Sam Pink: So being alive is, like, a huge waster. No one needs you here and you’re just using resources, which often bothers the shit out of me (in relation to myself) so I try and correct it by making cool shit. ‘Hey that guy is eating and shitting and wasting time like me, but one time he made me laugh so he’s ok i guess.’

MM: Haha, yeah. I vibe with the technical mind comment. I think because if you’re not applying that left brain creatively, it’s not truly yours. You’re learning someone else’s game. I learned this at school.

SP: Yeah there’s a special feeling when, for better or worse, you made something unique. Like, at least I used my time on Earth to try. I think a lot of it is the joy of sharing. Like how people say giving is better than receiving. And that’s at least partially true. Like when you get an awesome gift for someone, it feels really good. I enjoy sharing things I think people will like. Recently had a weird moment while drawing where I thought ‘this is weird’ but then remembered my grandpa, who was a serious/mechanical kind of person, who would make really elaborate paper airplanes. When he first showed me, I was surprised, and also thought ‘what the fuck, why do this?’ and then I was drawing and realized I have the same inclination and it felt good. And everyone has that inclination in some way. It’s what makes being a human different than being an animal. Like in White Ibis, the girlfriend’s mom character throws really elaborate parties, and to some that might seem silly, but then you hear people comment on their experience at her parties, and it’s really sweet. I think it boils down to people really just feeling like they want to provide interesting things for each other like, it’s a real joy when someone shows up at a reading not knowing anything about what I do, and then I do it, and they seem surprised.

MM: Yeah, I think it’s how certain people know how to give their love, through special things they put themselves into, like parties, or cooking, or books. Sometimes it’s misunderstood, and that’s where the vulnerability comes in. I like how your books aren’t whitewashed in any way; you lay bare your thoughts.

SP: Yeah I like books/writing like that. It reminds me most of Fante/McClanahan. People who can be themselves without being the moral authority. They write themselves as a clown to make a point. Or, not a clown, but not above error, and then the way they react to error is endearing and more human than when people do the ‘I am the ultimate authority handing down my ideas’ robot stuff. I am immediately calmed by people like that, even if their thoughts/they are kind of fucked up. It’s more refreshing than someone who is clearly hiding a lot of unexpressed shit.

MM: Because it’s true. It’s like empathy should you choose to accept it. No inherently good or bad thoughts.

SP: Right exactly, like what’s more important, someone who fucks up, thinks about it, corrects it, or something who is just magically right all the time. You have to teach people by learning in front of them.

MM: As a spiritually inclined person, truth and humility are the pillars. Knee-jerk reactionary stuff is the enemy of clarity. Even in say competition/conflict, there’s tremendous value in being able to understand/empathize with how your opponent thinks. People who tout themselves as moral authorities are like tourists in reality. What’s more endearing than imperfect honesty. McClanahan and Fante are such great examples.

SP: Yeah for sure. Nobody does the ‘going from arrogant asshole to victim of one’s own arrogance’ better than Fante.

MM: Yeah, Ask the Dust jumps to mind…where he chases the girl who doesn’t love him. Both authors are fearless in working out their flaws, humiliating themselves almost, in service of truth. Bukowski is kind of the opposite, in that he’s always the badass hero in his stories…

SP: It’s the difference between telling a child 2+2=4 and actually showing them two groups of two being added together.

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