Interviews

May 14, 2010      

An Interview With Munter Jack by David Hoenigman

Munter Jack (aka THE FUG) lives in Brighton, England. He writes short stories, flash fiction, poetry and is an occasional performer of spoken word. He has produced a number of chap books through FUG PRESS – “INK”, “TEA AND PIKELETS”, “DONKEYS”, NITROUS OXIDE”, “GLITCH”, “KINETIC MEDITATION”, “OOF IT, BOOF IT, BOFF”. A collection of his flash fiction called “OFFSHORE NAVIGATION” has recently been released as an ebook on SCRIBD, courtesy of LOUFFA PRESS. MUNTER JACK has featured in ezines POETRY WARRIOR, OFF BEAT PULP, SMOKEBOX and magazines GAIJINGE and SILENT REVOLUTION. His spoken word has featured on DARBOLISTIC REX and SILENT REVOLUTION compilations. MUNTER JACK will be releasing a new collection of flash fiction called “SIX STEPS TO A BETTER YOU” through FUG PRESS at the end of May 2010. Check out Munter Jack on Myspace and Facebook. Or email: FUGPRESS@HOTMAIL.COM

What projects are you currently working on?

Last year I put out two collections of flash fiction – “Oof it, Boof it, Boff” and “Kinetic Meditation”. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a new collection that I’ve been writing over the last 6 months. Hopefully it will be ready to take to the printers next week. Still working on a front cover. Struggling to create a suitable image for it.

When and why did you begin writing?

I went through a phase of writing some really bad poetry between the age of 16 and 20. A long long time ago. Hormonal ennui was probably the driving force that got me into writing then. I came back to writing about five years ago after a gap of 15 years in which most of my time was taken up with visual arts, mainly photography. I have really enjoyed the process of getting back into writing. I think it’s just the way my brain works. It’s a wordy brain. Always liked playing with words so writing feels natural. I also like the solitude that comes with writing. I’m a sociable person, but I do like to have plenty of time to myself. Probably why I liked photography so much. Being a photographer means putting yourself in the position of being an outsider looking in. That seems to be quite a natural position me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I never dare to consider myself a writer. I’ve got this fear of jinxing myself if I use those words about myself. I’m a person who enjoys writing. If other people want to call me a writer I feel highly honoured. An old friend called me a writer when he introduced me to someone recently and I became really embarrassed. But then, for the next few days I was beaming.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I write poetry and flash fiction and usually over a period of six months I build up a body of work that I feel comfortable putting out as a collection. The first collection I put out was called “iNK”. I made 50 copies and gave them all away to friends and friends of friends. That was four years ago, when I called myself THE FUG (THE FUG was the name I gave my spoken word persona originally). I thought that first chap book I made was great at the time but find it hard to read without cringing now. I suppose that is a good sign; it suggests progression. Not sure what inspired me to do it. Just that sense of wanting to communicate something about the way I see and understand the world around me. I think it’s as simple as that.

Who or what has influenced your writing?

Old people. The older and madder the better. When I return to my home town in the north of England I spend a lot of time standing around in charity shops, listening to old people talking about hip operations, cataracts and mad stuff like someone they know who got CJD from eating squirrel brains. They have these fantastically dark and at the same time very humorous conversations as they rummage through large boxes of second hand underpants. It’s truly surreal and utterly engrossing. A lot of my writing is an extension of overheard dialogue. People often say that they can imagine my work being spoken in a northern English accent. I think the darkness of northern English humour is definitely evident in my writing.

Has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Absolutely. As I was saying in the previous answer, the part of northern England I’m from is a big influence on my writing. I love the humour of the north. It’s quite abstract. I came from a small town in the north and there isn’t much going on culturally but the people are real odd and interesting characters. When I go back to visit family I find myself spending a lot of time people watching. I also find that recently I’ve been writing a lot of personal experience into my work. Especially in the prose.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think I have a particular style, though I find it hard to describe. I suppose it’s very character based and the prose and the poetry often read as monologues or dialogues. I tend to write about specific moments rather than constructing narrative. Maybe it’s something to do with the years of photography. My prose is always very short and it often reads as vignettes; snapshots of everyday moments from a rather peculiar angle. These vignettes are often fun to turn into spoken word performance pieces. I do quite a lot of spoken word.

Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?

I think that there are certain themes in my work that reappear in different guises. I can’t define a particular message but I do explore ideas such as the loss (and questioning) of notions of spirituality, the complexities of self image and reflections on sexual experience in contemporary society. I’m not sure what I want the reader to know about my view of these things. I think I just want to shake up peoples way of thinking about the human experience; make them think about things from a wholly new angle.

What is the most misunderstood aspect of your work?

Me. Most people when they first meet me find it difficult to associate me with my writing.

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