Q&A with Frank Hinton, I Don't Respect Female Expression

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frank hinton

Here's something on Frank Hinton. I read Frank Hinton's chapbook back in February, thought about it, then read it again a few days ago, and said “something needs to be on Codex about this.” Those may not have been my exact words, or they may have been.

Frank also runs the very influential daily story blog, Metazen. It's in Canada. Or it's run out of Canada. Frank lives in Canada too.

I sent Frank some questions about the excellent book, I Don't Respect Female Expression, out now from Safety Third Enterprises. It's all sold out so you'll have to grab the digital, which is totally fine. Frank also has another book coming out sometime soon on Tiny Hardcore Press.

We open this thing up talking about raccoons. Yeah, raccoons.

There's a raccoon in one of your stories, “A Medium Sized Mammal Native to North America.” This past weekend, I went camping and a raccoon broke open my cooler. He didn't care if I shined the flashlight into his eyes. And I didn't have a trap.

I think the only thing to do then is attack. Raccoons respond to force. I hope you got up and went to bat and broke out something manly.

If 'Lone Coon' (mentioned in 'A Medium Sized Mammal Native to North America') was made into a movie by Pixar, who would voice the 'star raccoon' in the movie?

I don’t know, maybe Michael Pitt. I think it would have to be a vulnerable fighter. I think he has the kind of face for a raccoon too, his wikipedia picture’s perfect. Now, I’m going to focus hard on not equating Pitt to a raccoon from this point forward in my life.

I think I could read more stories about Frank and Lili. Or maybe all the other stories in the book are about Frank & Lilli. Are they?

Frank and Lili are the little mystery I’ve been playing with for a few years. I think that story is pretty close to real life, that’s why people like it.

There's a lot of “you” speaking to “I” relational pieces. Why does the 2nd person work for you?

I’m sort of interested in the things that men think go unnoticed and how those things are noticed and how those noticed things are internalized. I write out of intense refractions of internalization. I don't know.

At the same time I’m sort of interested in the things that maybe someone completely vulnerable might think and feel so I like the immediacy of the “I”.

Will the VHS tape make a comeback like the cassette tape?

There’s nothing wrong with a stack of casssetes piled up in some old Ford Escort, or something. Audio as a media is still sacred but there’s something filthy about the VHS to me. I think it’s because I used to put movies in that were “mine” but my brother had clearly used to masturbate because he forgot to rewind back from the nude scene. That’s the power of VHS.

Does Metazen have a style?

I think when I started metazen in 2008 I was drunk. It was literally a wordpress.com blog. I wrote something stupid about someone named “Frank” and left it alone for a while. Then I saw some things going on online with people like Matt Bell and Blake Butler and Tao Lin and it seemed like everybody I respected had 1) their writing and 2) their “site that was for writers”

So I saw that combination and tried to make something myself. I wanted something that wasn’t full of ads, that changed every day, that felt sexy and involved a community. That is kind of the style, maybe. It also reflects my ineptitude with HTML. I think we could be more stylish. I feel unstylish right now.

When I read “Fake Kiss,” I thought the phrase “relationship gaps.” But I guess that's what a relationship always — a gap b/w one person and the other person.

There are a lot of good stories about desiring someone and then that desire turning into loathing. I think I tried to do that in “Fake Kiss” only really quickly, in a couple hundred words. I tried to rush from full desire to full loathing. So the gap there is the cause of the loathing, the million things that break people apart.

Are you writing anything else right now?

Yes. I have a novel coming out in 2012 which is tentatively titled Action, Figure. It’s actually the story of Frank and Lili exploded. Frank and Lili live together in an apartment but aren’t dating, aren’t together but it’s about the weird attractions they have to the things around them. Lili is in the present tense and Frank’s written in the past tense. It is probably as close to a living model of my actual life that I can build using words.