Interview with artist and writer Carol Es (transcript)

Published July 7th, 2018

Wait, wouldn’t you rather listen? Reading is so 20th century, and besides, this is a transcript of an audio presentation that was meant to be heard with your ears. Follow this link to podcast happiness.

Well hello there, you wonderful wizards, wallabies, wombats and walleyed pike, it’s Michael Phillips with you here again with another medicinal dose of THIS IS NOT A TEST, administered under doctor’s orders but without the benefit of anesthetic, ether, knockout drops or massive quantities of high-grade cannabis. Though what you do on your own brain on your own time is your own business, isn’t it. Or it should be, though it rarely is anymore. What can I say, big brother is watching, waiting and gnawing at your every synapse and shred of privacy, decency and decorum. All we can do is zig when he zags and keep our steppin’ razors sharp.

In the high-voltage rock and roll world of memoir writing, excitement waits around every corner, like a bandit ready to knock the Wells Fargo driver of his perch and gallop away with the strongbox full of gold. Ah, if only that were true, brothers and sisters. Do you read memoirs? Autobiographies? Are you interested in other people’s lives? If you do and if you are, then you know that decent memoirs are rare, really good memoirs are really rare, and excellent memoirs barely exist. I’ve always wondered how someone could have an interesting, exciting, outrageous, horrible or otherwise notorious kind of life, and then sit down and write a horrible and notoriously boring book about it. But they do. All of them. Or most of them, anyway.

But there is hope, and that hope isn’t in the form of Yahweh Ben Yahweh, Ben Kingsley, Bob Barker, Lady Miss Gaga, Mister Magoo, or one of the interchangeable corn-rowed Kardashian pod people, no. It comes in the form of my guest on today’s show, artist Carol Es. You could say I’m biased, as Carol is my soul mate, guiding light and main squeeze, but regardless of that partisan preference or favoritism, she’s written a memoir called “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley,” and I’ve been lucky enough to read it and I’m here to tell you that it stands out in the sea of what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation memoirs that the myopic and mundane publishing world has foisted on us in the guise of entertainment or enlightenment, or dare we even say: literature.

She probably won’t like anything I just said, but she doesn’t like to toot her own horn, as the kids say, so she’s just going to have to sit here and listen to it. But all hyperbole and enthusiasm aside, Carol’s book is a page-turner, man. Once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down. Not that it’s ready for you to pick up just yet, as it’s only recently finished, but we can get into all of that as we go along here. I thought it would be interesting to talk to her about the process of writing the thing, and now shopping the thing, since most of us will never do anything as monumental as writing a book about our lives. We all think we can do it, but thinking and doing are very different things. And really, no one wants to read about most of our lives, there’s that painful reality.

But look at me, what a terrible host, I’ve been talking for five minutes and I haven’t even introduced the guest. So without further ado – and making her second appearance on THIS IS NOT A TEST – say hello to Carol Es.

Listen to the podcast to hear the interview.