Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.
Who: Noah Cicero
Where: Las Vegas, USA
So, who are you?
I’m Noah Cicero, I’m the end result of millions of years of evolution.
Where are you from?
I’m from Ohio, I’m from the saddest place in America according to the Internet. Which makes me the saddest writer in America. I am probably the saddest writer in America. Not really, I don’t know if I'm a writer. I’m going to tell you things and you are going to believe them. I will meet you at a bar ten years from now, you will cite this interview as facts, I will say, “Fuck,” and keep talking to you, even though I knew what I said was a temporary version of truth, that I am provisional.
What do you do?
I hike mountains and canyons. I walk slow to the top of the mountain, after I get to the top of the mountain, I keep going.
Who or what are you influenced by?
Influenced is different than inspire, I have to remember that in this reply. I’m probably most influenced by Dostoyevsky, lol. I think Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary and 'The Pink Album', and the Get up Kids album Something to write home about. But that was years ago, now, maybe The Lankavatara Sutra and Aristotle.
Are you one of those people who like really loves technology?
I love the internet, I have a Samsung Chromebook. But I’m not obsessed.
Do you still listen to music? If so, what's been the best stuff you've heard just lately?
I’m listening to Slow Club right now, I have written many poems and works of prose to Slow Club. I love them, but I haven’t met anyone else who loves them. I am alone in America listening to Slow Club. They have such good lines,
“I like the way that our arguments stop when we fall asleep,
and the way that your body feels when it's wrapped around me.”
“Your body looks good tonight
I wonder if you’d care
If I was still in your shirt
The way we were when we first met”
Slow Club seems to me, like tender. I like the guitar player, he seems to be a real guitar player. I don’t even know the names of the people in the band. I don’t care.
Do you read? Tell us about good books you read this year?
I read The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi, there was a boy in it that really wanted a camel. A rich girl bought the camel and he had no camel. There was also a story about a boy who sold beets and didn’t know how to read.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a short novel about The Grand Canyon, it is my Japanese novel. I wanted it to be my nature book like Walden or Desert Solitaire, but maybe I’m not that person. Those books have a lot of ridicule in them, they had this thing where I’m supposed to dislike how most people live normal lives. But like, if people don’t live normal lives then I can’t go to Starbucks or have sweet computers and the internet. I don’t care if someone works as a cable guy, or if there is an engineer somewhere who lives a boring life with their family, if he loves the Dolphins, if the woman is excited about a sale at the outlet mall,I don’t care. But to be a real nature book, it has to be nature versus electronics and air-conditioning. I don’t have anymore opinions besides that.
Who's ever written a great work about the immense effort required in order not to create?
Seriously, my brain went straight to 2666 by Roberto Bolano.
So do you fancy yourself as some kind of artist or what?
I don’t know. I have a political science degree, I’m in school right now to be a paralegal. I get just as excited to read a novel or a poem as I do to read the court opinions of Scalia and Ginsburg, I get excited when I read Wittgenstein, Locke, Zen Buddhism, etc. Right now I’m reading a history of Iran, usually about every third book I read is history. I am not a traditional artsy person, which I think lets people down when they meet me. I exercise and have muscles, I have this Italian face, short hair, no beard, and blue eyes and I don’t wear glasses except when I drive. I have actually seen disappointment on people’s faces when I have said, “Hi, I’m Noah Cicero.” Like, their faces dropped, I could see their faces say, “You are like, not artsy looking at all.” I don’t match the hipster aesthetic and it annoys some people. But on the other end, since I look, in general, normal, non artsy people think I’m like them, but like right now I’m listening to Band of Horses on my headphones, I hang out at the hipster bars, I have seen Goddard and Fassbinder movies, I live in a strange borderland between the two.
'Quit... quit... you should quit... you should quit... you should... you should...'. Should you quit?
I’ve seen a lot of people quit being creative in their 20s, an incredible amount. I’ve seen so many talented people show up and write great poems and short stories, but then around 25, they give up, and do something else. A lot of people quit, but they are doing things. You can quit in life, it is okay. I’m kind of compelled to do this, I think I compulsively write, like a mental disease. I think Stephen King has a disease. Everyone I’ve met who has made it past three books without quitting has a mental disease that can only be calmed via typing and imagination.
Are you just in it for the money?
No, I don’t think so. I just thought of the guy from Gwar complaining about mainstream music. I am like Gwar, I am the Gwar of the literary world. I think I am statistically the most hated person in USA literature. This can be proven with graphs.
What are your thoughts about the state of independent culture at the moment? Is there still even such a thing or is it thriving as well as ever?
Indie books are growing all over the world, I’ve recently gone to Chile and Peru, they have lots of indie presses growing down there. They have taken some of our models and they're creating viable presses. In America, there are some good presses too, Lazy Fascist, Curbside Splendor, Two Dollar Radio are all great presses. I don’t know about indie culture, I don’t know if that exists anymore in any real sense. Like an indie culture strong enough to touch kids in high school and on college campuses, and this culture is truly a subversion of the status quo. No, in South America it can exist because marketing and corporate capitalism doesn’t have total control over their lives, they haven’t internalized corporate capitalism like we have, and probably never will, South Americans have a lot more self-sufficiency than we do in all aspects of their lives. Indie culture depends upon self-sufficiency and the will to do things that won’t build your resume. Americans are consumed with their resumes, their CVs, indie cultures don’t fit into CVs. There are some Americans that are doing weird things, and don’t care about their CVs, okay let me say like this, most people believe in Resume Culture, and to believe in Resume Culture you have to believe that certain things ARE TRUE, like the prestige of universities, the prestige of certain awards, the prestige of certain magazines.
Finally, can you swim?