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12 or 20 Questions with Chris Robinson

From 12 or 20 Questions with Chris Robinson:

5 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

I'm in a constant state --whether I'm writing a hired fluff book about the Ottawa Senators (which I've done) or with more personal books-- of finding myself...of trying to figure out just what the heck I'm doing here and what I think of what I experience around me. I'm also so fascinated with the people I write about...with animators I'm less concerned with their work then with what kind of people they are..BUT I have to find a connection...a door that I can enter..something that I recognize about them. So, with Stole This, I'm basically using Doug Harvey's life to sort my own shit out. So, really, identity is a common theme throughout my writing. How do we define ourselves? How do others define us? Is identity even possible? It seems to me that it's a constantly moving entity that's always changing. Who I was last week, I am not this week.

Heraclitus, my fave philosopher once simply said, "I am as I am not." I love that contradiction.. the idea that the world is not black and white..that it all flows from the same vat. People are not THIS or THAT..they are THIS and THAT... We can all be good and evil.. BUT it's up to us to choose which will guide our life. In that sense, I think it all comes down to taking responsibility for your self, your life (This is a theme I'm exploring deeply in my next book)

6 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?

I've had all sort of different scenarios here. With Stole This and The Animation Pimp, I had great editors and there was always constructive dialogue going on, give and take on both ends. With the hockey fluff books, I had to write in a house style and just didn't give a shit what they did to the writing. With Unsung Heroes of Animation and Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: Estonian Animation, I had no editor! That was a pain in the ass because I can't edit/proof my own work. I need someone to really challenge me --even if I get pissed off occasionally. Fortunately, I did find a friend to edit/proof the books...but in short...my happiest experiences has been working with editors on Stole This and The Pimp. You're working with people who like you're writing and support your work. They're on your side so it really helps knowing that and keeps me from taking things too personally.

7 - After having published more than a couple of titles over the years, do you find the process of book-making harder or easier?

Creating the book always seems easier than actually getting the damn thing published. That being said, I've been pretty damn lucky because I've attained a bit of a status in animation and found publishers...publishers who let me get away with writing books that are and are not about animation (like The Animation Pimp). But, I do feel I'm getting pigeonholed into the animation corner and I will put an end to that soonish.

8 - When was the last time you ate a pear?

Hmm...well I just bought pears today--but havent eaten one. Hold on...okay...I'm currently eating a pear.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?

Richard Meltzer once told me that writing is for dogs. There's nothing romantic about it. So many people (including myself at one point) love to believe that writing is some drunken romantic adventure. It aint. And one of my favourite lines is from William Faulkner where he said something like "I don't want know what I think about something until I read what I wrote about it."

Read the rest of the interview at 12 or 20 Questions with Chris Robinson