Skip to main content


Five Questions with Rick Moody

11 Central Ave. has a very special guest writer this week: Rick Moody. The writer's work includes the novels The Ice Storm and Garden State and he can be heard creating experimental radio for the Third Coast Audio Festival. Rick took time out of his day to answer a few questions about his work and his upcoming episode of 11 Central Ave.

1) Tell us about writing an episode of 11 Central Ave.

I didn't know about the series until I was approached by the producers, but I'm trying to get better at writing radio drama. I have written, I guess five or six pieces for radio now, including some one-act radio dramas. I'm always trying to learn more about the form. Radio is a very exciting medium for me. I think in sound, generally speaking. In the case of 11 Central Ave., the script only had to be 500 words long, and thus there was a chance to learn something very quickly, in an abbreviated space. I jumped at the chance. It's always good to reach, to experiment, even if the experiment, in this case, is with a well-defined and traditional form.

2) So we're guessing there is no key party in this episode of 11 Central Ave.?

Been there, done that.

3) You have written novels, short stories and other fiction. How do those compare to writing for radio?

For radio, you need to simplify a lot, I find. My sentences on the page can tend to be rather dense. That stuff just doesn't work well in an aural medium. It's good for me, in radio, to be forced to give up my cherished complexity. Also: it's important to read radio pieces out loud in the process of composition, so you are thinking about the conjunction of reader/actor and text.

4) Your characters in your novels seem to be based on your own experiences and people you've come in contact in your life. With 11 Central Ave. the characters are already there. Is this easier or harder to write for?
It was really fun to use characters who already existed. I think I bent them slightly in a new direction and that was satisfying too. Now those characters have this extra dimension to them, the dimension of mild melancholy.

5) You have written experimental radio for Third Coast and others, should we expect some of that from this show?

Nope. I'm playing to the fans here. I hope.

6) Last question: could give us your prediction for this week's Eagles/Bears game? Would you bet the over/under?

I pay no attention to football. I think the Red Sox will sweep Colorado in the World Series, however. The National League is just really weak these days.

7) Last, last question: can you hold this for me?

As long as I don't have to go over state lines.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.