Writer and music-lover Rick Moody has lived in Brooklyn for the past two decades. He reveals to us his multi-faceted passion for writing and why On Celestial Music, his collection of essays published this past spring, was a labor of love. Moody also shares some of his favorite Brooklyn music spots.
We love On Celestial Music; it’s thoughtful, insightful, and your passion for the subject really shines through.The majority of your best known published work includes novels and fiction – how did working on this collection of essays compare to your experience writing in other genres?
The music pieces have happened over the years alongside my novels and stories, and they are mainly a hobby–though with the advent of my column at The Rumpus (www.therumpus.net) they have become a little more serious. For me, genre is sort of unimportant. I approach the work the same way regardless of genre. I look for language, I listen carefully. I let the language lead me to the meaning of the piece. Because I’m writing, in ON CELESTIAL MUSIC, about music I love, I am just as engaged as I am when I am trying to write fiction. It’s an enraptured state, more or less. Across the board.
As a music lover, you’re lucky to live in Brooklyn. What’s your favorite music venue in Brooklyn?
There are lots of clubs I like–Bell House, Southpaw, Barbes, but probably my favorite place to see music is the Issue Project Room. When I see things there I am invariably challenged and moved by what I hear. Issue Project Room always challenges music to do more, and that’s when I’m most interested these days.
Are you still living in Park Slope? What drew you to Brooklyn?
Yep. Right near the Park now. It’s a great spot. I guess I came to Brooklyn because I got tired of being on the Path train all the time. I was in Hoboken for seven years before I moved here in 1992. It was a real pain in the ass to get from Hoboken to Brooklyn, and a lot of my friends were moving to Brooklyn. So I ventured forth as well.
Where do you get your best writing done? Do you write from home or do you have any favorite spots outside your home?
I have been to many artist’s colonies over the years. Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs was a great source of energy for me in the nineties and 2000s. I have also had a great time as a Lannan Fellow in Marfa, Texas. But lately I have been working upstate in Dutchess County and enjoying myself there quite a bit.
What’s the best thing you’ve read this summer?
PREHISTORIC TIMES by Eric Chevillard, a comic novel translated from the French and newly available from Archipelago Books. It’s a masterpiece. It features some of the most outlandish and spectacular prose I’ve read in a long time. It has really made me deliriously happy, in fact.
What are you working on now?
A couple of music pieces, an op-ed piece for LE MONDE, notes on the presidential election, a song, a short story, and two novels.