Monday, September 24, 2012

Psychology and Other Stories: An Interview with, Um, Somebody.

"The most audaciously original
collection of Canadian fiction,
ever."—Bill Gaston
Morning, folks. Well we're midway through our 
where today C.P. BOYKO, NADINE McINNIS, AND ALICE PETERSEN are dropping in the glorious border town of 
Talking Leaves Books
2158 Main St
7 PM. 
If you're in Buffalo—if you know anyone in Buffalo—heck if you know anybody within 10 miles of Buffalo who likes books & who can ride said Buffalo through the streets to Talking Leaves (which is really one of the most wonderful indie bookstores around)—then by all means pass word along. 
We've talked about Nadine's book, and Norm's, so today on Thirsty I feel it's time to talk about the mysterious and enigmatic C.P. Boyko. Who is this man, I'm often asked. Does he really have schizophrenia? Were his parents therapists? And when you say they skimped on the affection, well ... what does that mean? Or why (in the words of one student journalist), did he write this effin strange book?
To satiate the curiousity of the masses, therefore, we conducted a little interview with the man himself. You can also see Boyko, however fleetingly, however obscurely—indeed I urge you to embrace this rare opportunity, as he hasn't yet resorted to reading with a paper bag over his head—tonight at Talking Leaves.
About the Author
Clearly Mr. Boyko has read too much; no doubt he was sickly as a child. His distrust of psychologists is also easily explained: his parents were therapists, and did not give him enough affection; or he took an undergraduate degree in psychology but failed to make any friends in the department; or he had a bad experience with an analyst.
An Interview with, Um, Somebody
Q. Your collection is called Psychology and Other Stories, yet none of the stories appear to be called “Psychology.”
A. Correct.
Q. Is psychology, the study of human behavior and the human mind, in your opinion just a "story"?
A. I probably shouldn't answer that.
Q. How seriously should we take you when you, along with Jim Bird in the epigraph to “Paddling an Iceberg,” assert that fiction and psychology are the same?
A. I'd prefer not to comment on that.
Q. Elsewhere you’ve called this book a “novel in six parts,” though you remain a devotee of the short story form.
A. Yes.
Q. What about Psychology and Other Stories is novelistic?
A. Perhaps I exaggerated.
Q. Well, how would you define the novel?
A. A book of fiction, 30,000+ words in length.
Q. And a collection of short stories?
A. A book of several fictions, each <30,000 words in length.
Q. What about collections of interrelated fictions, or "novels in stories"?
A. Yes, I like them, too.
Q. But are they novels or collections of stories?
A. I'm not sure.
Q. Moving on. It appears that the subjects of the stories in Psychology and Other Stories are drawn from the fringes of the mental health industry, perhaps moreso than the mainstream (with its clinical trials, controversial research methods, studies of brain chemistry, etc.). What governed your choice of subjects?
A. I'd rather not say.
Q. What research did you do in the writing of this book?
A. Lots.
Q. Who were your influences?
A. Oh, all kinds of people.
Q. Some of the characters -- psychologists among them -- seem disenchanted with psychology and psychologists. Were you arguing against anybody as you wrote it?
A. No comment.
Q. How about this. How about I read to you a list of the authors that you quote or cite in the book, and you blink once if you approve of them or their theories, and blink twice if you disapprove of them or their theories. William James. Freud. Alfred Adler. You’re not blinking. Nietzsche. Stanley Milgram. Thomas Szasz. Norman Vincent Peale. You’re still not blinking.
A. [blinking rapidly, with relief]
Q. Are you in this book?
A. Kind of, but not really.
Q. Who’s your favourite character in it?
A. It’s hard to say.
Q. If you could give this book to one person in the history of psychology (or of psychological literature), to whom would you give it and why?
A. Next question.

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