My first contact with the writing of Jason E. Rolfe occurred when I bought (30.05.2013) the novel Synthetic Saints published by Vagabond Press Books. At that time I didn’t know that he “was a French writer and humorist born in Honfleur, Calvados. He was the author of many collections of whimsical writings. A poet as much as a humorist, he cultivated the verse form known as holorhyme…oh wait, that’s Alphonse Allais. This bio is for who? Jason E. Rolfe? I have no idea who that is.” – bio found at Sein und Werden (Now We Are Ten).
Jason E. Rolfe is a worthy successor to Alphonse Allais
Jason is someone that can turn my gloomy days into sunny days, because he’s not only fascinating as a writer but as a person.1. Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. I like to think of myself as an absurdist, but the truth is I’m not purely absurd. I’ve been called “darkly comic”, which sounds good to me.2. What books have most influenced your life?
Well, I’m easily influenced so it’s difficult to say. I’ve evolved as a reader, and as a result I’ve changed considerably as a writer. I would say the books that have influenced me the most as a writer have been “Incidences” by Daniil Kharms and “I Am a Phenomenon Quite Out of the Ordinary: The Notebooks, Diaries and Letters of Daniil Kharms” edited by Anthony Anemone and Peter Scotto, along with “The World of Alphonse Allais” translated and edited by Myles Kingston and “The Best of Myles” by Myles na Gopaleen (Flann O’Brien). In terms of the “life” influence in your question, I would say Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” sits atop a pile that also includes Daumal’s “A Night of Serious Drinking” and “You’ve Always Been Wrong”. There are many, many others I’ve been influenced by, but these are the biggest.3. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Although they likely don’t see themselves this way, I would consider Rhys Hughes and Brendan Connell mentors. I respect what they do and value what they say, and have frequently been inspired by their unique works. In a roundabout sort of way I also consider Alphonse Allais and Daniil Kharms mentors in that I study their work, try to understand it and them, and hope to apply the lessons I learn to my own writing.4. What are your current projects?
Ugh. I have been plugging away at a Vienna novel for several years now. It’s certainly an absurd thing. My goal is to have it done this year. I’m working on a collection of short stories as well. A number of the stories have already been published (you can catch some of them in the nonsense issue of Black Scat Review, which is still available from Black Scat Books!). It would be nice to have those two things done and submitted by the end of 2015, but we’ll see. I have an essay I really want to finish, and some editorial projects I need to wrap up too.5. How much research do you do?
It depends. I did very little research while writing the stories in “An Inconvenient Corpse”. I’ve done loads of research while working on my Vienna novel. I suppose it depends on the type of story. The incidents in “An Inconvenient Corpse” were less about the detail and more about the point I was trying to make with them. If the detail has a role in the story I’ll research it. If not, I probably won’t bother.6. Do you write full-time or part-time?
Is there something less than part-time? Because if there is, that’s what I write. I have a full time job, I’m a full-time parent, I’m taking university courses part-time, and I’m devoutly lazy, so writing usually gets lost in the shuffle.
7. Where do your ideas come from?
Again it depends. The ideas that spawned “An Inconvenient Corpse” were, for the most part, inspired by people and incidents in my life. Two of them, “Unknown Famous Writer” and “A Heavy Burden” were inspired by posts I read on Facebook, oddly enough. The stories in my Vienna novel were inspired by historical events while my Daniil Ivanovich stories are inspired by the (all-too-easy to prove) belief that the world is complete and utter nonsense.8. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can follow me on Facebook (which I frequent far too frequently given the lack of time I have for other things), Twitter (if and when I remember my password), and on my blog (www.jasonrolfe.wordpress.com). They’re more than welcome to pick up my short collection, “An Inconvenient Corpse”, which is #30 in Black Scat Books’ “Absurdist Texts & Documents” series.