The discovery of Stop Smiling‘s author interviews archive is a good excuse for 3:AM to mention Dan Fante. Speaking to him at end of last year, Dan talked about his father John Fante, author of Ask the Dust:
“Most people in Hollywood know the name John Fante. Of course they haven’t read his stuff, they’ve just heard he was a good novelist. And, by having an option on one or more of his books, they might become rich. John Fante is a commodity — like fertilizer is a commodity. ..My old man hated the flunkeyism of being a screenwriter. [He resented] the contempt for the writer inherent in the process, and the drone-like stupidity involved. But to be fair, on the other hand, he had a reputation for being less than tolerant and cooperative.
Dan Fante has a new collection of poetry out on Sun Dog Press—Kissed by a Fat Waitress—and, as his father was an influence on a generation of writers, so too is Dan influencing the new generation of literary up-starts. Tony O’Neill, one-third of The Brutalists, alongside Adelle Stripe and Ben Myers, says:
The influence that Dan Fante’s writing has had on my own work cannot be overstated. In terms of living writers, nobody comes close for me. Reading Chump Change made me realize that the kind of writing that excited me was still being produced somewhere in the world, and wasn’t just the preserve of untouchable, long dead legends. I felt some of the same electricity I had felt reading Selby, Burroughs, Bukowski, Huncke… It was my relentless googling of Fante that introduced me to 3:AM Magazine, and it was that which inspired my first ever submission to any magazine: a section from Digging the Vein, which Richard Cabut published in 3:AM back in 2003. That was the impetus I needed to finish my book, and really start to take my writing seriously. Since then I have corresponded with Dan and I consider him a friend, and inspiration and a mentor. And most of all, I remain a fan.
Further: Ask the lust, Ben Myers’ interview with Dan Fante on 3:AM
First posted: Monday, May 5th, 2008.