NPR: David Duchovny On Baseball And How ‘X-Files’ Made Him A Better Writer

NPR discusses David Duchovny’s recently published book, Bucky F***ing Dent.

By NPR Fresh Air

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. You probably know David Duchovny as Agent Mulder from his nine seasons starring in the Fox TV hit “The X-Files” and the two “X-Files” feature films and the series’ recent six-episode revival. Or you may remember his six seasons starring as the womanizing Hank Moody in the HBO series “Californication.”

Duchovny is now starring as a 1970s homicide detective in the NBC series “Aquarius.” It’s less commonly known that Duchovny attended Princeton, got a master’s in English literature from Yale and has been writing most of his career. He has a new novel whose title we’ll make radio friendly by calling it “Bucky Bleeping Dent,” [actual title, “Bucky F****** Dent”]. He spoke with FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies.

DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: Well, David Duchovny, welcome back to FRESH AIR. I’d like to begin with a reading here.

DAVID DUCHOVNY: Sure.

DAVIES: This is early in the book. And the main character we meet, he’s – what? – slinging peanuts in Yankee Stadium.

DUCHOVNY: That’s right.

DAVIES: You want to just set up this reading and tell us about this guy Ted?

DUCHOVNY: Yeah, Ted is a – he’s a would-be writer. But unlike many writers that you meet in fiction, he’s not suffering from writer’s block. He’s suffering from whatever the opposite of writer’s block is. He writes too much and not enough of it seems publishable. So he’s an Ivy League graduate, which you’ll learn in this little snippet here.

And the first chapter is really inside Ted’s head as he’s listening to the national anthem before a Yankee game and getting ready to do his job, which is to sell the peanuts in the cheap seats. (Reading) He would rather not be called Ted. Though he liked his job and it paid the bills – kind of – while he wrote, he was a little ashamed that a man his age with his education – New York private school, Ivy League – had to throw legumes at people to make ends meet.

Yet he actually preferred a job like this that was so far away from what he should be doing, falling so spectacularly short of any expectation, that people might think he was doing it ’cause he was a character or ’cause he loved it or that he was one of those genius irreverent guys who thumbed his nose at the world and just generally didn’t give a crap.

Rather than be thought of as a failure, which is how he thought of himself, he liked to be thought of as an eccentric – that quirky dude with a BA in English literature from Columbia who works as a peanut vendor in Yankee Stadium while he slaves away on the great American novel.

He is so counterculture. He is so down with the workers and the paroles. I love that guy – Wallace Stevens selling insurance, Nathaniel Hawthorne punching the clock at the customs house, Jack London, among the great unwashed with a handful of nuts in his hand.

Listen to the full interview on NPR’s website here.

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