[Jandek] Jandek Fictional Biography Forthcoming; Author to Read/Sign in Toronto & Chicago

Danen D. Jobe djobe at uark.edu
Sat Sep 2 17:57:44 PDT 2006

> But what is really the point of a fictional biography of a real 
> person?

Different way of looking at a real thing, I guess. It's not an uncommon format by any means. Most movies you see featuring dead people are the same type of thing - I'm thinking of all the different "Jack the Ripper" movies for instance. All had traces of fact and used real people and their names, yet had to establish fictional narrative. My inspiration was largely a fabulous novel by Michael Ondaatdje called "Coming Through Slaughter," a fictional bio about jazz founder Buddy Bolden. In it, he used a lot of real people in ways that are inconsistent with ACTUAL history, but that helped shed light on the character. When you're dealing with someone you want to write about and there's little to no real info, then it's a good way to do it.  

 The world has enough half-truths. Why not just write a 
> completely fictional novel inspired by Jandek? How does making crap 
> up help us to understand the guy's music? 

Decide for yourself, I guess. I don't see how the name being "Jandek" or not makes it any more or less true. It's not meant to be a "Half truth" - it's meant to be fiction. It would've made a lesser book, I think, to have "made up" lyrics and album titles "like" Jandek titles. Fortunately, Corwood agreed with this idea. As with Ondaatdje's book, I was dealing with an artist whose life was a "closed curtain" as the saying goes. So I saw it as being little different from dealing with an artist like, say Buddy Bolden, or perhaps Charley Patton. I also didn't want to do a book about "trying to find" Jandek, or some such thing, as I think the documentary already did this marvelously. I wanted a fiction that would sink you deep into the character's first person perspective.  I assumed in advance that some would disagree with this, and that's cool. I think the project benefits from being able to spring off the actual source, which I think gives more depth to the character and the s
ituation. And I went WAY out of the way with the book not to make anything obvious - every move, every step towards music is taken slowly and as the artist comes to it. I didn't want to do a "caricature" of Jandek, I wanted an interpretation that's as close to the music as possible. If it doesn't do anything for you, that's how it goes. I'm willing to stick my neck out and try it. 

And hey, if he wants to put out an autobiography I'll be first in line to get it. What I'm doing would in no way interfere with that. It's just another possibility. 


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