A guest post by Luka Pajkovic
Ron Charach is a practicing psychiatrist and author based in Toronto, Ontario. He writes poetry, with ten published collections, and is a Canadian letter-writer, with his work often published in The Toronto Star, The National Post, and The Globe and Mail, as well as American venues such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Ron about his first novel, cabana the big, which was published through Tightrope Books last year.
You can read the first part of our discussion here.
LUKA: Was there any specific inspiration that led you to cabana the big?
RON: I’ve always been fascinated by just how easily power gets abused and how easily it can get used to do the most awful things. I’m also interested in this whole notion of being co-opted, why do we ride with the eight? There are many reasons, and they’re explored in this book.
But it is hard to know exactly what got you started.
I was also curious about the stylistic choices in cabana, notably dropping quotations around dialogue. What led you to these decisions?
I like to keep the reader off-balance a little bit, and dropping quotation marks always manages to do that, it’s always a little more challenging to read. I don’t like everything to be cut and dry, because sometimes it’s not really clear who said what. I try not to make it impossible, but cabana is a challenging read, it’s a literary book. cabana seems like it’s having lots of fun, and not taking things seriously, but it is.
cabana is also described as a cautionary tale, is there something specific it’s warning us about, or strictly the gun obsession?
A move towards gun obsession is really a move towards masculinity obsession, obsession with maleness, and determination to use it to dominate the world and rape it of all its beauty and resources. And not caring about the consequences.
In big ned’s dream about the young girl, he is fully made of metal, then he becomes flesh again except for his dick, which stays metal. I saw this as being his gun; they are literally one and the same for him.
And is that crude? I don’t think so, take Kim Jong Un, he’s a porn addict, and his biggest joy is having those missiles, long phallic things with so much power, paraded by. He could majorly fuck up the world, and so can Trump.
What I’m saying with cabana is let’s drop the gloves, this man they’ve elected is a crude man, so it’s time to get crude. It’s time to realize that unless people stand up to him all the time, constantly, he’s going to drag everyone down to his level.
Do you have any advice for any budding poets or fiction writers?
I would say develop an ear for dialogue, listen to people talk. I would say have a day job. I believe it becomes a self-contained little world if all you’re doing is talking to the same students who are reading the same stuff.
The other thing is, recognize that if you come up with something totally new, people are going to revile it. So don’t worry about it. It may even mean you’re onto something.
You can find cabana the big here.