Tucker Lieberman: Author Interview

Dale Stromberg talked to me about my forthcoming novel. On process, reality, and chocolate.

Stromberg Literary

Tucker Lieberman is a novelist, memoirist, literary critic, poet, editor, and photographer based in Bogotá. I was fortunate enough to offer editorial input on his forthcoming novel, Most Famous Short Film of All Time (tRaum Books, 2022); now that it is soon to be released, we sat down at our keyboards a hemisphere apart to chat about the book.

DS: Tell me about the genesis of the novel. Was there a scene or image that came to you and grew into a larger story? Or did the story arrive more fully formed?

TL: In 2015, I made a messy pile of nonsense scraps of text that I shuffled like a deck of cards. It had therapeutic value for me and I privately referred to it as “a novel.” Of hundreds of pages (unpublishable for various reasons), two key scenes wouldn’t let me go, and I pulled them out to become…

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Ten Past Noon — A BOOK REVIEW

An enthusiastic review of my book, Ten Past Noon, which this week celebrates its second anniversary of publication.

He Waited on the Couch to Die

Focus and Fate at Forty A book by Tucker Lieberman

AKA David Lynch, ‘I don’t know why people expect art to make sense. Life doesn’t make sense.’ AKA The perfect reader is out there, they just might be living in the wrong century as you…. so like, don’t lose faith, pal. AKA I should trim all the wordfat off of this post, but if you moofs will indulge me, I just want to spray about everything this book made me feel, with no truncation. So without further ado.

You Only Have 30 Seconds Review: This book will make you think. This book will make you feel. It’s about creativity, life, death, what makes us human, and stop wanting to be human, and it will clean you house and clear your skin and enrich your mind, so go out and read this book! Ask your library to carry it so…

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Werewolf Rules

Gingerbread House Lit Mag

The soul tries to be good. 

Your brain breaks, spits fire,
leans toward evil, gerrymanders
grimoires, makes antiquarian excuses,
crafts werewolf rules
to cram your day job into the schedule
of what you are really trying to do.

The soul powers through—

keeping pace with you as you gambol
along the road, free-paw, clawed
step by step, baretooth grin and howl,
backward and invalid. Almost no soul.
Half-wolf. At least you are alive.

The body needs to sprint 

in dark and cold. You run backward,
possessed by bats with spark plugs
for eyes. In quarter intervals, you revolve
the conundrum of your persistent
compassion for those who reject
you for invalid reasons.

You have to cease grating.
You have to pull on your boots.

Cultivate compassion one step
at a time, your heart pumping
your own slow walk of acceptance.

Start with your feet, push back,
lift up, lean forward…

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The elk had to accept help

So, there have been recurring sightings in Colorado of a particular four-year-old male elk, noticeable because he had slipped his head through an auto tire and then grown antlers so large that the tire would not slip off. I do not live in Colorado, but I heard about this yesterday in the New York Times.

“It’s tough to look at nearly two years of a pandemic head on, to describe exactly what happened and is happening. To talk about the grief and loss and hope without reaching for symbols, for comparisons that might confer some meaning on it all. The elk’s predicament (tire on neck) and its remediation (remove tire from neck) are appealing in their simplicity. Real life, of course, is sprawling, abstract, unpredictable. It’s easier to say “We are all the elk” than to reckon with the bewildering particulars of Covid, quarantine and after.”

Let’s Talk About the Elk,” Melissa Kirsch, New York Times, October 13, 2021

For this elk, there was a solution. People tranquilized it, sawed off its antlers, slipped the tire over its head, then gave it a drug to reverse the effects of the tranquilizer. It woke up and walked away. For a while, it will also be less vulnerable to hunters, as they will not want to shoot it if there are no antlers to take as a trophy. The elk had to accept help. This, too, is a metaphor.