SSF: Name one plan you abandoned in the past year:
I continually abandon my crazy travel plans, year after year. I'll sit around and think "This year is the one. I'm going to sell everything I own for travel money, and go move somewhere with no plan and see if I can make it."
Shantastic: Every year I chicken out. It's like "No, see - your job pays too well, it would be idiotic to just up and leave. And what would you do about your dad, he would totes miss you. Also, if you move somewhere without a plan, you'll end up on the streets and be sucking dick for fives in less than a month."
SSF: Name one plan you stuck with in the past year:
Shantastic: I haven't taken more than 2 days off in a row from administrating amphibi.us since I started it. Sometimes it's rough, especially on days off - to manage all the submissions, make sure I read everything and keep up to date, write people back in a timely manner, all the junk that goes along with it being kind of a one man show. My next plan that I'm sticking to will be paying up the costs to get an amphibi.us collection published for print on demand, I think that's a reasonable plan that I can actually follow through on.
SSF: Do you prefer blondes or brunettes and why?
Shantastic: It's hard to say. I have a huge soft spot for closely cropped blondes, but I've never just gone for them because of that. I think more important than color has always been style for me. There are just some hair styles that I find so attractive that I don't even notice color. I've probably gone for girls with every color hair except red. Is that bad? Is that racist?
SSF: Do you follow the rule 'bros before hoes?'
Shantastic: I usually do. I also consider platonic female friends to be bros, so it isn't a male/female thing. It's more of an ideology that friends should come before your dick. That said, I've definitely broken 'bros before hoes' before, when my dick was doing the thinking for me. The worst way to break it is to steal a friend's girlfriend, or sleep with his sister after he's told you explicitly not to. I broke both those rules at one time, about a decade ago. It's definitely the kind of thing I'm not proud of.
SSF: Does the idea of some kind of God comfort you?
Shantastic: I've always envied people who were able to take comfort in religion. I won't lie, I do look down on it a little bit - but I usually keep my mouth shut as an atheist. I really am jealous of people who have something to look forward to after death. That's not to say I'm completely without spirituality, I just consider myself more of a realist than anything. If something is improbable, I just dismiss it until given proof and continue on with my life.
SSF: List everything you wanted to be when you "grew up" as a child:
Shantastic; I think I was a pretty weird kid, I never had any rational aspirations as far as jobs or anything. I spent a long time wishing I was a ninja turtle. The only real career I thought I could really go for when I "grew up" was software engineering. Now I sit in a cubicle doing security analysis and network stuff and all I want to do is write.
SSF: What activity do you wish you stuck with as a child into adulthood?
Shantastic: I should have kept drawing. I remember being pretty good, but it's the kind of talent that requires constant work for years on end to be even marginally good, and now when I try to draw on my tablet it's just embarrassing. I feel like if I had stuck with it, I could draw my own illustrations for poetry or flash fic and have a good time doing it.
SSF: Thoughts on thong underwear:
Shantastic: They ride too much, I don't like wearing them. As for females, I prefer thongs to anything but boyshorts. If a girl doesn't like wearing a string up her ass,maybe she should try those out. My favorite thing about thongs, though - just pulling them to the side for sex. I think it looks hot, pulled to the side next to the lips.
SSF: If you were to die in your sleep tonight, what would you like your last dream to be?
Shantastic: Oddly enough, it wouldn't be depraved or sexual. I think the best end-of-my-life dream I could imagine would just be a possible glimpse at what could have been. Maybe a chapbook or two, a few amphibi.us anthologies out. Maybe a wife, y'know.Not sure if that's too much to ask, but if I'm gonna die I'd hope my last dream was pretty positive, all in all.
SSF: Describe a typical Saturday for Shannon Peil:
Shantastic: Saturdays are the last day of my 3 day weekend typically. I wake up as late as humanly possible, roll out of bed to smoke on the porch, and head out for a cup of coffee. I soak up the wireless at my coffee shop to write a few rejection letters, read a few rejection letters, pick a poem of the day for amphibi.us, and then try to write for an hour or two. If I can't write, I read. If my girlfriend isn't working that day, none of this happens. I wake up as late as humanly possible, roll over and try to sex her. She asks me to brush my teeth,so instead I walk outside to smoke on the porch. I generally lounge around all fucking day, and then head to my favorite bar for a few PBR's and see if I can't get a poem or two down.
SSF: What do you think your first love is doing at this very moment?
Shantastic: My first love is in Hawaii, most likely laying around on a beach. I would be jealous, except she turned into a huge Jesus freak at some point after she dumped me. It's to the point where it's honestly a little scary. Still though, beach. Hawaii. Pretty sweet deal. That'll teach her. Break my heart and end up living the high life in Hawaii.
SSF: What is the nicest thing someone has ever said about your body?
Shantastic: Something about this question makes me think no matter how I answer it, I'll look bad.
SSF: What is your most noticeable nervous habit?
Shantastic: I chew on my nails constantly. I jitter my right leg up and down when I'm sitting. I twiddle with things in my hands if I'm sitting around, twirling pens, or shuffling cards. My most obvious one is probably the chain smoking. If I'm nervous and outside, I'll smoke constantly just for something to do.
I also fall into nervous eating. Dinner parties are terrible for me. If I'm around strangers or feeling a little agoraphobic, I'll shovel food into my mouth like it's going out of style - just to have an excuse to not be talking. I usually leave dinner parties with an upset stomach.
SSF: What have you written that you are most proud of?
Shantastic: This is a really tough one, because it seems like every 2 weeks my answer would change. That's a good thing though, because I feel like if you are consistently proud of what you are doing, then you're evolving. I would hate to say "I'm most proud of this piece that was featured in such and such because it's the best thing I've ever written." That would be like knowing you aren't getting any better.
That said, I'm really proud of how these two pieces came out in the first issue of Thunderclap! Magazine. You can download it here.
SSF: Any last words?
Shantastic: I guess I'd just like to thank you for featuring my work here on SSF, and let you know that I think everyone in the indie litmag scene is lucky to have you around. I think there's a certain amount of honesty that goes on here at SSF that is pretty rare. There's a lot of really pretentious bullshit going on in
some of the writing circles, a lot of people jerking each other off so they can get more publication credits, sucking each other's dicks for recognition. I don't find that here, I find that you're sharing work that is worth being shared, and there's a kind of brutal honesty in that.