An Interview with David Stone: Author of The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot

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In addition to being one of our most prolific Giant Squid lensmasters and Squidoo’s Classic Americana Contributor, I was thrilled to learn that David Stone, also known as DaveStone13 here at Squidoo, is also the published author of 7 books.

He’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his latest work, “The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot.” Read on for the interview and then pick up a copy of this fascinating book.

Squidoo Interview with David Stone

by Robin Svedi, Squidoo Fiction Editor

Your newest book, “The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot,” is the last of your “The Autobiography Of X” series. Which of the three was the easiest to write, and why?

“Traveling Without A Passport” was the easiest by far. “The Garden of What Was and Was Not” was so successful, I was inspired and confident, knowing my idea of how to write something like this worked and that readers really enjoyed it. The first book was a trial with many, many rewrites and lots of sentences and whole chapters left in the trash. I just had an intuition to write the book in a way that no other book had been written. I wanted it to be 100% original. I threw away traditional sequence in order and told the story in time shifts. The idea was to write this fictional autobiography in a way that’s like how we remember things casually. We don’t reminisce in sequence. We think of this girlfriend who did this, which reminds you of that, and you go on and on sparked by loaded memories, lessons learned moving on. That was an idea that turned me on and was really hard to pull off.

With “Traveling Without A Passport,” I was free to let it rip. It felt more natural. “The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot” was hard because I knew I was putting my character, Peter McCarthy, away forever. That meant putting away all his friends, lovers, themes and stories. Real life never has a bow tied at the end of it, but novels must. So, what I had to do was wrap up the themes and let Peter and his universe go along without me. Rewriting took forever. Readers were coaxing me to get it done, since four years passed between this and “Traveling Without A Passport.” I wanted it to be perfect, but full of risks. The first review came in, and it was great.

Phew!

I should add that I’ve only had one critical review with any of my books. (From my best friend, at that.) I wanted to maintain that record. So far, so good.

By the way, I love the title. How did you come up with it?

I’m happy to hear that. Titles sell books, no question. So, “The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot” is loaded with things I hope grab attention. There’s instant contrast with action/inaction. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting For Godot,” it’s considered by some to be the most analyzed play of all time. In it, Vladimir and Estragon debate endlessly, with the main theme being that they are waiting for someone named Godot who never appears. On the other side of the fulcrum, I wanted to make it clear that my book is a lot of fun.

A friend of mine told me that, reading my first book on a subway, she started laughing so hard, she had to show other people on the train what she was reading. Another reader told me that, reading “Traveling Without A Passport,” he laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes. I don’t think you get that sense from the Zen-like first title, and the second title, which I still like, seems to confuse people. “The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot” has a good sense of serious/not serious and some mystery about it. It’s also self-deprecating as the main character sees his life as a bunch of messes he got into but prefers it to waiting for someone to come along and make something happen.

What were your goals and intentions in this book and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My goal was to be as original as possible without being so far out readers can’t engage or relate. (James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” is a work of astonishing genius, but who reads it? One of my characters, Fenton Thomas Moore actually does, but he can’t find anyone to talk to about it. It’s a reference point.) As far as I can tell so far, I did that. I wanted it to be both fierce and funny. It’s fierce, but I haven’t gotten any feedback on the jokes and comic sequences. I laugh when I read them again, but I’m not objective. Finally, I wanted to say something original that would inform and inspire readers. Since I took a take no prisoners position on some philosophical and political points, only time will tell about whether readers find it maddening or inspiring. As long as nobody gets bored…

Your Amazon Author page says that your novels “spring from a backdrop of the revolutionary Sixties.” Is there a message in this story that you want readers to grasp? And if so, without giving too much away, how much of that message stems from that particular decade?

The Sixties was a downstream wave in the American Revolution. A lot of structures were torn down and change romped through. Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, The Antiwar and Sexual Liberation Movements infused the decade in a way that never happened before or since. The effects resonate down through the decades. Peter McCarthy dropped out as a hippie and, without ever losing his convictions about peace and freedom, has to adjust to a changing world. My original idea was to take Sixties idealism and see what happens over time. Like my generation, Peter directly experiences two world-changing events in his lifetime – the Kennedy assassination and the World Trade Center disaster. He lives in an historically significant time, but in the end, it’s the personal way people chose to live their lives that’s really interesting. It’s the Studs Terkel view of recent history, tipped to the first person. What really matters? What makes a life worth cherishing? The answer is love, but the question is, what at its core is love and why is it so present in our lives in so many forms?

Aside from Squidoo, what’s next on your writing horizon?

Readers are telling me to keep writing novels, with or without Peter McCarthy. I want to get back to my first love of writing poetry that nobody reads. Maybe I’ll find a compromise.

If you could cast him in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play Peter McCarthy?

No question, John Heard. Most probably know him as McCaulay Culkin’s father in home alone, but he’s a great actor who’s had a lot of significant roles. Try to see him in “Chilly Scenes of Winter,” an under appreciated classic from 1979, “Between The Lines” or “Cutter’s Way.” Heard’s a little crazy and never achieved as much as he could have. He had too many messes of his own. I’ll watch anything he’s in.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?


Here' the other two books in the series.

Each novel is a complete story in itself. They're related, like Henry Miller's Tropics books were, but one doesn't rely on another for getting its story completed.

It might even be fun to read them backwards.

So either go ahead and start with "The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting For Godot" (available above) or choose one of the following.

Robin Svedi, Squidoo's Fiction Editor will be interviewing up and coming authors for Squidoo's "Authors On Squidoo" Series. If you're an author who'd like to be interviewed please e-mail her at robin@squidoo.com. A portion of the proceeds from this page are being donated to Room to Read.

When you’re done reading any of David Stone’s books, why not return to Squidoo and write a personal review about it?

If you’re brand new to Squidoo, you can join right here. It’s fun, free and easy to share reviews about your favorite books, movies, music, hobbies and products you love.

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Comments

Which of David Stone’s books will you read first, or next? Share your thoughts about this interview, or just give Dave a shout out here in the comments.

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  • tonyvommo May 12, 2014 @ 10:26 am
    really helpful suggestions, thanks !
  • Graceonline May 10, 2014 @ 5:01 pm
    Robin, thank you so much for featuring one of our very own in this way. David's lenses are always interesting, often amusing, and I expect nothing less from his books. They're on my reading list already, but now I'll have to move them further up the line so I can get to them sooner. Excellent interview.
  • Merrci May 10, 2014 @ 9:43 am
    Great interview Robin and David! It definitely made me put all three books onto the wish list. Having read David's sense of humor in his lenses, I can't wait to read it in his books.
  • veryirie May 10, 2014 @ 4:05 am
    How exciting!!! It will be a treat to discover more work by the multi-talented David Stone and I thank you Robin for bringing this interview to our attention.
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 May 09, 2014 @ 4:59 pm
    I look forward to discovering a new dimension of your writing. I will read your poetry also as you return to your first love. Thanks for a very articulate and stimulating interview Robin and Dave.
  • MSchindel May 09, 2014 @ 2:23 pm
    Dave, you had me at the title. And knowing what a fabulous writer you are and your wonderfully dry sense of humor means this book is calling my name. Of course, I know I'm going to fall in love with Peter and will want to read the prior two books in the trilogy. My only dilemma is deciding in what order I want to read them. Congratulations on this well deserved feature, and many thanks to Robin as well for a terrific interview!
  • partybuzz May 09, 2014 @ 1:36 pm
    Well, I'm starting with the first book in the series (just purchased it!). I love to read books by fellow Squidoo members and supporting them. I haven't been disappointed yet. Enjoyed the interview.
  • rms May 09, 2014 @ 2:09 pm
    That's great. Share a book review when you're done reading it.
  • DaveStone13 May 09, 2014 @ 2:24 pm
    Thank you, partybuzz.
  • Mickie_G May 09, 2014 @ 12:49 pm
    I really MUST read your fun books. I have been stressed lately and do need a good chuckle.
  • nancycarol May 09, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
    Congratulations David on this well deserved spotlight on your work. I love the interview.
  • Brite-Ideas May 09, 2014 @ 11:53 am
    David, a fascinating interview - very interesting how you decided to approach this book and your thought process behind it - Much well deserved congratulations are in order, continued success my friend! (where one of your fans describes laughing on the subway, had me laughing just reading that!)
  • Sylvestermouse May 09, 2014 @ 10:51 am
    How very awesome! Just goes to show that on Squidoo you never really know who you are rubbing shoulders with or exchanging quips. I love books that make me truly laugh out loud. Sounds like I need to read the books written by this "author in our midst".
  • rms May 09, 2014 @ 11:16 am
    I know, and he's given me a great idea for furthering this niche. I want to tell people to "make me want to read your book" because that's what he did in this interview.
  • Steve_Kaye May 09, 2014 @ 10:40 am
    Conducting an interview with the author is a brilliant way to review a book.
  • JaguarJulie May 09, 2014 @ 10:09 am
    Hey there ... a shout out for David Stone! Congratulations on the book and such an intriguing title. You definitely touched a chord with me ... i.e. ... "Waiting for Godot." You know, that takes me back to my high school English class in Willoughby, Ohio. We had a substitute teacher with the most manicured page boy hairstyle. She was presenting "Waiting for Godot." And, I have to admit ... I zoned out during that period of time.
  • adventuretravelshop May 09, 2014 @ 9:33 am
    I loved the title too! Great review.
  • RobinSvedi May 09, 2014 @ 9:42 am
    Thanks for stopping by!
  • AcornOakForest May 09, 2014 @ 9:19 am
    I loved reading about David's ideas and experiences with writing these books. Thanks for the interview!
  • RobinSvedi May 09, 2014 @ 9:42 am
    He does do a great Q&A, doesn't he?
  • Susan52 May 09, 2014 @ 9:18 am
    I love the title of the featured book, but I just bought book 1 to (finally) get started on this series I've read so much about. Really enjoyed this great interview with a really neat guy!
  • RobinSvedi May 09, 2014 @ 9:41 am
    That's terrific Susan. I can't wait to see your review about it.