (though, admittedly, I can live with Layla on repeat). Idle wins the coin toss, though I have no qualms with an actor working as hard as Eric Roberts. Dude’s in everything.

2. Our former intern, Josh Daugette is leaving the cozy confines of the House of Q to return to his home state of Missouri. While he is a lifelong Midwesterner, we can’t help but worry about him in tornado season. Can you provide us with a detailed list of items in your tornado preparedness kit?
I’d like to be jovial about this and say the list begins and ends with bourbon (passes the time in the basement and disinfects in a pinch), but in reality the kit begins with a radio and ends with the sense to get underground when the sky turns green. There’s no screwing around with tornadoes. They’re the only system of weather that behaves like a person. And that’s terrifying.

Addendum: Tornado warning hours after receiving this email. House leveled twenty miles away.

3. The other day the Q staff was talking about Biblical references in art and culture. The allusion to such a spiritual text is a delicate balance — in some cases invoking religious imagery can color your perspective to the creative work before you have an opportunity to even break the spine of a book. Further, such references encourages discussion and discourse about our capacity to see the Bible as something beyond the institution — as relevant a literary source as Shakespeare or Chaucer. That said, would Johnny Cash have been able to save any Creed songs by covering them?

4. Seriously, who’s drinking blended bourbon?
Don’t go around knocking blended bourbon — you never know when you’ll need it. Down on your luck, any time is the right time for Early Times.*

*You bet your ass I’m available for commercials and radio spots.

5. So Athens, OH, has its own Pink Floyd tribute band (the slyly named Any Colour). Where’s the Songs:Ohia tribute band?
There are a number of problems with an Athens-located Songs tribute band (They’re called Two Blue Lights, by the way.). Chief among them is that you could never be depressed enough in Athens to play The Black Crow convincingly. All you have to do to break out of your troubles is roll your sorry self down to The Union Bar and remember that nobody can be sad for long in a college town where Jameson consumption trumps vodka, tequila, and rum sales.”

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