Author Dossier #11: Christopher Phelps

Christopher Phelps’ piece “Word” exists only in Artifice Issue 1

Name: Christopher Phelps

Other Known or Desired Aliases: Crispy, Kiggy, The Navel-Gazing Gazelle

Arch-Nemesis: Artificial sweeteners, tartrazine (yellow #5), cream sauces. Non-food nemeses: hurricanes, magazine models.

Lair: Yes, it is. At least there’s a window.

Vacation Lair that He Timeshares with Other Superheroes: A two-bedroom, aging, Bukowski-style bungalow in Southern Florida, currently. At least there’s a black lagoon in the back, complete with Loch-Ness-looking snakebirds.

The Special Features on His Fully-Loaded Robotic Sidekick Are: I’m old enough to remember a time when every robot was either Japanese or handmade. I made one that could follow a line of pencil drawn on white paper. I called it Sniff-mouse.

If He Was President of The Adjustable Clamp Company (Incorporated in 1903, by Adele V Holman, to Manufacture Genuine Jorgensen Handscrews) His First Executive Act Would Be: Tripartite. 1) Throw a Rexroth-style party and get everyone laid and every last company dollar spent; 2) Deliver the entire product line to my father (a former carpenter and current industrial-bohemian artist, oxymoron included); 3) Apologize for the party and petition the government for a bailout.

The Co-Star in the Buddy-Cop Movie of His Life Would Be: Woody Allen, so that I could be his Diane Keaton: calm and cool by comparison. On second thought, Conan O’Brien.

Summation of Aesthetic Philosophy: Plato said to study mathematics first, so I did. Plato banished the poets, so I became one.   Alternative 1. Crispin Sartwell’s translation of Verse 1 of the Dao De Jing: “Naming things loses what unites them. Failing to name things loses them into what unites them.” If aesthetic defeatism were a person with two hands, this verse would bind them. So that we could get on with it.   Alternative 2. Lyrae Van Clief-Stephanon said the following sentence came out of a Cornell University English department faculty meeting: “The purpose of poetry is to take the ineffable and eff it.”

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