An Interview with Wolf Larsen
Question: So why do you write?
Wolf: I write for the same reason that I f*ck – it’s an important part of life!
Q. I noticed there’s a lot of sex in your books – why is that?
Wolf: F*cking is an important part of life! If it wasn’t for f*cking we wouldn’t be here! It’s all about fluids.
Q. So you write for the same reason that you have sex?
Wolf: Sex is an urge that drives every human being on this planet whether they admit it or not! Writing and sex are some of the strongest urges I have ever felt. I must write! I must f*ck! It’s that simple.
Q. So what are some of the other urges you feel?
Wolf: To change the world and get drunk and fly off to Amsterdam right now!
Q. Why do you want to change the world?
Wolf: Look at it! There’s nuclear bombs hanging over our heads, AIDS is sweeping over the earth, half the human race lives on less than two dollars a day, and there’s all this endless wars, wars, wars. The conservatives tell us all to eat sh*t and vote Republican. The liberals tell us to respect animals and trees and vote Dixiecrat. The parties in power go back and forth but the wars, prison building, and attacks on unions, women, minorities, gays, and the poor just go on and on. So basically I want to change everything.
Q. But if you want to change the world than how come you rarely mention politics in your writing?
Wolf: That’s true. It’s more indirect I think. I write about the world the way it is. Lynching, war, racial tension, rape, pedophile priests, etc – it’s all in my writing because that’s the way the world is. The world is a great place but it also sucks! However, I’m not writing to change the world. I’m not naïve enough to think that writing poetry and some novels and a screenplay is going to change the world. However, I don’t mind crashing the literary world with new and revolutionary ways of writing because just as the old political system has nothing to offer but war and prisons the old literary hierarchy has nothing to offer but lame poems that still rhyme. These people that run the most tired, pretentious “literary” magazines in the country are still living in the 19th century. My writing smashes through all of that.
Q. Do you think a lot of people will find your writing to be offensive?
Wolf: That’s probably true. I’ve noticed that many feminists and born-again Christians react strongly against almost everything that has sex in it. The feminists forgot all about fighting for women’s rights now that they’re in bed with the moral majority. One of the things I think we artists should rebel against is this ridiculous puritanism that dominates our country.
Q. Do you think the black nationalists will be offended too by the interracial sex scenes?
Wolf: Of course! They go around talking about how much they hate the Jews, the Koreans, and integrated couples. If these black nationalists were to put on white sheets nobody would be able to tell the difference!
Q.: Why is there so much interracial sex in your work?
Wolf: I grew up in an interracial neighborhood with lots of beautiful little brown babies running around – to me it seems natural. I’ve also spent lots of time in Latin America. Multiculturalism isn’t something that they just talk about in coffee shops down there – it’s something they’ve been practicing in the bed for hundreds of years.
Q. Do you embrace hedonism?
Wolf: Sure, why not? As long as it’s between consenting adults – whether it’s two or three or thirty! I grew up in the seventies! I watched my older brothers – who were a decade older than me – party and enjoy that free love thing. I couldn’t wait to become an adult! Then just when I was entering puberty in 1980 Ronald Reagan, AIDS, and political correctness came along. It sucked! The free-love progressives started sounding like a bunch of puritanical nuns and the religious right just got out of control. They started bombing abortion clinics. My writing is a rebellion against the whole puritanical hysteria. I guess you could say my writing embraces hedonism.
Q. What would you say are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
Wolf: Afro-Brazilian music, twentieth century classical music, free jazz, painting and sculpture from the 1880s to today. Being exposed from everything from the ghetto on the South Side of Chicago to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
Q. What do you mean “exposed” to the ghetto on the South Side of Chicago?
Wolf: I mean that I grew up in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago that was completely surrounded by the black ghetto. I could see the ghetto from my bedroom window.
Q. What was that like?
Wolf: The neighborhood kids in my housing complex were almost all black – so almost all my first playmates as a kid were black. Almost everybody was nice to me except this fat guy who was just like a black Archie Bunker. The local public school – the elementary school – was a hostile place. I think most of us learned how to fight before we could read and write. By the time first grade was over I had so much practice fighting I could kick anybody’s *** my age. Making people leave me alone was easy – I just waited for them after school and beat them up. I was called into the principal’s office on disciplinary issues all the time – I guess I’ve been rebelling against authority since the first grade. I did try out pacifism for two weeks – those were some of the two worst weeks of my life outside of Alaska. Ironically, most of the white liberals in the neighborhood with their pretty words about multiculturalism and integration sent their kids to lily white private schools.
Q. Do you still fight now?
Wolf: God no! Nobody fights with their fists anymore! Everything is guns – it’s crazy! When I was teenager I almost got shot. I’ve tried to avoid fights ever since. Now, I fight with my pen instead of my fists.
Q. Tell me about Alaska – what was that like?
Wolf: Alaska made the South Side of Chicago seem like Shangri-La in comparison. In my first job in Alaska I worked 115 hours a week of manual labor on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. After nearly two years of the boats I started working on the Aleutian island of Unalaska, Alaska in the port of Dutch Harbor. Most of the time I threw forty-four pound boxes of fish in the freezer hold of a cargo ship. We were expected to throw a minimum of three tons of boxes an hour per man. We worked twelve hour shifts – sometimes more. I also lashed barges and container ships. I worked up to a hundred hours a week and I took about eight months of vacation a year. That’s how I supported my writing and traveling.
Q. Did you travel a lot?
Wolf: I’ve only been to forty-five countries – so I still have about a 150 countries to go. I’ve been through Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. I want to see Africa and Antarctica and all those little islands in the Pacific Ocean. I’ve spent two years of my life on the road – in total – and I’m itching to travel more right now as I speak. I guess you could say I’m kind of restless.
Q. You have an unusual past for a poet and a writer – does your past affect the way you live today?
Wolf: Sometimes it’s kind of hard to relate to all the artsy-fartsy types in the East Village of Manhattan. It seems like when you walk into the East Village you walk into this testosterone-free la-la land… Many of them I get along with quite well, but some of them are just obnoxious privileged brats who talk a lot of p.c. nonsense about what they think “oppression” is and that the Dixiecrats are so great for the country and all that but when they’re talking you practically have to wear Alaskan boots that go up to your knees because it gets so deep.
Q. (Laughs) So how would you describe yourself then? (Laughs again) Are you an intellectual brute?
Wolf: Yes. In some ways I’m intellectual and some ways I’m a brute.
Q. Some people might charge that your work is often disturbing and sometimes sick – how do you answer that?
Wolf: Of course my work is disturbing and sometimes sick! The world is disturbing and sick! Anybody who thinks it’s normal to live with nuclear bombs, AIDS, and extreme poverty all over the planet ought to have their head examined! Anything that’s sanitized and doesn’t reflect the chaotic world we live in is probably boring. My writing style is not enslaved to realism but the horrible realities we live with every day is bound to affect the way I write! Sanitized writing is boring anyway – whether it’s written by uptight born-again Christian males or uptight feminists. I want the reader to be excited about reading! Reading should be a great adventure and books should wake people up – not put them to sleep! I want to charge literature into exciting new extremes that the reader has never experienced before! I want the reader to devour every word! And if anybody thinks that’s sick well let them kiss my a--.
Copyright 2004 by Wolf Larsen