Weston Ochse: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

August 9, 2010 by
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book, Interviews 

The twenty-second entry in the Bury Me… series features US-based Weston Ochse, aka El Elvis Rojo, a man who killed me off in one of his stories in a signed, slip-cased, leather bound, 26-copy edition of Scary Rednecks, co-authored with David Whitman.

Dandelion_wine_first“Although the Fifty Years of Playboy comes to mind because of the continually deviant workings of my fourteen-year-old mind, not only am I not sure that it is really a book, but even if it was, the experience of looking at pictures would eventually grow tiring and pale in comparison to the universe one can be transported to with cannonical writing.

Such is the case with Dandelion Wine. If I was to be buried with any book, it would be with my own first edition signed by Ray – Bigger Elvis – Bradbury. Not only did Ray introduce me to the coming of age (Bildungsroman) style of writing, but this truly magical novel contains everything I should ever want to read; it is a tale of horror, it is science fiction it is fantasy, it is mystery… it is truly an iconic book because it is uncategorical.

All that said, I think that the sole greatest importance that Dandelion Wine offers to the cannon of great writing is that it is a thesis on living. The most captivating idea for me as both a young adult and an adult was the notion that the main character, Douglas Spalding, believed that by owning a pair of brand-new Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Shoes it could change his life. I’ve never looked at tennis shoes the same way since. Even now in my middling years, I can stare into a shoe store window wondering how much faster I could run, or how much higher I could jump, or how much better my life would be if only I owned those pair of shoes resting magically behind the glass. It’s a simple thing, but there are leagues of depth in the idea that a mere pair of shoes can change how we interact with the world. The shoes are of course a metaphor, and to that end, Dandelion Wine is really about the idea of living, for it was in this special summer that Douglas realized that he was not just existing but alive.

I can still remember when the world changed and I realized that I wasn’t the center of the universe, when I understood that I was but a small part of an unimaginably large whole. It was a terrifying moment, but it was necessary. And like myself, in that acknowledgement of one’s own mortality came the realization that everything could end for Douglas. He could die. And it is in that moment that he discovers the importance of everything and learns to appreciate that which he took for granted. So what better book to take with me in my death, than the book that best tells me how to live? What better book to spend an eternity with than one that can transport me to the eternal summer of my childhood, where I am running through a field of dandelions, the universe in front of me, immortality around me, wearing my own pair of brand-new Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Shoes, with the glorious knowledge that it will never ever end?”

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Weston ochseAbout Weston Ochse:

Weston Ochse is known as El Elvis Rojo south of the Mexican-American Border and has been known to appear on doorsteps singing his tales of horror and woe to the occupants who are huddled inside. The residents of the Mexican State of Sonora have begun to paint sigils on their doors to ward him away and have begun a tradition of providing offerings in the town squares of Sonoran Hotdogs, Pollo Asado Burritos and Chili Rellenos in an effort to appease El Elvis Rojo.

North of the border he is a fiction author who has won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, and has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in both Short and Long Fiction, as well as the Pushcart Prize  for short fiction. His most recent novel is Empire of Salt, a tale of zombie love and loss on the shores of the Salton Sea.

In his spare time, he races tarantula wasps, watches Border Patrol Death Race 2000, and bakes in the noonday sun. You can find him at www.westonochse.com.

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