Thursday, November 8, 2007

Loaded Questions: "The Dog Says How" author Kevin Kling

Loaded Questions with Kelly Hewitt

The Dog Says How
by Kevin Kling

Oct. 1st, 2007 - 224 pages - $22.95

The author of this book, Kevin Kling, is a pretty fascinating guy. I look at a lot of author’s websites and I can honestly say that when I discovered his I spent quite a bit of time clicking around and reading (its simple, Kling is the kind of author who writes about the absurdity of the human experience and does so in small intricate ways. On his website there’s this quote that I really like. When talking about his writing Kevin says: "I have a small command of the English language so I try to make each word a hero." I like that.

Kelly Hewitt: A reporter from the Denver Post wrote that your "stories fall somewhere between David Lynch's perversity and Garrison Keillor's home-spun humors." How does that statement make you feel? Is that how you would define yourself?

Kevin Kling: I like both of them as artists so I’m flattered. Even though that definition covers quite a bit of real estate hopefully I’m growing and absorbing other artists turf as well.

Kelly: I read on your site that you toured all over the US in a one man show, "Home and Away", in the 1990's. What was that experience like?

Kevin: Incredible. Memoir theater was not yet a popular form so audiences were willing to take the ride. I toured that one all over the place; off-Broadway at second stage theater, the Goodman in Chicago, the Jungle in Minneapolis and the Denver Center. It premiered at the Seattle Rep. and really launched my carrier as a storyteller.

Kelly: I am an NPR junkie. Can you tell us a bit about what your experience and contributions for "All Things Considered" have been like?

Kevin: Another great place. Bob Boilen, the director and music guru, and I have become good friends even though we've never seen each other. I thank my lucky stars for NPR. They’ve been very supportive. Now when I travel there is an audience waiting.

Kelly: In one of the chapters of The Dog Says How you write about discovering that many of the male members of your family, including yourself, have been struck by lightening. Some of your older family members have been struck several times. I am concerned for you! Has anyone else in the family been struck since you wrote that chapter? Are you nervous about having male children?

Kevin: It seems to have abated for a while. Actually mom got blasted through the TV a few weeks back. She immediately called me all excited “I’m in the family.” I have some nephews that haven't been blasted yet, we tell them “If you think the bad knees are a pain, just wait.”

Kelly: When reading reviews of your new book I read that many of your die-hard fans have been going to see you on stage at live appearances. Do you plan on doing some live stage events in conjunction with the release of the book?

Kevin: Yes, I’ve done some book signings at the Fitzgerald theater in St. Paul, Powell’s in Portland, Elliot Bay in Seattle, Tattered Cover in Denver and have a bunch lined up here in Minnesota. I also tour in storytelling festivals around the country, my website lists where I’ll be.

Kelly: How about a hypothetical question? You're in an NPR three-legged race against the Car Talk brothers. Who do you choose as a partner, Terry Gross or Garrison Keillor?

Kevin: I think Terry, Garrison and I would probably disagree on the best way to the finish line .

Kelly: You have written very candidly about a very serious accident you had last year while riding your motorcycle and the experience you had while in a coma deciding, you write, about whether or not you'd come back to your body. It's fascinating and moving. I have heard you talking about it a couple of times on NPR. Was there any hesitance on your part to write about that experience and share it in the book?

Kevin: No. A story has to be ready to be told however. That means one has to be able to look from outside or it becomes therapy and, as I tell students, you may need more help than an audience can provide. That said its empowering to tell about trauma because once you can tell about it you're in charge instead of the other way around.

Kelly: It is also clear from reading The Dog Says How that you are unabashedly Midwestern and that you feel at home in the landscape. What one thing would you tell someone considering a vacation in Minnesota?

Kevin: Try dog sledding, it's the best.

(Interviewer's note: That is Kevin with a dog sled to the left, looking like a pro.)

Kelly: Your book is surely going to leave people wanting more. Do you have any plans to write another book?

Kevin: Thank you, and definitely more in the works. The next one is well on its way.


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