Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meet Todd Orchulek!

Todd is the new NOÖ Journal/Magic Helicopter Press intern. He is a student at UMass-Amherst and a Massachusetts native. He applied to be an intern and I hired him when we started talking about John Hawkes's The Lime Twig. Todd is a human person and not a twig or citrus. Besides doing behind-the-scenes stuff, you'll see him here on the blog keeping things active: interviewing NOÖ contributors, reviewing books, highlighting cool stuff from other literary journals, and running sweet contests. Want to know more? Yeah, so did I. Here is my interview with Todd:

Hi Todd. Where did you grow up? What is one interesting character you remember from your hometown?

I grew up in Ludlow, Ma. and still live there. One interesting character that can still be seen riding through the area on occasion would have to be “The Can Man.” He rides around on a beat up old mountain bike, digging through trash cans and dumpsters with a gaff, with duct tape all over his shoes and pants. That, in and of itself probably wouldn’t make him all that interesting of a character (gaff notwithstanding), but knowing that he is a retired telephone company worker who drives around in a BMW in the daytime makes him, I think, possibly, some kind of super-hero/vigilante, fighting evil doers and non-recyclers alike at night, while living a life of luxury during the daytime.

What are some of your favorite books?

That would have to include just about anything by Kurt Vonnegut, Denis Johnson, John Hawkes, Philip K Dick, William Gibson, Hunter Thompson, James Joyce, Alex Garland, Jean Paul Sartre, E.E. Cummings, Jonathan Lethem, Robert Olen Butler and C.G. Jung.

When did you first realize that these squiggles called writing could affect people in real ways?

Probably the first time I heard Christopher Walken recite “The Raven.” Or, more likely, the first time I read a Robert Frost poem. It was eye-opening.

What is your favorite meal?

That’s easy: mixed vegetables in garlic sauce and General Tso's chicken from the Great Wall in Chicopee. I hope that gets me a free meal.

You used to manage a gas station. Do you have any crazy gas station stories?

I would use the term “manage” loosely, but yes, I do have some stories. One time, for instance, I watched as a 95 year old woman lost control of her car on the street adjoining the place and swerved directly into the express lube—you know, one of those oil change buildings with open doors and open floors, going about 35 mph. She slammed into the car that was in the bay, pushing it and the car behind it out into the parking lot, and in the process somehow managed to half submerge her car in the bay, so it was teetering half-in, half-out. All the while, she had the accelerator pinned to the floor. So the engine was roaring, the tires were still spinning like mad, and the guy who was working downstairs had just narrowly avoided being decapitated. We had to get her out of the car, and then fish the car out of the bay. So I can say, ‘I once caught a fish this big,’ in all seriousness. There was also the time that a beat up old Pinto pulled up to the pumps engulfed in flames because, you know, what better place to park your car when it’s engulfed in flames than at the gas pumps?

No comments: