I Don’t Know Should Matthew Savoca Get a Dog

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HTMLGiant fave Matthew Savoca just came out with his novel yesterday, improbably titled I Don’t Know I Said. Laura van den Berg said it’s a book for anyone who has ever been bored. Michael Kimball said it’s got more charm than it should ever have. Scott McClanahan said it’s like eating baby food with a loved one. Chris Killen said he’d recommend it to anybody. The book is about Arthur and Carolina, youths in love, trying to do it right. Here’s an interview with Matthew, if you’re bored. On Friday evening Matthew will read the entire novel and broadcast it at Everyday Genius.

Hi Matthew.
Hi Sarah.

Tell me about the most exciting thing you’ve experienced in the past month.
The first thing that came to my mind is the other day when I thought about getting a dog. I was on a 2 hour drive and I just sat there and thought for a long time about having a dog again and about where I would take it and all those kinds of things. What toys I would get, would it be the kind of dog I could let off the leash when we took a walk? Stuff like that.

Oh, also, I went to see Harry Houdini’s grave a couple weeks ago. It’s great. There’s a cool inscription that says, “He went about doing good.” And people leave all this cool stuff there like eye glasses and lighters and playing cards and pictures of their children. I left a broken zipper that I had in my pocket and asked Harry to fix it for me. I gotta pick it up next week. 

What’s going to be inscribed on your tombstone?
Wish you were here.

The two characters in I Don’t Know I Said, Arthur and Carolina, have a passive and aggressive manner to each of them, respectively. As a person who is both passive and aggressive (but not passive aggressive) I think it works in terms of a healthy relationship, or healthy enough. I might not actually know what a healthy relationship is. I don’t think most people would agree with me. Do you? 
Probably not. But, you know, up until the 20’s and 30’s medical science used to get most of its information from digging up dead bodies to study. And since people who died with a lot of money often got buried in places that were hard to get into, these researchers ended up getting mostly poor people who were buried in shallow graves. So they started compiling lists of what a “healthy” or “normal” body was like and then they used that information to treat living people. But all their information ended up being really skewed because the bodies of people who lived a life in the lower class tended to show all kinds of stresses and abnormalities that wouldn’t otherwise have been that way in a healthy “normal” person. This mistake led to tens of thousands of deaths based on misdiagnoses. So that’s what I think about people agreeing with you.

I read IDKIS in two sittings. I was in a moving vehicle both times and didn’t get sick once. It’s a sharp book about ‘sad and smart and twenty-somethings,’ as Mike Kimball blurbed. I’m a somewhat sad and smart twenty-something, so I can relate. Mike is not, but he still managed. The book is much more than the accounts of young adults on a road trip, though this concept makes it fun and accessible. What do you think about the relatability of IDKIS outside of the realm of wandering young adults?
There isn’t any. That’s one answer . . . Well, I guess books are cool because they’re the closest thing you can get to being inside another person’s head. Right? And there are all kinds of things in there that anyone can relate to and get something from and enjoy. Most of my favorite stories to hear are from old grandmas, who you’d think I would have nothing in common with but actually I feel closer to them than my closest friends. And grandmas like my stories too. They love them.

If Arthur and Carolina were animals, what would they be? Carolina is definitely a house cat sitting on the floor, looking towards the top of a refrigerator and searching for a window ledge or shelf to hop onto on her way up. She knows what she wants, sort of, but is unsure of how to get there, and once she’s there, she will probably jump right back down. Damn, does this sound bad? I really relate to Carolina and now I think that sounds bad. 
I think they’d both be sloths because they move so slow and they don’t do anything, but they’re cute and people like to watch them on TV, at least I do. But yeah, what you said about the cat is pretty damn accurate. She’d be just like that. And you’d just sit there and watch her and feel bad for her, and then when you tried to go and pick her up she’d run away and then she’d come right back and then run away and then you’d go out and get a dog.

I think maybe you should get a dog.
Don’t do this to me Sarah.

What are you trying to figure out, right now?
How to sell some damn books.

It’s a beautiful book, really. Thanks, Matthew!
Thank you Sarah!