The last time Al Patron & I spoke, his New York Yankees were slowly being sniped off the field by the Baseball Gods, Ray Lewis since retired from the sport of football & Al constantly found himself defending his messenger bag from the naysayers of the world…… Did I also mention he put out one HELL of a book by the name of Thirds Eye View? No? Well, he did, & life has since been a little different.
With his newest project Forks In The Road, a novel sure to make people reflect just as much as his first release, well on the way to it’s July 1st release, it was only right that we talk about all the new anomalies of life…
KeepItRealCole: Life from Thirds Eye View to now… Has anything changed like you might have thought it would?
Al Patron: I honestly didn’t know what to expect but shit has definitely changed; I’m way more comfortable being myself. I also feel like I’ve gotten the respect that success begets but is the respect for me, my book, or both? It’s just weird cause of the way things played out since the book, it just feels surreal. I know I’m a capable guy but meeting some of the folks I’ve met, from people I’ve looked/look up to, women or people coming up to me & saying they’re a “fan” of my work. I use those quotations around “fan” because that’s the fucking strangest shit ever to me, like I’m Al, I eat Utz chips & drink too much sometimes.
Did you feel any sort of pressure with following up your first with the second?
The only pressure I’d feel is more of a disappointment if I didn’t write this book the way I felt like writing it. What’d Bane say? “You merely adopted the darkness, I was born in it, molded by it…” I was born into “pressure” & lived through a lot more stressful situations than writing a book. Pressure is coming out of jail & having nowhere to sleep, not knowing where your next meal or dollar is coming from. Writing a book? “…can go 0-82 & I’ll look at you like this shit gravy…”
Forks In The Road is a novel. What made you make the jump from Thirds Eye View to this? Or was this part of the plan all long?
Forks In The Road was the book that should’ve came out before Thirds Eye View but then my girl left me & you know the saying, “best laid plans of mice & men sometimes go astray…” So there was no real ingenious plan but writing Forks In The Road just felt right because, again, my first book made me feel so much more comfortable, this mini-novel super freely.
Was the creation process for Forks In The Road any different than Thirds Eye View or was it somewhat of the same formula?
The process was completely different for this book as opposed to the 1st. Minus “In God We Trust” from Thirds Eye View, the rest of the book was just me being honest, so there wasn’t any creativity to it. I wrote Thirds Eye View in about 10 days, didn’t try to edit it, just wrote it & sent it to print. I think that raw honesty was the reason people gravitated to it & related to it. This book has been written in my head for the last year plus. I would walk around creating the characters in my head or living through a situation & emailing it to myself so I’d remember it later. Once I felt I had all the material I needed, I sat on my couch for three days & didn’t sleep until it was done.
What was the most difficult thing you came across while writing the book?
Maintaining a level of sanity. When people read the book, they’re reading interaction between characters as a finished product but all of these characters are in my head. Like, the conversations are ones that I had to have with myself in my head. I mean I already talk to myself a lot but to talk in different voices & imagine mannerisms during a dialogue by people who seemingly don’t exist until I birthed them? Yea, that was crazy.
“Four Letters” was a chapter in Thirds Eye View you mentioned took more energy to create & thus meant a little more to the book overall. Is there something like that buried within Forks In The Road?
Chapters 5 & 6; “Regrets” & “Homecoming”. “Regrets” made me step back & really start thinking about the regrets in my life, which are quite a few. It’s like I keep eating all my regrets & all the fucked up shit I’ve done finally rotted me to the point where I threw up. I vomited regrets cause being honest about yourself is sometimes the hardest pill to swallow, for myself at least. Nobody feels worse about my fuck ups than me but it’s like, at what point do my intentions/motives match the outcomes? So it’s no excuse for wrong doing when you regret shit, but at least it’s a start. “Homecoming” was art imitating life, my best friend/brother is locked up & that chapter was my way of doing therapy about it. The main character Jamel also takes his namesake as homage to my man. I also felt strange about feeling like shit that he’s locked up because it’s type selfish, if I feel like shit, imagine how he feels being in there? That’s why I go so hard, how can I not take advantage of this freedom & opportunity to do anything I want in life? Take advantage but not abuse it & definitely don’t become like the type of person I despise, so I’m out here busting my ass & remembering there was a time in my life when I didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of life because I abused it.
Did you create the characters in Forks In The Road completely from scratch, or did you pull from different people in your life to create each individual?
A mix of the two, you can be creative but how believable are you if there isn’t any authentic experience behind it? So some of the characters are inspired by people I’ve come across.
Do you anticipate anymore angry phone calls after people read this novel?
I get angry phone calls when I cross the street while the light is still yellow. People feel a way about shit anyone does that they don’t think they should, could, or would do because they think they’re God, so fuck it & them. It’s sad that people would rather see another fail than to be honest & say,”You know what? I didn’t think you could do it, I doubted you, but good shit.”
Do you still have plans for a television show?
I wrote this book in the style of a television show, every chapter is an episode of the first season of a TV show & that’s how people should read/visualize it. However, I’m not in the business of dictating to folks so they can read it however they want, that’s merely my suggestion.
Russell Simmons’ chair still has his name on it, is that subject to change in the future?
I actually had a chance to meet him & he told me, “You can be the best writer in the world if you want”, I mean he could’ve been talking out his ass & probably doesn’t even remember meeting me but it meant A LOT to me. Remember I said people get triggered differently? Well whether he knows it or not he gave me gun powder, now it’s on me to aim & fire. There will never be another Russell Simmons but there will definitely be a Haitian that will do everything in his power to make people say, “there will never be another Al Patron.”
What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you in the past six months?
Not for nothing, it’s something I’ve been telling myself every day. “Don’t abuse what you’re meant to take advantage of & don’t become the type of person you despise.”
It’s currently __:__ PM. I went to my ex’s office in compression shorts & a wife beater & told her secretary to take the rest of the day off. Have you shown her your crazy today?
You know what’s really funny about that? I was sitting outside one day & saw this couple arguing outside of what seemed like her office building, so I started talking about it on Twitter. I even went as far as to start writing skits about that shit & I don’t even have a “her” to be crazy for. I just find it fun to make fun of unfunny situations.
What’s next for Al Patron?
More work & helping move our culture forward by any means.
Pre-order your copy of Al Patron’s Forks In The Road at AlPatronBooks.Storenvy.com. Forks In The Road, a novel by Al Patron, goes on sale July 1st. You can get your digital copy on Amazon starting June 21st.