An Interview with Jordan Castro
Stephen Tully Dierks
Hi, Jordan. Looking at the photos, your NYC trip with Mallory looks like a lot of fun. What was it like hanging out with Tao, Megan, Andrew, and David? Any incidents or things people said that seem memorable to you?
I enjoyed my trip to New York City. Many things seem memorable. Here are a few.
While in a deli, I said something about having a lot of friends who are “self-proclaimed Anarchists.” David began, what I perceived as, yelling at me. He said things like “You can’t be an Anarchist and not constantly be in jail” and “You can’t live in your big house in suburban America and be an anarchist.” I repeatedly said “I don’t want to talk about this” and “You’re just saying rhetoric.” We said other things. Mallory and Andrew were sitting at the table with us doing something with watermelon. I stood, said “You’re a fucking dick, dude” and went pee. Later, while standing together in the subway, I said something like “I’m sorry I called you a dick” and he said something like, “I’m sorry I was yelling, I didn’t know I was yelling.” We have since chilled and things seem chill.
While inside the hotel room I was staying in with my brother, Mallory, Tao, Megan, Andrew, and I played games with pillows. During one of the games – kneeling on the bed, trying to hit all of the pillows in the room simultaneously, the goal being not to let any pillows hit the floor or the bed – we became silent and all seemed to ‘assume’ neutral facial expressions while continuing to hit the pillows. I said, “We’re just… enduring this…” two or three times while grinning.
In Washington Square Park, I crawled into a street performance, ‘humped’ an obese black man’s leg and yelled “I’m a dog. I’m a dog.” While I was crawling away, the man sat on my back and said “You started this. I didn’t start this.”
In Times Square, Megan yelled “Bruce Lee” and she, Mallory, Andrew and I chased Tao through traffic. At some point, Mallory and I walked into Footlocker and when we opened the door, Megan yelled “LeBron James, oh my god.” I watched a Footlocker employee repeatedly say things like “She didn’t… They ain’t see… Ain’t nobody saw… They ain’t see…” while looking around excitedly.
How do you feel about the style of your writing, or the “type” of writing? What are your emotions or intentions when you write, and how do they vary? What kind of qualities/attitudes do you like or dislike in authors you read or hear about?
I think that the style of my writing is the result of all of the styles of writing I’ve ever read, especially the styles I’ve liked. I think that if one traced anyone’s “style” or [anything] back far enough, with the intention of ‘pinpointing’ where the thing began, he or she would realize that there is not one single discernable cause for anything, but that everything ever is ‘simply’ a result of everything ever before it. Things happen then other things happen as a result, in an inevitable cycle of cause and effect.
I think that I write, to varying degrees, like Tao Lin, Raymond Carver, Brandon Scott Gorrell, Zachary German, Noah Cicero, Chris Killen and others. I write like them because I like their writing and I want to write things that I like reading.
While writing, I assess my goals, which vary, and I do my best to accomplish those goals, I think. Some consistent goals of mine seem to be conveying information in the clearest, most literal manner possible and writing things that I’d like to read. I often write while feeling like ‘a robot programmed to accomplish [specific goal]’ and for hours at a time. I edit things compulsively. I rarely write fiction while feeling emotional. Sometimes I write poems while feeling emotional, but I edit them down significantly, later, while feeling like ‘a robot.’
I don’t know what specific qualities I look for in authors. I tend to like my friends’ writing, writing that seems interesting and/or fun to read and writing that uses mostly literal language.
What do you think about writing being autobiographical or not? Seems some people don’t like autobiographical writing and really don’t like autobiographical writing that mentions brand names or contemporary things. You said in a Gmail chat that you are “pro objective truth.” Putting aside the question of what, if anything, is “objective truth,” since I think I have a decent idea of what you mean, why do you think you are “pro objective truth”?
I don’t think it matters to me whether an author chooses to write autobiographically or not. That being said, I, generally speaking, write autobiographically.
I think writing that mentions a brand name or a “contemporary thing” is like writing that mentions [anything else], in the same way I’d ideally view [anything] as ‘like [anything else].’ In writing, I think if the author’s goal, as mine often is, is to write something that he or she enjoys writing/reading, and including the brand name of something or [anything] for [any reason] seems ‘better’ to them in terms of that goal, then to me that seems like a ‘good’ thing, because it helps the person achieve his or her goal.
In the Gmail chat you are referencing, you asked me what I thought about the Apple logo on the cover photo. I said “i think hiding the apple would be ‘bad,’ in my view, because, despite me being ‘anti-capitalist,’ to a large degree, i am, even moreso, ‘pro objective truth’ / and in the picture is an apple laptop / that is what i use / to make things.” I think I meant that there is an Apple laptop displayed on the cover and that is like [anything else] being displayed on the cover, in my view, if no context or goal is defined.
How was DIT Fest? Any memorable occurrences/things people said? How was your reading?
DIT fest was good, in my view. I felt terribly nervous and insane after my reading, but I think that was because of reasons unrelated to the actual reading.
I don’t want to type any more about DIT Fest right now. It was extremely recent. When I think about it, I feel very alone and sad. I am Gmail chatting with Noah Cicero. My friends are gone. Two days ago when I received these questions, I was sitting outside with Megan and Tao in my backyard. Noah just typed and sent “Yes it is a lonely world.”
I like the music by you that I’ve heard, particularly your dance remix cover of “Autoclave” by The Mountain Goats, which I like more than the original song. What kinds of music-related things would you like to do in the future? How did you make that song for the “Orientation” video? Seemed interesting/sweet.
Thank you. In the future, I plan on making more albums and ‘mixtapes.’ The mixtapes will be like, 20 ‘shitty ass’ songs I record on Garageband for fun, or something, and will only be available, for free, online. I am currently working on another album with David D’amato and some of my other friends. I have also been recording freestyle rap songs with GarageBand, over Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne instrumentals, which I may or may not choose to release in some form or another.
The “Orientation” video was my recorded voice over “The Kill Tone Two” by Odd Nosdam.
What are some times in your life when you have felt unusually happy?
Sitting in a lawn chair [illegal activities omitted] with Mallory Whitten until ~3 am, listening to Drake via laptop speakers. ‘Basking’ in the sun in Brooklyn, Michigan, after [illegal activities omitted] on a boat with Mallory Whitten. Drinking coffee, editing a video inside of Phoenix Coffee in Cleveland Heights, OH, after being alone >17 hr. and [illegal activity omitted]. Watching ‘The Human Centipede’ with the sound off in my pitch-black basement after [illegal activities omitted] with Tao Lin, Mallory Whitten, Sam Pink and Megan Boyle, then eating ~6 cookies w/ Sam and Tao while standing in my kitchen before going to sleep at ~5 AM.
What are some unusual times in your life when you have felt happy?
[Illegal activity omitted] while pooping. Brushing my teeth with David D’amato after ‘buzzing’ my hair, making faces and saying “where in the world is Jordan Sandiego?” and [other things] repeatedly while laughing. ‘Binge eating’ organic soy ice cream, naked in bed at ~3:30 a.m. Crying because of a ‘generalized feeling of overwhelming [something],’ naked in bed at ~5 a.m., while thinking vaguely about twitter in a manner like I felt confident about the prospects of tweeting [aforementioned feeling].