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Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Process: Dr. Joseph Suglia

by Peter Hammarberg

Dr. Joseph Suglia is terribly difficult to describe. Sure, one could say he is an author, screenwriter, and critic, but it goes much deeper than that. Suglia's unflinching and unapologetic view of the world, of writing, and of himself, has gained him many admirers and adversaries. His works, "WATCH OUT" and "Years Of Rage," are rapidly gaining cult super-status. Read his work. Step into his world of subversive paradoxical satire so you too may use the term “flaxen anal hair” in everyday conversation.

How would you describe your work?

I write what I call "excessive fiction": literature that presses the limits of language and possibility.

Who has influenced you?

My literary language is based essentially on the imagination, and the imagination issues from nowhere.

What was the impetus that drove you to become an author?

I write fictionally because I have no other means of purging myself of images.

Have you been compared to anyone? If so, would you consider it a good or a bad thing?

I am often compared to Bret Easton Ellis, which is a strange disanalogy. Those who compare me to Bret Easton Ellis have only read one writer: Bret Easton Ellis.

How do you deal with any criticism your work may generate?

I like a violent response and welcome hostility toward my writing with a kind of malicious glee.

What motivates you?

Images surface in my consciousness. I invent verbal equivalences, correlates, that would correspond to these images.

What process do you go through in order to write and generate ideas?

The initial stage is the attempted exteriorization of once-unconscious images that manifest themselves in my consciousness. After these images have been transformed into words, I formalize the text, giving it an intellectual cohesion.

How do you handle writer's block (if you have ever suffered from it)?

No genuine writer suffers from what is called "writer's block." It is the case that I had not written fictionally in about four years, but this has nothing to do with "writer's block." During that period, I worked at five universities and had no time for myself. Only recently have I found the time to write again.

What advice could you give fledgling writers?

Don't write fiction before your thirtieth birthday. Spend your twenties poring over the greatest works of literature and philosophy within and outside of the canon. Then, by all means, write. But only submit your writing for publication if it attains self-sufficiency. And remember: Never 'identify' with your characters. Fiction is not confession, but impersonation.

Any new projects?

Yes, I have finally set to work on a new novelistic project. Unlike my other two novels, this one will contain neither scenes of explicit sexuality nor scenes of explicit violence -- not that I programmatically included such scenes in "Years of Rage" or "Watch Out."

Now for the critical questions...

Who would win in a fight:

Oscar Wilde or Charles Dickens?

Oscar Wilde, of course.

Lewis Carroll with Leo Tolstoy or Dr. Seuss with a twelve gauge?

Lewis Carroll and Leo Tolstoy, of course.

Björk or Kim Jong-il?

I worship Björk.

For more information on Dr. Suglia, visit www.josephsuglia.com


  1. This guy is a satanic idiot who has no respect for the beautiful work of other authors. And for naming himself on a MySpace page as the "Greatest Author in the World"; there has never been a greater exaggeration. Being a braggart does not make you a better author, "Dr" Suglia. It just makes you look like a baneful child who can't accept that he has not lived up to his own delirious expectations.

  2. I agree! I read his review of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", and was appalling and rude. The book itself was a beautiful and thought-provoking piece of literature, and compared to Josoph Suglia's books, actually it's no comparison ... his books really sucked.

  3. The Lil B of literature. Only Lil B is funny, and this guy just seems to put himself in exile from the human race.

  4. Daniel R RodriguezDecember 5, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Be honest. His reviews are spot on.
    Be really honest. None of you have read his books.

    A Lil B reference? Step your game up, philistine.

  5. Daniel R RodriguezDecember 5, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Be honest. His reviews are spot on.
    Be really honest. None of you have read his books.

    A Lil B reference? Step your game up, philistine.

  6. I think Joseph presents himself in such an unapologetic manner partly because he gets a kick out of visceral responses and partly because he has nothing to apologise for. I was fortunate enough to study under him at DePaul University and found him to be an incredibly enlightening individual and the most influential professor I could ever hope for. I wish him well in his career and look forward to reading all of his future works.