Glen Chamberlain: I’ve heard you have an old Smith and Corona typewriter that sits in your office. Is that what you’re writing on these days?
Dane Bahr: I do have a typewriter that I got from my grandmother. My grandpa used to write love letters on it. That’s romantic to me. It has a nice sound when arms come forward. I’d like to use it more often, but I have chubby fingers and miss too often. I hit an M when I want an N. My name has gone out as Dame Bahr, many times. You can only take being mistaken for a girl so many times. So, no. I don’t use a typewriter.
DB: That’s a nice thing to say. Fowles was a great writer. So is Chaon. I’m only influenced by a select few when it comes to actual writing. McCarthy and Hemingway are pronounced. Deb Olin Unferth is a big influence. So is Julie Otsuka. Those women write with a very terse, very muscular style. It’s enviable. A lot of contemporary writing, however, is troublesome to me. I don’t find a lot in common with it. That sounds arrogant, and I’m not saying I’m better than they are. I’ve just read too much stuff by too many glib young writers these days. Being clever for clever sake. Cutesy shit. I’m not too into that. But to answer you, those writers you mentioned, to me at least, write like Sargent or Degas painted. Complex and faceted. I tend to be more taken with minimalistic works. Rothko. Homer Winslow. Andrew Wyeth. It’s like that quote on the website by Wyeth, that’s how I try to write. That’s how I want to write. I strive to write with that dictum in mind. Very logical but visceral. I want to write like Wyeth painted. Those bleak, hard landscapes, those worrisome characters. That’s worth the effort.
DB: (Laughs) Yeah. I think competition is what keeps good work coming. For everything. And yes, my brother and I box quite often. He’s younger and much stronger than I am, a little bigger in the shoulders. He has a good left jab.