DHP: What is your definition of transgressive?
MS: I hear the term often and I suppose I understand what it means, but I tend to think of writing as either good or bad. I can tell you that I have a disdain for writing that is gimmick-driven and passes itself off as transgressive. I suppose I would define it as whatever flies in the face of the literary canon. Or even better, literature that doesn’t sell because the characters are considered unlikeable. Which would eliminate about 90% of the writers that are on the list of transgressive literature, the writers who are celebrated and commercially successful. But that’s a broad definition.
DHP: What was the first text you read that made you question accepted societal tenets or values or the way in which the world works?
MS: I would have to say that Crime And Punishment was that book. Living inside the head of a mentally disturbed killer will make you question many things – unless of course you identify with the character.
DHP: Give an example of a transgressive work & explain why you felt it was transgressive? The work could be literature, film, visual art, theatre, graphic novels or something else.
MS: One relatively recent example that comes to mind is Inside, a French film starring Beatrice Dahl. It could be defined as an extreme example of a psychological mystery, the graphic violence of the film notwithstanding. Does it have artistic value? That’s really the central question when discussing anything termed transgressive. In this case I believe that it fits the definition because of its fascinating portrayal of an extreme state of mind caused by acute stress, though that’s a wholly inadequate explanation.
DHP: Name a historical transgressive role model & tell us a bit about this person.
MS: Henry Miller. His singularity as both a man and literary figure was inspiring to me as an artist.
DHP: List a few transgressive fictional works from your personal library.
MS: Tropic of Cancer...Lolita…Audition and In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami…The Trial…The Killer Inside Me…the entire corpus of work of Paul Bowles…Lord Of The Flies…The Elementary Particles. These are the ones that immediately pop to my mind. But admittedly my definition might be much different from the definition of other readers.
DHP: In what ways are you trying to create or publish work that is transgressive according to your definition?
MS: Well, my work tends to involve characters forced to the breaking point on account of combustible inner psychological pressure. Characters set against themselves and society. That about sums it up.