Earlier this year saw the release of Jamie Iredell’s second book, The Book of Freaks, from Future Tense Press, on the heels of his much beloved Prose: Poetry, A Novel. Essentially an encyclopedia-style catalog of human oddities and the author’s wild ruminations on everything from Russians to People Named Spencer and Their Wives, the whole assemblage works as a collage you can dip in and out of with immediate pleasure, but also manages to construct among its pieces a hybrid narrative that is truly singularly Iredellian. Over the past several weeks, Jamie was kind enough to take some time to talk about some of the manners of the book with me via email.
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BB: Having published your first book that was largely autobiographical, but in some ways also a book full of freaks, how did you end beginning work on an actual, encyclopedia-styled Book of Freaks?
JI: I don’t know. I didn’t really think about it at all, in that I wasn’t thinking “I’m writing a book.” I was just writing shit mostly in the Notes App on my iPhone. Basically talking shit. When I thought something was funny or fucked or whatever, I’d write about it, and then in rewriting I’d make it better. Eventually I saw themes developing. I caught a bunch of these A&E shows about obese people, or folks with other debilitating conditions, like this woman with one part of her body (legs) growing out of control her entire life, so her legs were all fucked up huge while the rest of her was normal. Then I figured, if there’s something interesting about those people then there’s something equally interesting about Mexicans, or people who purposely style their hair into fauxhawks.