As the Cassun Goes Rolling Along... The Complete Parka Collection
[URL=http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/community/member.php?u=4737]Alex Cassun's Profile[/URL]
With his red shock of Hapsburgian bed head and his van living lifestyle, you might expect Alex Cassun to be riding the highways of America solving mysteries, or, possibly, being the villain that scares “those damn kids”. Either way he’s likely to appear standing outside you window, in the rain, looking for a place to sleep.
Recently, our young protagonist took himself southwards to the wild environs of L.A.—swimming pools, movie stars—where he was gifted with a job making Project Greenlight come and dirty your niche market cinema just that much sooner. But hey, it’s one step closer to Alex’s dream of being a music producing, screenwriting, novelist drifter.
He certainly has the mug for at least two of the above.
Alex grew up on the [URL=https://www.dugway.army.mil/default.htm]Dugway[/URL] proving grounds; it’s a creepy biochemical place with some disturbing mottos. You’ll find them peppered throughout the interview Fight Club style.
I met Alex online, on what they call AIM. (That’s AOL Instant Messenger to you and me Russ.) Neither of us were at the top of our game and neither of had been drinking.
I can only assume a corollary between the two but my Price Waterhouse people haven’t gotten back to me.
It’s really long, people, but it’s broken down into parts for your viewing pleasure.
So, Alex, somewhere in a van down by the reservoirs…. [IMG] http://home.comcast.net/~dlites/Farley.jpg[/IMG]
This is for you.
Parkaboy: You said this in your original interview: “I go through a lot of ups and downs, and right now I’m down. What is that, a slope? A troph?” You’ve also stated recently, “right now, I’ve gotta say, I’m feeling really good. im leaving tomorrow for la, im starting a new job at a major production and I’ve no idea what my job entails, I don't have anywhere to live or any money, and I don’t have AC in my car. But lemme tell you, I’d rather be living like this than like I’ve been living the last few weeks/months/years/whatever.”
That seems like a very good example of your "ups and downs" in the space of 24 hours no less. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your ups and downs and how this new "up" is treating you?
Alex: you're researching. im nervous.
Parkaboy: Don't be nervous, it's prom night...everybody does it.
Alex: you say the sweetest things....anyways, as far as my ups and downs go, im not sure how to describe it. I spend the majority of my time waiting around until something good happens. not that I wait around for handouts or anything, but like, ill set things up and wait for them to fall into place. its that waiting period that I hate. The longer I wait, the more bored I get, the more I start to analyze things, and question myself, and that's when I get into down periods, I think. Then, all the sudden, the next minute I can get good news, and that critical part of me disappears.
Parkaboy: This "setting things up", how do you go about that? You make it sound casual, which is your charm, but I suspect some foresight has to go into it
Alex: not really. I’ve always had a broad-stroke kinda outlook towards the future, but I don’t sit around and meticulously plan anything. I’m really, really fly by the seat of my pants, in almost all aspects of my life. but im never, I don’t know a good word, dangerous maybe? I kinda always trust that I know what im doing.
Parkaboy: You're Indiana Jonesing it, making it up as you go along?
Alex: sorta. I don’t have a lot of street-smarts. I couldn't survive on my wits alone. I couldn't learn to shack up with rich older women in order to accomplish my tasks. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, though, and one of those is knowing when a good opportunity presents itself. but a lot of times, I miss these opportunities because I lack something, money, time, transportation, whatever.
Parkaboy: You said in the previous interview: “I'm stuck on whether I want to rise to be the leader of a glorious social revolution or continue to sit on my ass and waste away. Either way, I’m kinda hoping one of those Hollywood post-apocalyptic futures comes down soon.” Is Alex Cassun our new Auntie Entity? [IMG] http://home.comcast.net/~dlites/Max12.jpg[/IMG]
Alex: I think I’d survive in that sorta setting. steal myself a gun, steal myself a big truck, raise an army, that sorta stuff I think I could handle.
Parkaboy: You seem to have a political bent though, at times...
“im also reading a lot of political books, mostly Howard Zinn stuff, but some other things like Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen and Addicted to War, by Joel Andreas.”
Alex: eh, im not smart enough to keep up with a lot of this shit. I don’t remember names well or nothing, I just know what I hate, and I hate most politicians. I like to be informed. I hate being in the dark. I don’t like lies and secrets.
Parkaboy: You're on the wrong board, Alex
Parkaboy: Howard Zinn, People's History of the United States, seemed to influence some of Thumbing.
Alex: actually, I hear a lot of people claiming a lot of things influenced thumbing. but seriously, that story was written 4 or 5 years ago. I only just heard of howard zinn like 2 months ago, first week of the last semester in government class.
Parkaboy: “the only difference I can see is that democrats honestly believe they know what the average American needs, but are in truth completely misguided, whereas the republicans say they know what the average American needs but in truth couldn't give a shit.” This seemed pithy and simultaneously true to me. Yet you've also said you are an American and therefore like to bitch more than actually do anything. You wait for opportunities to come to you?
Alex: yes. if im forced to make a decision, i'll make one and I won't (usually) regret it. however, if left alone to my own devices, I’m usually secluded and in no position to affect anything, and therefore in no position to make decisions. im lazy by nature. but if I see an opportunity, ill take it. or try, at least.
Parkaboy: Yet, writing, by its nature, requires self impetus...and certainly a lot of motivation to be successful. How does that fit in?
Alex: I dont know. I write when im left alone with no distractions. or I write when I’m forced to. im really good at writing with a deadline, although I usually wait until the 25th hour.
Parkaboy: Waiting for an Edward Norton movie is an odd writing tic.
Alex: my brain used to never stop moving, but lately it takes a lot to kickstart it.
Parkaboy: Is writing what you ultimately want to do?
Alex: no, not really. I dont have an ultimate goal. theres a lot I want to do, and writing is a part of it. I want to direct, I want to have my own magazine, I want to run my music company with my brother, and make music, and sell t-shirts. its all in thumbing.
Parkaboy: Something like this?: “It seemed like you....they were: Reed and Diamond Jim, walking cross-country to write a book, a screenplay, poetry. To snap photos and create music. To make bumper stickers with catchy slogans like Girls Make Things Hard or Only Death Kills.”
Alex: yes, exactly. that was a helluva rant for me. a huge release. its gotten more diluted with every rewrite, though. and that story is almost the truth. it almost happened. I didnt end up walking (my plan was from Salt Lake City to New Orleans), but I drove in the end. good times, in retrospect. anything that'll leave a scar is good enough for me.
I was here. Then I wasn't. Then I was again.