Flintspired Writer: Connor Coyne

Posted: July 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Well known in Flinttown from his work with the iconic East Village Magazine, Connor Coyne brings unparalleled levels of artistry to his fictional works. High-concept and genre-bending, each of his two novels can easily be described as a cerebral tour de force … as well as highly rewarding endeavors for anyone who reads them. Take Hungry Rats, for example; while its tough and gritty language is on par with classic pulp writers such as Dashiell Hammet and Jim Thompson, Connor deftly utilizes a second-person narrative to challenges readers’ expectations. (As a result, he’s invented his own genre, “experimental noir.”)

Having only known Connor through his impressive body of work, I was pleased that he was able to step away from his typewriter – at least that’s how I picture him churning out his next masterpiece – to participate in this weekly column. As always, I highly recommend this Flintspired writer’s amazing body of work!

I began writing when I was:

“Nine, I think. When my parents got a PC in the 80s.”

What moved me to write:

“The world is full of stories and they have to be written down before they’re forgotten; at least that’s what started it out. Now that I’m older, I also see it as a necessary form of political and social action — a form of historical archive — and a syncretic way of engaging questions of culture and science.”

Right now, I am working on:

Urbantasm, a 20-year project, which is a philosophical, theological, theosophical, and geometrical examination of the physical and social decay and fertilization of Flint from the early 1900s to the present day. It is also a story about a junior high kid who becomes the antichrist and declares war on a gang of ruthless drug dealers and their army of blue ghosts.”

My work differs from others in the genre because:

“I learned writing in the tradition of the 20th century avant-garde, but I don’t buy into postmodern atavism; I think it represents an artistic dead-end – all these depressing, weird books about the futility of language and depressing realistic books about irredeemable alcoholic fathers. I write books that offer risky, problematic hope. My books are ecstatic in the sense of the world, in the possibility of human relationships, and in the immersive rhythm of language. They aren’t easy to read, but I think that they are able to be read in an ecstatic manner that has been surrendered by the bulk of literary writers today.”

I write what I do because:

“I think these are important stories to be shared and to be remembered and passed down, and contemplated and pulled apart – and because they speak to me with an urgency.”

My writing process is:

“Late nights, a lot of caffeine, and a fair amount of alcohol. Then, years of revision before anything gets to see the light of day.”

Describe your “Flintspiration:”

“There are certain cities, I believe, that have a sort of grandeur to them; the dramas their people endure have a larger-than-life scope, and they start to build archetypes around questions of human compassion, human suffering, the struggle of good and evil, the possibility of redemption, etc. We usually think of huge cities when contemplating such things, but I believe
Flint fits this model as well.

“Flint has lost half its people, but I think it is easy to forget that we have all the diversity of a city of 200,000 that drew people from all around the world to its factories: children from the South and the Atlantic Northeast, from Africa’s Gold Coast and England and Hungary and Macedonia and Russia, Mexico and Lebanon, Greece and Thailand, and dozens of other places. It’s just that we’re mostly poor now. So in one sense, Flint is the whole world. The extensive downsizing of the place and its frequently scant regard for human life, asks deadly important questions about mortality and sustainability (political, cultural, ecological). The history of the place — not only its well known automotive past, but its important civil and political rights struggles of the present day, as well as its carriage and lumber and trade connections of the past – asks important questions about the meaning of American identity. Flint is possibly the oldest inhabited place in Michigan, and much of Downtown and Carriage Town is effectively an Ojibwa burial ground.

“Objectively, there is much that is important and grand and serious and tragic and relatable and relevant about Flint. Having been raised here, I don’t know why I would commit to building a sense of another place from the ground up when I can write about Flint and bring the full weight of my personal experiences into the equation. Don’t get me wrong, I think the time I spent in Chicago and New York was essential to my growth as a writer; but I wanted to come back because the creative opportunities and material in Flint seemed more compelling and more personally important to me than anything I would have been able to squeeze out of those two cities.”

Interested in Connor’s work? Look for these titles Pages Bookstore, as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.:

Hungry Rats
Shattering Glass

Other writing outlets:
Facebook, Twitter, East Village Magazine. His work is also published in Santa Clara Review, Moria Poetry Zine, Moomers Journal of Moomers Studies, Flint Broadside, Dick Pig Review, Saturnine Detractor, and Qua.

  1. halloweenmachine says:

    GREAT job, fellas!

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