Author2Author: Mario Acevedo & Marta Acosta

It made sense for Mario Acevedo and Marta Acosta to launch a blog together last year. After all, Marta writes, when she was shopping around her debut novel, Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, “it got declined by someone who said he already had a similar project. And I was like, yeah, sure, there’s another comic Latino vampire novelist out there. Then I found out that Mario had a three-book deal for wacky Latino vampire novels. Whoda thunk?”

Since both of them have recently come out with their second novels—X-Rated Bloodsuckers for Mario, Midnight Brunch for Marta—I thought it would be a fun idea to bring them together for an Author2Author chat, even though the blog they created with fellow vampire novelist Jeanne Stein, Biting Edge has evolved into a new permutation, with Marta leaving to concentrate on a new blog called Vampire Wire. And here they are!

mario-acevedo.jpgMario Acevedo: Marta, you’ve written a contemporary novel about a Latina and a vampire, but what binds the story is your humor. How hard is it for you to use humor as a literary device? Are you a naturally funny person? If someone was reading your book and started laughing, what would be your reaction?

marta-acosta.jpgMarta Acosta: I grew up in a family with three boys, and we all told funny stories and jokes. I didn’t realize that “chicks aren’t funny” until I got older. As much as I love serious literature, I also love jokesters, from Mel Brooks to Monty Python, Richard Pryor to Dave Chappell, Will Shakespeare to P.G. Wodehouse. I will make a joke about anything, and humor is absolutely essential to the way in which I deal with the world and its attendant sorrows and tragedies. Or maybe I’m justifying my essential silliness, whatever.

I was always trying to reconcile my compulsion to make jokes with my love of good writing. I’m from the working class, and I dislike the elitism of some in the literary world who often seem more interested in internecine battling over who is the most sensitive when sleeping on 20 mattresses set atop an Oprah Book Club selection than in books themselves. I really honed my comic voice when I wasted my work time on a company e-forum. My greatest thrill was when wrote something that entertained everyone, from the young receptionists to the Ph.Ds. It was an easy step going from there to writing humorous columns in newspapers.

What I didn’t anticipate is the resistance to women as humorists. Guys are all, “Women don’t have a sense of humor. It’s chick lit crap.” So I’m all, “Yeah, we do, but our humor extends beyond the scatological, you jackass.”


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24 May 2007 | author2author |

Cathy Park Hong, “The Lineage of Yes-Men”

Nut’ing but brine jars y jaundice widows en mine old village.
I’s come from ‘eritage o peddlas y traitors,
whom kneel y quaff a lyre spoon-me-spondas. Mine fadder
sole Makkoli wine to whitey GIs din guidim to widows fo bounce.
Me grandfadder sole Makkoli wine to Hapenese colonists
din he guidim to insurrectas… sticka hop? Some pelehuu?

Afta war, villa men pelt mine grandfadder wit ground stones.
He stand in de cold tillim fingas frost jawed, until blewblack.

Villagers callim yellow, callim chihuahua ssaeki, a dies irae
fo yesman—he yessed his way to gravestone.

Din mine fadder sole Makkoli—he a ‘Merriken GI chihuahua.
Some populii tink GIs heroes with dim strafing “Pinko chink”
but eh! Those Jees like regula pirates, search fo booty y pillage…

He took Jees to war widows tho widows too dry woeing tears

for Eros. He like mine grandfadder yessed y yessed, nodded
til no lift him fes up. In his deathbed… sayim to me,
Ttallim, you say no, no, no, you say only no. Him fes
waterlog de liquor y when him die, he retched white.

From Dance Dance Revolution, the winner of the 2006 Barnard Women Poets Prize. Hong will be reading with Christian Hawkey and Rachel Zucker tomorrow night at a Bryant Park event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. After that, check her blog for future events… or listen to her read the poem “Zoo” at Salon.

7 May 2007 | poetry |

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