deareverybody1Michael Kimball’s third novel, Dear Everybody, is now in paperback in the US, UK, and Canada. The Believer calls it “a curatorial masterpiece.” Time Out New York calls the writing “stunning.” And the Los Angeles Times says the book is “funny and warm and sad and heartbreaking.” His first two novels are The Way the Family Got Away (2000) and How Much Of Us There Was (2005). His work has been on NPR’s All Things Considered and in Vice, as well as The Guardian, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, Open City, Unsaid, and New York Tyrant. He is also responsible for Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard)—and two documentary films, I Will Smash You (2009) and 60 Writers/60 Places (2010).

What story or book do you feel closest to?

For me, it’s always books over stories. I can’t think of a story I feel close to, but there are so many books. The few that I go back to over and over, which makes them feel close in a way are DeLillo’s End Zone, Davis’ The End of the Story, and Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter. Of my own work, it’s whatever I’m working on at the time. Of my published work, it’s How Much of Us There Was, mostly because it is my most personal book, so to speak.

Do you have a mentor? Do you yourself mentor?

I don’t officially mentor, but there is a young man, who was homeless and addicted to crack for a time, and I try to help when I can. If it’s just writing that we’re talking about, I don’t have a mentor, but I do help people with some of the vagaries of the publishing industry when I can – contracts, agents, all that.

How do you stay creative? What are your tricks to get “unstuck?”

I like to do things and make things, so staying or being creative is never much of an issue for me. And I’m usually doing more than one thing at a time—either writing fiction, writing life stories, painting, making documentaries. If I ever am feeling stuck, then I just do something else. And, then, whenever I go back to the stuck thing, I’m usually not stuck anymore. I like to let my subconscious do work for me like that whenever I can.

What are your favorite websites?

I love HTMLGIANT and Largehearted Boy and Big Other and sites like that that do a great job of getting the word out on a huge range of books and writers.

What is happening right now that you would like to share in your writing world?

Dear Everybody just came out in paperback, which is pretty exciting. And my pseudonym, Andy Devine, which I’ve been using for conceptual writing for about 10 years, has a book called Words coming out with Publishing Genius in April.

How did you end up with a pseudonym?

Andy Devine started as my Vegas name and evolved into a pseudonym for my conceptual writing when I was editing Taint Magazine (this was back before there were so many online magazines). We were looking for content and didn’t want to publish work under our own names. Then a while after that, I was telling my agent about it (and how the work was structured) and he thought it was a great idea for me to use the pseudonym for that kind of work. So I kept it in part to keep my agent happy. It’s always good to keep your agent happy.

What is it like to write the life stories of objects for Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story? Just recently I saw one of your postcard life stories about a chair!

I love writing the postcard life stories, of course, but I have a special affection for the life story of Red Delicious Apple and Chair. I have also written them for a Sammy the Dog and Moose the Cat. It pushes the narrative into a perspective that I’m not used to working with, which makes the language fresh. And it also makes me realize that there are stories everywhere.

The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at

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