Friday, April 26, 2013

Interview 21: Bob Stout

Greetings humans, half-breeds, and everything in between. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview my new friend, Bob Stout. He is visiting the ECS as a guest and sharing loads of interesting insights into his work. Be sure to look around and see what he has to offer. Here are the results of our interview. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.

Hi there Bob! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ECS Universe. Don’t worry about the darkness, your eyes will adjust.

 So tell me, who is Bob Stout?

I’m a freelance journalist who has worked as a magazine editor and newspaper reporter and copy editor and at various times, and as a government accountant, theater director, and factory worker. I have written two books, two novels, and half-a-dozen poetry chapbooks. I have a degree from a Mexican university and currently live in Oaxaca.

A man of many talents I see. Well, I’m glad to meet you and look forward to getting to know more about you.

So whacha got for me today?

Running Out the Hurt provides a vivid picture of life in Mexico as a
formerly ragtag bunch of losers led by a teenaged refugee become national baseball championship contenders. On the way they celebrate their victories, agonize over losses, brawl, flirt, joke, and coalesce into a community of caring, fun-loving and vigorous baseball players, wives, lovers, and fans. Although baseball is the thread that binds the characters in Running Out the Hurt together, the novel focuses on personal relationships and provides an entertaining and intimate look at baseball, Mexico, and at how human relationships struggle and prosper.

You know “they” say that Baseball is America’s sport and think it’s true. All up and down North and South America baseball brings people together. This sounds like a great book for sports fans and anyone who likes to read a story that relates to real life.

So who’s starring is this 2 dimensional script read of Running Out the Hurt?

Teenaged Alejandro Lòpez, who left his native Cuba to sign a professional baseball contract, is the novel’s central character, but each of the book’s nine innings (chapters) focuses on a different team member: Juan Gabriel the hippie right fielder, Paco the taxi driver pitcher, flamboyant Carlos the fun loving left fielder, surly Sergio the catcher, etc… plus the women in their lives and the opponents they play against.

Sounds like a truly diverse and fun loving cast, so to speak. I like that your book is broken down into innings, not that it’s terribly clever, but it is different. I like when authors try something a little different.

Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

As a professional journalist I learned to produce day-in and day-out. Even freelancing I always seemed to have more projects going than I could keep up with—if I had to work all night to meet a deadline I worked all night. I write a lot of political commentary, including a monthly essay for an online review, and continue to publish poetry regularly. I always feel that I have things that I want to convey and am surrounded by lists, files, books, and manuscripts as well as half-filled coffee cups, classical and folk CDs and a perennially hungry cat.

Work, work, work until you get the job done, but what if the job never ends? I guess everyone has a system that works for them; I just hope you don’t overdo it. If you are constantly working, I hope you are at least constantly enjoying it.

What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

That’s a tough one. Richard Halliburton when I was a boy because of his adventurous reporting of his travels around the world.

D.H. Lawrence as a young adult because of his unyielding honesty.

 Hannah Arendt for her insight and intelligence. 

Quite a list here and what variety. I must admit that I am not familiar with the works of Hannah Arendt, but it’s never too late to learn.

 Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Casanova. For his vivacity; I picture him as a great storyteller, quite possibly an even greater liar. I’d want the interview to take place in a French tavern, with a bottle of good brandy on the table and some of his friends around him. What a blast that could be!

Wow, now I bet that would be something. If you get him to tell you things that haven’t already been written, you might find that a new shade of blush has covered your face… Perhaps you are like the Italians; they don’t really seem to blush much.

Who is so you and why?
A former editor compared me to Kurtz of the Heart of Darkness for “disappearing” into Oaxaca; a writing associate compared me with Tom Sawyer for my stories about growing up in rural Wyoming; a psychologist friend compared me with the TV detective [Columbo] portrayed by Peter Faulk for my interviewing style.

Well you just seem to be all over the place. I wonder if your personality ever gets itself confused?

What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?

Ideal reading spot? My couch, feet propped up, bowl of popcorn on one side, beer on the other, cat on my lap, CD playing. Excited to read? I read a lot and enjoy reading, but I seldom if ever anticipate what I’m going to read. Baseball games excite me, sexy women excite me, but I don’t have ñany highly anticipated reads.

So comfort is a necessity when you read; that I can agree with. It’s too bad there’s nothing out there you’re just waiting to read. I find that there is always something I’m anticipating…the next Batman comic, the next blockbuster based on a book I’ve actually read, the next book I haven’t read that everyone else seems to have. I like anticipation. It makes life interesting.

What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

The adventure tales of Richard Halliburton. [Several titles and volumes available at Barnes & Nobel and Amazon.]

You really do like these true adventure, but I wonder- do you ever have any such adventures of your own?…

Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Pues sì

Alright then, here we go.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Black Orpheus. Set in Rio de Janeiro during Mardi Gras and based on the ancient Eurydice myth, it is brilliantly filmed and has a vibrant sound track. I was agog when I first saw it and for years had a 33 [vinyl record] of the music.

What an original answer and a good one. I enjoy creative retellings of ancient stories and this is a good one. I like to collect soundtracks to good movies and actually have quite a few of my own on vinyl.

What makes you geek out?

A good baseball game. (Actually any baseball game.) Being on stage. (Even though I’m a bad actor.) A beautiful woman’s smile. (Actually any woman’s smile.)

So what’s testing your patience right now?

What’s testing my patience is MicroSoft Word, which I curse daily. But I have a volume of poetry coming out in a few months called A Perfect Throw.

When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

Glee? Probably “When I was a lad…” [<=listen] from Mutiny on the Bounty which I once used as an audition piece.

Rage? Any rightwing political song.

What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?

The first weeks of falling in love with either of my wives or any of my novias.

Remind me again how I was lucky enough to meet you?

From Black Rose Writing, I saw a mention of your website in their PR notes, plunked the link and decided to get in touch with you.

My, how word does travel. Sometimes I’m still amazed by the wonders of technology and the way the world has become so much “smaller” in both good and no so good ways. I’m glad you decided to connect with me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your visit.

Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Beer will be more expensive, tlayudas will be more expensive, gas will be more expensive, bus fare will be more expensive, writers will earn even less.

Ok humans, half-breeds, and everything in between, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Bob Stout, check out these great links:

Bob’s email: