Today we feature Uzodinma Okehi, a writer I had never read until Aaron Burch let us know he was coming on tour with him. I quickly picked up Uzodinma’s book, Over For Rockwell, published in late 2015 by Short Flight/Long Drive Books.
Uzodinma Okehi, a little bit ago
Over For Rockwell is an intense and vivid novel, as we follow his character, Blue Okoye, across the globe doing his best not to fail at being an artist. When Blue is not drawing comics but knowing he should kinda hits below the belt. Uzodinma’s writing is powerful, irreverent, and vulnerable. Here’s a sample of his fiction, “The Deuce,” a segment of Blue Okoye’s strife, published in The Adroit Journal.
I blew off Jackie, I told her, forget about the coupons . . . Two-for-one dinner-date, Brooklyn, select restaurants, twenty-eight bucks, and what’s that gonna buy me? Forget the first hour, which is easy. That could be testing out pens, looking for my ruler. It could be putting on socks, on then off again, too hot, or stretching, still not drawing, at the table, my chair, against the springs, I’m tense but I’m bouncing.
And here is a rad interview with Uzodinma at The Rumpus.
OKEHI: […]Cities always, at some point, fail to meet our expectations. Same way people do. At some point you realize you’re struggling to keep that mythology alive. You either project your frustration, your disillusionment, on that person, on the city, or you can turn back, you can choose to reinvest that belief in your own strengths. In the book, Blue goes to Hong Kong, believing, typically, that all he needs is a change in scenery to turn his life around. From college in Iowa City, to Hong Kong, then to New York, only to be confronted again and again with the same issues that seem to be rooted more in his personality than any specific city or place.
As a writer, as you know, it boils down to you in a room, in front of the computer…
Come hear Uzodinma read from Over For Rockwell at The Foundry, coming up Saturday, July 30th at 7 PM at Tiger Eye Hair in Golden Hill. Uzodinma will be joined at the Foundry by many other greats: Aaron Burch, Jean Guerrero, Juliet Escoria, Jim Ruland, and Scott McClanahan.
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by Julia Dixon Evans