Interview with Bud Sturguess

Could you speak a little about this project: what are its origins, where is it going?
I don’t know if I can really call it a project, at least in the traditional sense. These pictures were made between 2012 and 2019, and they weren’t part of one static package complete with a proper artistic message. They came from a subconscious, then conscious, feeling of being unseen and unheard. These pictures were basically a way to vent, to live out some rock and roll fantasy I know I’ll never have, being too ill, too heavy, and – now at 36 – slightly too old. I suppose their only purpose outside of that was to make my friends laugh. Now that they’re being presented to a larger audience, I hope the absurdity of seeing a guy who looks like John Belushi and Jerry “the Animal” McFadden had a baby living out a rock star life will let people know they’re not alone in having dreams that didn’t come true. And that it’s okay they didn’t come true. We can’t all be the next Johnny Rotten, but our lives are just as important. Gordon Lightfoot once sang, “Playing guitar doesn’t make you a star anyway.”

What poet/artist has had the most influence on your work?

Although I’m not a musician, my biggest influence has been Warren Zevon. Warren was such a brilliant songwriter – he could write the most morbidly funny and bizarre lyrics, then turn around and break your heart with a straightforward, honest ballad. I’ve found my writing to be that way – a mix of the weird and woeful, so to speak. Being bipolar helps one to write that way.

In what area has your work evolved most significantly?
I’ve come to realize that I’m never going to be famous for my work. Being without that weight of vanity and desire for success has been a great asset to my creativity. When you’re writing to please some unseen audience of publishers and critics, your work is bound to suffer.

Do you have any forthcoming projects that you want to share with us?

I’m a third of the way through my fourth novel, tentatively titled The Beast of the Brazos. It’s about a man who becomes the butt of a cruel internet meme when he makes the news for eating his father’s remains during a disastrous trip to the Arctic. It’s a standard story, but I hope to do something unique with it.

Who are you currently reading?

I’m currently re-reading a book written by my very own pastor, David A. Ritchie, called Why Do the Nations Rage: The Demonic Origin of Nationalism, and a volume by the very talented Dana Krystle called Red Spider Lilies: Poems From Beyond the Grave.