Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dan Blum, Author of The Feet Say Run, Part 2

Welcome back to Dan Blum, author of the soon-to-be-released The Feet Say Run, a literary page-turner in which 85 year old Hans Jaeger journals about his life with six other castaways, even as he recounts his long life, from Hitler Germany to a new life among the hoped-for mountains of Iowa, organ tourism, and his life on a Pacific island, until the day he joined his neighbor's yachting party.

In Part One, Dan talked about how the inspiration for the book came to him.  Today, Dan talks about writing serious material mixed with comedy in The Feet Say Run


Do you think of the book as a Holocaust novel?

I definitely don’t. The story of the war from the Jewish perspective has been amply chronicled. Harrowing and compelling though it is, it is not new territory. It would have been easy, knowing that I had many relatives who were killed in that era, to turn it into a kind obsession. But I find myself fighting against that temptation. I wanted a universal story of human suffering, human triumph, human cruelty and compassion - not just a story about my own ethnicity or people.

Laura: Having read The Feet Say Run, this is one of the things I love about it.  It's about real people, who are never all villains or all heroes.  It's really a universal story that I think most people relate to.

How do you feel, as the writer of a humor blog, putting out this essentially very serious work? Do they conflict with one another?

I do think about that a lot. I hope they don’t conflict. But it is possible that some readers may be less inclined to take The Feet Say Run as seriously, after having seen the blog. I hope that’s not the case.

And I have long felt that humor and poetry are two sides of the same coin. They both involve making surprising connections between things, finding the right way to put things, sharing an insight with the audience. I really admire great comics almost in the same way as I admire excellent serious artists. It’s a creativity of sorts.

Life is full of tragedy and there is definitely a sort of catharsis in exploring it.  It needs to be comprehended and absorbed. But who would want a world where that was all that was available in our stories? So hopefully there is room for a serious novelist to enjoy a laugh now and again, revert to his slightly sophomoric self, and generally be a bit more relaxed.

Your earlier novel was an edgy, contemporary comedy. The Feet Say Run is big and historical and at times harrowing. Which is the real you?

I suppose they are both me, because I wrote them both. But I’d say, The Feet Say Run is a more complete expression of me.

Even back in high school, in my creative writing class, I remember writing a poem one day and humor piece the next. And sometimes the humor piece would be ridiculing the poem. And then I would just start a new poem right after.

The Feet Say Run is finally a kind of synthesis – mixing humor and irony and tragedy into one, big cauldron. So it is fair to say I have put all of myself into this book.

Thank you, Dan!  And readers, Part Three is still to come.  Watch for the link to pre-order!


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