Episode 580 – David Small

Virtual Memories Show 580:
David Small

“With old age I’ve abandoned the self-consciousness and insecurity that has kept its bony little fingers on my shirt collar. I don’t feel it anymore. I don’t care. I don’t need to do what I’m doing; I do it out love.”

With his brand new collection, THE WEREWOLF AT DUSK and Other Stories (Liveright), David Small brings us a trio of stories about the beast within (that is, within the heart, within the psyche, and within the body politic). We talk about the on-and-off 40-year history of this collection, the themes of transformation and aging that suffuse these stories, and the schism in Leonora Carrington’s estate that nearly derailed the whole project. We get into the the challenges of adapting prose fiction into comics, his move from graphic novels (think Stitches and Home After Dark) to short stories, why he’s come to love drawing digitally, and just how bad most surrealist fiction can be. We also discuss the decline in kids’ books, our respective life changes from 2020’s COVID check-in, his Truman Capote kick, how we deal with monstrous artists, how hard he has to work to make his drawings look like they were done in 15 seconds, and a lot more. Give it a listen! And go read The Werewolf At Dusk!

“Printmaking back in college — where if you make a wrong line it takes you a week to get rid of it — taught me to either live with my mistakes, or not to make them in the first place.”

“Doing kid’s books all those years really prepared me for doing something more concise.”

“This dream was about how to handle old age: you’ve got to be in denial to get though it, as your body and your mind begin to fall apart.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

David Small is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Stitches and the recipient of the Caldecott Medal, the Christopher Medal, and the E.B. White Award. He and his wife, the writer Sarah Stewart, live in Michigan.

Go listen to our 2018 conversation and our 2020 COVID check-in.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of David by Gordon Trice. It’s on my instagram.

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