Meet Brandon Hall!
Brandon Hall, a former editor of Black Rock & Sage and a graduate of ISU’s English MA program, is currently an associate lecturer here at Idaho State University.
This month we had the opportunity to ask Brandon about his favorite places, books, and literary magazines—as well as really important subjects, like Idaho’s great beaches (joke) and how awesome the Ramones are (not a joke). Brandon also offers some great advice for aspiring artists and literary magazine editors.
What three traits define you?
Height, width and a crushing inability to answer those kinds of questions about myself.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Unlined notebooks. And a pen, I guess.
What is your greatest fear?
Developing a rare mental illness like Cotard’s delusion or Capgras syndrome without realizing it, then acting on those delusions to the extent of fleeing to a small town in Nevada where my condition would just be diagnosed as “crazy crazy crazy” and put in some gross state facility where my family never finds me because the antipsychotics I’m on have given me aphasia and I can’t talk anymore. That and heights.
Where is your favorite place to be?
I like being home with my kids, but we all love beaches. That’s why we live in Idaho, I guess.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Read and smoke in the bathtub, which I haven’t been able to do for years. The smoking part, I mean.
Where is the best place you have ever visited? Why?
My favorite city so far has been Juneau, because of its natural beauty and oddball collection of people, but I also like visiting small towns in Nevada and New Mexico for the related reasons.
What would be your ideal career?
Ideal? Hoo boy–writing episodic TV shows featuring reboots of 70s/80s shows, with a large number of crossovers. They’d call me in for the New Columbo Adventures (starring Fred Savage) on the very special episode where he has to solve a murder at WKRP while on vacation to Cincinnati to visit college roommate Dr. Johnny Fever (played by Henry Zebrowski). You know, that kind of thing.
What is your favorite book, movie, and band?
I wish The Big Sleep was a band or The Misfits was a book I’d read, so they could be all three at once. Otherwise: In Our Time, North by Northwest, the Ramones
What is something that might surprise us about you?
I met Gary Coleman twice. RIP sweet prince.
What is your favorite quote?
“Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane” –H.P. Lovecraft
If you could have a dinner party with ANY three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
I enjoy a casual breakfast and a productive lunch, but if it’s a three-person dinner, it’s all about the triangle. So I’d go with Jeffrey Dahmer, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka. If things got too serious, I’d have Charles Nelson Reilly on speed-dial to liven things up.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
I’d want Mark Ruffalo, but I’d probably get Jason Mantzoukas. And that kid everyone likes from Stranger Things for the flashbacks.
If you were an animal what would you be?
If? I’m worried this is a dangerous theological discussion. Probably one of those spoiled, spoiled pandas.
If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you bring?
Depends—if I were stuck on Manhattan I’d take a library card, extra shoes, and someone’s credit card; if it were the Farallons I’d take a bird net, raincoat, and antibiotics; Galveston: prayers, a moustache, and sunglasses.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Fitting as many things as I wanted into my pockets and still being able to find them.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
Kid wrangling, model airplane building, writing spec scripts for TV shows, card games, cooking, shoveling the sidewalk.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It’s a touchy time to be asking. Maybe celebrating the first year of ANY OTHER administration.
Do you have any favorite literary magazines/publications that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Sure, Fugue from my alma mater. Blood Orange Review, where Jeff Pearson is now. The online version of Weird Tales under new management.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists and literary magazine editors?
Read and write. That’s really the key. Don’t take any pithy quotes too close to heart and make fetishes out of them. Be honest about yourself and what you make of the world around you. Don’t model yourself after other artists, but don’t avoid trying out whatever it is you like about them.
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