Fort Saint Davids: Please introduce yourself.
Erik Bader: Hello. My name is Erik Bader
FSD: So what’s this all about?
EB: Pretty simple, really. Take a minute to scroll down past this post to the one below it. See that one? The kinda outta breath/yet totally calm piece about, well, how the last ten years weren’t as good as they shoulda been?
FSD: Saw it already. A friend of mine reposted a link to it on their Facebook page, and someone else I know re-Tweeted it, and it showed up as a link on a popular blog that I often check while no one is watching me at work.
EB: Exactly. The thing is everywhere. It has — as we say in the non-industry — legs. We’re proud of it, all of us here at the Daily Miltonian, but more exciting to us is not the prospect of all those new, awesome, wonderful, and possibly even brilliant or beautiful new readers reading that post but rather the prospect of them reading this post and all the posts that will follow in the years to come.
FSD: New readers are awesome.
EB: THOUSANDS of new readers, if the WordPress stats don’t lie.
FSD: And they don’t.
FSD: So this interview, therefore, is a kind of introduction to what we do, here, at the Miltonian, yes?
EB: Exactly. So onward, then, with the questions.
FSD: Who writes the Daily Miltonian and how would you describe him/her.
EB: I write the Daily Miltonian. There have been, on occasion, other writers (Crooks, Matthew K, Loren Hunt, Kelly White, MCP, Legend of Street Dog, Father Gibbs, Matt Schwartz, Josh Carr, Brady Russell, uh, who else? Buncha folks) but mostly it’s just me, on my little laptop computer, here in a hollow in a city in a valley in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes with a cat in my lap, and often with a cup of hot coffee by my side. See, observe as I stop typing and wave at you, the reader. Did you see it? I said hi!
FSD: That’s how you would describe yourself?
EB: I’m not very good at describing myself.
FSD: Yes you are.
EB: Is this the first time you, Fort Saint Davids, have interviewed me?
FSD: No. I interviewed you way back at the end of the Summer of 2006 in the hell-outta-print first and only issue of Fort Saint Davids Fanzine. Half a year later, the blog/online magazine/divinely motivated style had a kind of meta-meltdown and began asking itself questions about itself. Viz. this interview where you are interviewed by the Daily Miltonian.
EB: Oh right. Handy links, those.
FSD: New readers should read them. New readers should probably read the entire contents of the Daily Miltonian, in order.
EB: It’s one helluva story.
FSD: That’s what we’ve always been trying to do with this, right? We’re not like selling a product or reporting directly on any kind of, um, culture. Put your revolver down.
FSD: S’ok. Where was I. Oh yeah. We’re just trying to tell a story. Share a story. Like literally share it, so you get some of the story as well, meaning it’s also yours.
EB: Is that what –? And yet, yeah, that’s one fairly good way of putting it. It’s like, I was watching the first few parts of this W&K documentary on he Portland music scene the other day called, unfriendlyish enough, Don’t Move Here. And as much as I had the obligatory admiration for a.) it’s about where I live and b.) the energy! the energy! I still got that weird, uncomfortable sorta anxiety that documentaries like this always give me.
FSD: Give me another example.
FSD: What is it about these sorts of documentaries that give you a kind of weird anxiety.
EB: I’m always like, who are they for? Who is supposed to watch this and what are they supposed to feel when they do? Why do they exist? Because they’re never really “documenting”, like you would document an archeological dig or an undersea journey or something. It’s just people, on a screen, telling me, the viewer they don’t know, just how awesome their shit is. Is there something wrong with that? No way of course not! It’s just that I feel…weird…sometimes, sitting there, in my room, watching a screen on which people are showing me how much they love their friends, how much shit they are doing, and how awesome it makes them feel.
FSD: This is where we tell the reader: the Daily Miltonian is dedicated to sharing its world with you without ever making you feel weird, uncomfortable, uncool, excluded, or like a piece of shit.
EB: Furthermore, we intend to make you feel good about yourself, the world you inhabit, the shit you’re up to, the people you roll with, and the food you eat.
FSD: Not like a loner weirdo who accomplished nothing and has made no mark on history and thus will never be remembered by generations hence.
EB: Or like some crummy nobody that nobody wants to chill with.
FSD: Or like you “missed out” on anything.
EB: Because you didn’t. Remember that. Any time you see someone doing something, remember that when they were doing that one thing, you were busy doing that other thing, which is something no one can ever do if they’re doing something else. Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, and if you’re awake you’re missing sleep and if you’re sleeping you’re missing being awake, which is why you get to do both.
FSD: So do you want to talk about your projects, Erik? Now that the readers know you are not out to wreck their day with your projects or beat them over the head with your projects? Or bludgeon them? Or make them feel lame or unproductive?
EB: OK. Currently I am writing a novel called The New American Novel. Did you like the post below this one? It’s pretty much a distillation of what I am trying to say, vibe on, and do in The New American Novel. Meaning, if you liked that, you’ll certainly like this.
FSD: What about the iTunes project.
EB: I’m also currently reading my first novel, The Pilot and the Panda, which I wrote from 1998 to 2001, in a digital audio format which is available for free from the iTunes store. Just go to the iTunes store and search for “Fort Saint Davids” and it’ll show up. Make sure to subscribe, it’s free and you’ll always get the episodes when they come out. There are currently four, so you have time to catch up. Listen to it on your way to work in the morning. It’ll keep you company.
FSD: And readings?
EB: I have been putting on a series of literary events here in Portland, Oregon, three so far. They have all been really great, and the people who come out to them love them. I think the main reason is a.) it’s just good literature, no guy on a banjo or a slam poet or a DJ. And b.) there’s an intermission, which is important because it means you don’t have to shut the fuck up for two hours like at most readings. You get a break, just like if you were seeing 2001 in a theater or attending a really good play or an opera. You can get another drink, have a smoke, say hi to your friends, or just go outside and do a cartwheel. The choice is yours.
FSD: This got long. Should we wrap it up and maybe talk again soon?
EB: That sounds good, Fort Saint Davids. Thanks for chatting with me.
FSD: Any time, Erik! Be well. And welcome, new readers, to our camp.
EB: Yeah seriously: welcome. Glad you could make it, and we’ll be seeing you soon.
Today’s photographs were: Broadway in the Rain, The Christmas Tree in Pioneer Square, and Josh Carr on Division. All shot in Portland during the month of November, 2009.