I, FORBES: A LONG AND RAMBLING SELF-INTERVIEW OF FORBES WEST.
Because in reality I like talking to myself.And not to strangers, friends, co-workers and those I've had an awkward drug fueled sexual experience.
Most of you who don’t know me at all will wonder who is this “Forbes West” that continually harasses facebook and twitter users throughout out the vastness of the cyberspace. Well, maybe its about time you should take a flashlight and crawl through a ventilation shaft and find my secret lair and discover all the hidden little tidbits that make up my Heisenberg-ultra lite character.
Are you ready?
First off, I like to jump onto bandwagons and I’ve been hearing a lot about “interviews of authors” (*cough Michael Bunker*) So since I had no idea how to start off a fucking self-interview and I like to rip shit off of people, I used this Fifty Good Questions To Ask Yourself And Others. I got it from the “Google”. Thank you The Fab Files of Fabiola Carletti whoever you are.
That’s one reason I’m doing this self interview. The second is apparently just throwing up random jpegs and making snarky comments does not showcase who an author really is as a person and readers apparently want to know who’s spinning out the words. I disagree, but public opinion is against me on this one
Oh I’ll be using that James Lipton 10 Question Thing he borrowed from Bernard Pivot, someone I couldn’t pick out of a police lineup if my family’s life depended on it but James Lipton always acts like we all should. James Lipton I do know. Bernard Pivot is a fiction as far as I can tell. I will not use the “Google”.
So first, off, James Lipton bullshit.
- What is your favorite word? Respect.
- What is your least favorite word? Stupid.
- What turns you on? Smart women. People enjoying my writing and laughing at the right parts or wanting to read more and more. Women.
- What turns you off? People who follow trends like those fuckers who wait weeks in line for the next iPhone. People who make money just to make money and just sit on piles of cash and not do a single interesting thing with it or have any sort of life adventure or exposure to the outside world besides a safe touristy vacation (see: Zuckerberg, Mark and most of Wall Street).
- What sound or noise do you love? Delicate sound of thunder coming from the Dark Side of the Moon (50 points if you catch the full reference.)
- What sound or noise do you hate? Babies crying n’ shit.
- What is your favorite curse word? Fucktard.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Storm chasing in tornado alley with professional meteorologists. Deep sea fishing off the Florida Keys. Either one.
- What profession would you not like to do?
I really wouldn’t want to be an orderly at some senior nursing center. People dying. Cleaning up shit and blood all the time. Bleach smell everywhere. Watching relatives that should be euthanized because they couldn’t give a flying fuck about their own older relatives.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Hemingway wanted me to tell you that he thought your writing was marginally okay. And that Grandpa’s coming by in a second to say hello. The one Grandpa. The other one is fishing and cursing at the moment. And your Grandmothers wanted to introduce themselves for the first time. And tell your cat Gump to get off my damn couch.
1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?
Some of you may have picked up that Forbes West is a nom de however you say that, most people including my own father call me Forbes. or Forbesy. Or Flobes because of that one time some Korean owner of a internet cafe butchered my name in a hilariously accented way. There is a reason why the name Forbes is used if you catch what I’m throwing out there. Yes, its not my real name, Detective. But it works.
2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
Frank Herbert’s Dune. Stephen King’s The Gunslinger (Plus its sequels). Nick Cole’s Wasteland Saga. Robert Hughes and his great book, The Fatal Shore. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka’s WarDay. Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings by V.I. Lenin and Slavoj Zizek. Ron Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.
3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?
Mostly I doodle little robots that shoot fire at each other and UFOs. Odd many armed monsters with squiggly heads and teeth. Giant heads filled with teeth.
4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?
I usually just stare at the ceiling and then write down something on my iPhone’s notepad about a book or movie idea. Then there’s always the warm embrace of free internet pornography. Waking my cat up and chasing him around the room until he hides ontop of the refrigerator and won’t come down without violence.
5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?
I could do a month easy. I’d just live in my head and my imagination which is what I do anyway for fun and games. I’d probably would just want to get out after a month because I want to do something else and not because I couldn’t stand the lock up and the walls closing in, blah blah. I’d be alright.
6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?
I’m married so by law I keep them neatly stored for future non-reference and to be burned by absent minded caretakers.
7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?
I work in property management in real life and the biggest pack rat I saw was this poor 40 year old Asian guy who was renting an apartment at one of the places I managed who moved out five years later. When he was moving I saw that he saved everything from VHS tapes to boxes upon boxes of Jenga and cut out pictures of Cub Scouts from magazines and little league trophies. He didn’t have any children. There’s probably a mass grave nearby of Cub Scouts waiting undiscovered.
8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?
I always make an entrance like an asshole because I like making people laugh. I like seeing old friends so I want every first moment of a meeting with them to be special and fun. I like to mingle unless I’m a total unknown at some party where I know only the host by chance. Then I just head to the drink bar and make it fun for myself at least by getting plastered. After a while of being buzzed you always make friends somehow.
9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?
My eyes are my best sense which doesn’t really mean much since I’m legally blind. If I had to give up a sense it’d be sight. I can’t live without music and people talking; that would fuck me up more than anything.
10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?
Any chance there is a mirror in the general vicinity I’ll take a peak. My hair is wavy as shit and I always need to have a comb on hand because otherwise it’s just gonna become a fuckin’ afro in two minutes.
11. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
Socialism in one country.That adults knew what the fuck they were doing at all times and that authority figures got to be authority figures because they were just so fucking smart.
12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?
Sex with strangers. Cigars. I like that shit. Its a tasteful way of getting cancer.
13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?
My wife Junko. She’ll give her last ten dollars to some street urchin if they seem the least bit hungry. She’ll put down a hundred dollar plus donation for people she barely knows without a second thought.
14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?
I don’t read the newspaper anymore. If anything major happens I’ll find out. I might read the politics section of “Huffington Post” just to get pissed off for the day. I also don’t watch television that much, come to think of it. I mean, I watch TV shows and movies off of Netflix but its not exactly the most up to date material in the world now, is it?
15. Which animals scare you most? Why?
Japanese Hornets that apparently are genetically engineered to instill fear into mankind. One buzzed me when I was in Japan and I wasn’t scared at first because I THOUGHT IT WAS A GODDAMN HUMMING BIRD. Go look ‘em up I’m fucking serious. Or here for fuck’s sake:
16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?
Head on after a few beers, sure. I’m a coward at heart so I got to get some dutch courage. I take the Xanax Advantage (known before as the Zoloft Surge) as well. Its best to not feel feelings anymore when making a confrontation or conflict. It’s a jungle out there. Things must be said, words exchanged, masculinity indulged and I’m really too sensitive for this sort of hard business. I had a grandfather who was in the Battle of the Bulge killing Nazis at freezing temperatures and didn’t think it was “really that big of a deal to talk about” and here I am working up the courage to debate a bill with a waiter at the El Torito. As I look at my bill and its obvious error and feel the fear come on, I realize that the Blood of Númenor is all but spent, its pride and dignity forgotten.
17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?
The most recent compliment I got was from Nick Cole, author of The Wasteland Saga. I barely know the guy and he says on a national radio show that basically Forbes West has written some fine fiction- “Nighthawks at the Mission”. Now for a guy who has written some great stuff (Wasteland Saga) and has some recognition, this was a real treat to actually hear. I also was told that I write very well from another author I respect a lot, Michael Bunker and that I did some incredible world building in my book. My ego was incredibly stroked by that happening- two authors who have been in the game for a lot longer than me saying I do some good stuff.
18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?
Being absolutely bi-polar about my writing. Either I think its shit and embarrassing one moment or the next greatest big thing to strike the planet Earth. Until reviews, positive reviews, come in at an overwhelming amount I won’t be satisfied. And even then I’ll probably be anxious.
19. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.
I work on writing on everyday so that’s my habit. I have to do something writing related. Drinking and doing *ahem* other things is a hobby but the reality of my day is sitting behind the laptop typing away at something to in order to get creative and get something together that I can use for writing (note, inspiring scenes from movies, pictures, whatever). So in that sense, yes, I’ll always be a creature of habit. Anything else though, I’m pretty well wide open and all over the place. As long as I get something writing related done. Doesn’t have to be much, but I had to always do it. Even on vacation. Even when people don’t see me openly do it. If it looks like I’m texting I’m not, I’m taking down notes on the notepad section.
20. Are you high maintenance? Explain.
Yes and no. Mostly I’m mellow and laid back. But I have a slew of personal demons that can rear up and every once in a while make my mood swing terribly. Mostly it has to do with future “what-if” scenarios and feelings of failure or that I’m not doing an good enough job. Those personal demons are sort of an odd crew to keep me up and running- I recognize without ‘em, I’m probably just content to sit back and let my life drift and not go out and try to achieve something, but at the same time there the ones that torture my emotions about what I do with my work and my marriage and friends and etc.
21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?
The last time was writing a screenplay for a movie called “OK-ZERO” which is, shall we say, still in the pre-pre-production process. Anyway, I gave myself a six week limit to get the thing done and immediately spent those 6 weeks staying up until 3am and getting up at 6am for work. Needless to say sleep deprivation does some funny things to me- one, after a while I can’t keep my eyes open to save my life and two, when I am awake I am so wired I can’t shut up. The conversation from my end is a deluge not a collection of words to invoke communication with the other party. Its (hopefully) not rambling but its way too much for others to deal with. But I did it all because OK-ZERO has a shot at well, being something, and so if that means I’ll be extra weird and over-tired, so be it.
22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?
I have both. I have a few friends, the N[DELETED] brothers, [DELETED] and [DELETED] I grew up with and feel like they’re family to me. There are others one too out there (sorry not to be name dropping or making up a hierarchy of friendship here) but there the closest. Then there is the fact that I do know just a lot of people because i am open and I do interact. I like people really and I enjoy their quirks, viewpoints, whatever. It actually takes quite a good deal of time and effort to really hate someone but once I do I have a Sicilian feeling of prideful hate towards them. There’s only a few people I can say have made that list. The band Off-Spring, for instance.
23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?
I like helping others on their projects but right now since I’m starting out, and since I know I can only spread myself so thin with “real” work and other bullshit a capitalist economy makes me deal with, I’m in the single man empire building business.
24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?
About a year or two ago (I forget exactly), I, being in property management, got a frantic call from our a person co-signing an apartment home that I managed about his family. Now our community is about 296 apartment homes, so it’s basically a small town (2-4 people per apartment), just to give you an idea, and so no one really notices each other and keeps to themselves, so if something is amidst in an another apartment they won’t notice unless the proverbial bomb goes off. This co-signer was frantic, saying that he hadn’t been able to reach his father (who was in his 80s and a invalid) and his brother (in his fifties who was taking care of the father) for five days. The co-signer and I walked to the apartment as I had the key to the place and since he was only a co-signer and not a true tenant, I had to stick around when opening the place up since it wasn’t fully “his” place. I knocked on the door- no answer. I knocked again- no answer. At the moment I was thinking that maybe they had taken the old man to the hospital or something so I did the whole final knock, called out loudly “Management” and opened the door.
And well, inside was a complete and awful murder scene. Congealed blood all over the place, things knocked over. Two bodies, left for five days during a very hot and humid week, rotting inside. I couldn’t get the smell out of my mind for days afterwards and what I saw inside made me have a nervous breakdown later that night. Everything just seemed to smell like that apartment and I couldn’t get that vicious scene out of my mind for a month. I went out of my way not to go near that apartment for months. It was never fully explained to me the circumstances of what had happened, though it had been reported in the LA TIMES homicide section as a murder-suicide.
25. What do you think about more than anything else?
My future and better life. I don’t think anyone should drift in their lives and let things just run their course, I feel that if you want to really feel what life is all about you gotta take some charge and paddle against that soft current that leads you to just being, I don’t know, just another face in the crowd. You gotta paddle against the current. So I always think about what I want in the future and how to get there. I think about what new ideas for books or movies all the time as well but I think that can be wrapped under the same heading as just thinking about having a better life and being seen as a success. Those books and movie ideas are gonna bring me to a brighter future I want for myself and my family so I think about that always.
26. What’s something that amazes you?
The weather- storms, tornadoes, hurricanes. The great reminder of greater forces beyond our control. Humans have enslaved and controlled the environment so much that to see an honest to goodness storm or something worse come over the horizon reminds us of our tiny hold in an infinite universe.
27. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why?
Depends on what mood I’m in. You shoot straight at me and I’m already not exactly in the most giving of moods I’ll lash out like a baboon poked with a stick. If I’m in a good mood, I’ll take the come to Jesus moment (probably). I’ll be honest, a lot of times “straight shooting” or “not mincing words” or “always telling it like it is” seems to me sometimes a bullshit cover for people to say whatever they want and given themselves a verbal clause not to get slammed back. Most of the people “who tell it like it is” are usually the first ones to get defensive as hell the moment you tell them “like it is.”
28. Where’s your favourite place to take an out-of-town guest?
Males, its The Library. Females its the Library. In all honesty, its Seal Beach, CA as a whole. The bars and restaurants are home away from home and I grew up there so I like to take them to my local haunts. Joe Jost’s in Long Beach, CA too. Old school once upon a time speak easy bar in Long Beach. Those who pay attention might remember it as the bar in “Gone in 60 Seconds” with Nicholas Cage. Ice cold beer, sandwiches, its something out of the 30’s. Neat place. Cop bar though- every other patron is in law enforcement some how.
29. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why?
Public speaking. I can do it and I can do it well enough but I hate doing it. The anticipation makes me want to choke myself to death. I never screw it up but having a bunch of strangers or near strangers leering at me is annoying. I haven’t done it intoxicated yet so maybe that’ll help next time. I heard the story once that Hunter S. Thompson just used to sip Wild Turkey and take a Percocet before speaking and he said that was the easiest way to get through that bullshit. Seems reasonable.
30. Do you have a catchphrase?
“Like I fucking care.” First thing I could think of. I really don’t have one.
31. What’s your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs? What conditions cause you to dislike or, conversely, enjoy talking with them?
Depends. I like people having a different viewpoint (sometimes a very different viewpoint, I really do like hearing what they have to say and I don’t take offense unless its some out and out Nazi bullshit but that’s really hard to hear nowadays). I don’t like people who decide its time to convert me and keep pressuring me to buy what they are selling. That I don’t care for. We can have disagreements like gentlemen or gentleladies but the moment these people start getting emotionally upset because I’m not on board I hate it. But honest to goodness intellectuals believing in radically different things than I do? I love it actually. I hate the Republican Party as an organization but to talk to a intellectual from the party or a true blue Conservative with a ideological belief system who’s respectful? I can talk to them for hours. I love it. The weirder their outspoken beliefs, as long as they aren’t getting crazy and emotional, the more enjoyment I have talking to them.
32. How and where do you prefer to study?
Over the internet. At home. Slightly high. Pot isn’t there in that case for hysterical fun, but because it kicks up creativity a notch and makes your mind slink a little bit back into the subconscious so you can put together connections and create ideas.
33. What position do you sleep in?
On top of your mother as she lays on her stomach. That’s a weird fucking question. Next.
34. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?
Key West, Florida. Its New Orleans without the creole, its on the beach, its America but it isn’t. There’s an odd redneck-hippie-Cuban-Bahamas vibe to the town, what with its frat boys and artists co-mingling. The history, the humidity, the odd people- its no wonder Hemingway, Thompson (for a small period of time), and Tennessee Williams called it home for a while. There’s an energy there that just helps any writer come up with ideas. I was there only once for three days and I could feel it.
35. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?
A sense of humor (usually dark), someone who’s a bit of rebel in some way, and someone who does something creative in life (writing, artistry, music) and who doesn’t buy this whole go to school, get married, get a house, get retired, die scheme that’s being foisted onto a lot of people.
36. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you?
I’m the youngest, so I’m the baby. So I always feel a little left out of things, which makes me feel a bit of an outsider in my own family. That is NO one’s fault, but just my own warped perception on things. When you have a small family of four with no extended family (and my sister is seven years older than me), of course you are going to feel a little bit on the outside of things just because of circumstances. I think that’s made me feel like an outsider (again there’s no blame about that) so I look at things differently because I never have felt really “part” of a group. (If you are reading this and thinking somehow my family left me out or doesn’t love me, that’s stupid. They do. I’m just talking reality here. I’m very lucky when it comes to my family. VERY lucky.)
37. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?
Social anxiety. I have to really work to overcome it but meeting people and hanging out doesn’t come naturally to me. Now, if you know me in person that’s probably a shock by the way I act but remember I’m using sheer force, alcohol, and illegally obtained prescription pills and medicinal marijuana to function and be fun to be around. Otherwise you’d be dealing with Milton from “Office Space” the whole time.
38. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?
Can’t think of a one. If its broken its because they fucked it up, not me. Sorry, sometimes I’m gonna lay some blame on some people. Sometimes there isn’t a a mutual “oh we were both wrong moment”. Those other people fucked it up. I’m generally pretty nice and forgiving.
39. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
Bronson. Toughest name on the planet. But then I’d have to really work out and get some tats in order to back it up or else its just…odd. Is “Tex” a real first name? But then I’m not from Texas.
40. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?
Yes. If I have zero hope of fixing a situation or dealing with some information that’s just going to terrorize me and make me despondent, I’d rather not know (hypothetical: a comet is going to crash into the Earth erasing mankind. Don’t tell me about it unless you say Bruce Willis has a shot of fixing this thing). If, however, I’ve been given some bad news but there’s a small, even tiny possibility that maybe I can figure a way out of the situation, let me know. Don’t sugarcoat things. I can take it (most of the time. Otherwise I just end up buying a bottle of cheap port and sitting on my balcony crying for three hours before passing out).
41. What do you consider unforgivable?
Ending someone’s dream. Taking something that was something special to them and ruining it or ripping it off and calling it your own. I heard this one story- some ultra-Christian family, fundamentalists, who burnt three years of notebooks that their teen daughter had written about a fantasy world with characters and settings, etc that she wanted to have put onto a computer and typed up and sent to a publisher she had somehow connected with. The family made her burn the notebooks in their fireplace, because somehow it was “ungodly”. I could almost forgive murder before that. Molesting a child is unforgivable in my mind too but that’s sort of a “no shit” sort of answer.
42. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Why or why not?
Not really. I don’t mope around about it but I don’t forgive myself fully yet. I should have made better choices and been more active. I wasn’t perhaps in the best mental state for some of these events that happened, but I can’t get over my own mistakes. I’m learning but once in a while the sting hits me right in the back of the head reminding me of “what if”.
43. How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?
VERY difficult. A really strong person knows when they fucked up and they say they are sorry. Trying to weasel out of situations is the worse sort of shit to pull. Real men and women apologize. Children refuse to apologize.
44.Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for?
If the USA’s ass was REALLY on the line, I mean a Civil War, World War Two type crisis, I’d die for it. I know its not perfect, I know its fucked in so many ways- I know that. Believe me. I can give you a laundry list of its problems and its corruption and its misuse of power. But I always thought that despite the corporate crap, the fundamentalist attacks, the petty Congressional lobbying bullshit, the flawed USA is still a pillar in keeping the world from really falling down to the dogs. Because who would replace us to lead the world? China? Russia? Sure there are other countries that are democracies with freedom of speech and perhaps even more liberty than we have here at home, but if we burn out those authoritarian states will pressure and pressure them and end their sunny days. The USA to me is like a mean old father who was once a hero- you may not like what he does, but you also realize that once the old man’s gone, there’s nothing keeping this whole thing together. Plus, the USA is home.
I should mention I love Japan and consider it a second home as well- if that fat faced little fascist in North Korea wants to take on Japan or the politburo in Beijing thinks they can get revenge on Japan, I’d die for Japan too. It’s a country of good people who have turned a corner in national life and despite all their flaws and bullshit don’t deserve annihilation or attack.They’re a peaceful people- they went 70 years without conflict with its neighbors. People who keep dredging up World War Two and Japan should remember that while you can’t forget what Japan did, just remember they’ve had two cities nuked, hundreds of cities hit with napalm raids, and millions of war casualties. They’ve done their penance for what their bullshit military pulled in the 30’s and 40’s.
I also do believe in social revolution that truly makes us all equal. If there’s a real chance that people can live their own lives free of direct government control and corporate bullying and working bullshit 9-5 jobs, I’d die for that. A lot of us spend 40 hours a week making others rich and losing out on time we could have with our loved ones and friends because of a forced necessity. There’s got to be a better way and if there’s a revolution that shows up that makes that happen, I’ll pick up a rifle and fight for that. And take a bullet.
45. To what extent do you trust people? Explain.
I trust people but verify whether or not they are full of shit. Reagan said that and the old man was right- put a hand out, be open, but make sure you aren’t being fed a line of horseshit and critically evaluate what people are telling you. Long story short, I’d rather take a chance to be stabbed in the back then to be locked in a closet not trusting anyone or anything.
46. In what area of your life are you immature?
I really do like playing with cats and dogs way too much so I get way too excited going to a Petco and seeing any new cats or dogs to adopt. Oh and I love drinking and *ahem* other recreational substances. Being out until dawn hammered always seems like the best of times. I’m a fratboy hiding as a liberal writer.
47. What was the best news you ever received?
That I successfully tricked my wife into marrying me and she said “Yes”, and that GMTA Publishing would put out “Nighthawks at the Mission”, my first novel that was originally self-published. GMTA is a small company but its exactly what I want in the long term.
48. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?
It’s hard but I can do it. It takes a few false starts but I can do it. I hate doing it but I can suck it up and do it every time. Again, alcohol becomes a great friend in this time of strife so after I loosen up I can let the truth dribble out.
49. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? What was the long term result? Conversely, are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first?
In real life, a certain [DELETED] I consider him my personal anti-Forbes West because he likes a lot of the same stuff I do (*heh heh heh*) but he has a different world view that we disagree about. First time we met we argued over political philosophy over a round of beers (not this run of the mill contemporary everyday political shit but true to form we were arguing philosophy about society and government) and though we disagreed on almost every point, I respected what he had to say and we just became friends right there. Our meeting and argument was the mental equivalent of two Viking warriors dueling for hours in the frozen tundra who end up laughing and hugging because they found their exact equal in battle. It’s a rare but cool thing to have happened.
In the world of facebook, Michael Bunker. Great author, true rebel in society, pop culture aficionado like me and Neo-Amish. Can’t find more interesting mix of a personality outside the world of fiction.
As for anyone I really disliked at first, I can’t think of one. I usually don’t follow up with anyone I thought was a dick in the first place. Maybe Weird Al Yankovic.
50. When do you find yourself singing?
After drinking and only with a group of friends. Karaoke. Rarely any other time.