His book, The Crimes of Billy RedEyes, won the 1998 Matthew Thornton award. The novel is still seeking a publisher. Allred's stories have run in The Text, Syzygy and other magazines. He's teaching at Haystack this summer.

How do you feel about the struggle for publication?

"Rejection is part of being an artist. It's the part I fucking hate....When I'm absorbed in writing, and only then, I can forget about the lack of validation this life has given me."

What keeps you working?

"Knowing I'm going to die. Here's my worst fear: I'm on my deathbed. My only regret is none of my novels have sold. A letter comes from Knopf saying they'd love to publish my first novel. The postmark on the letter is forty years old."

If Knopf said they'd publish you, but only if you agree to dress in the style of a period movie for the rest of your life, what would you do?

"Wear powdered wigs, definitely. And I love the tension of frilly shirts and breeches."

If you were rioting, where would you aim when throwing a trash can?

"Ah, rioting...every time I riot, the good windows are already broken."

What's your favorite writing quote?

"'Every novel says to the reader, things are not as simple as you think.'--Milan Kundera."

If your book were a movie, who would be the lead? "I'd use it as an excuse to meet Minnie Driver. There's a juicy part for her, and she makes me melt."

If your life were a movie, who would play you?

"The gay character on NYPD Blue. I love his Scandinavian face, and what he does with his eyebrows..."

If you were trapped on Gilligan's Island, what would be the crux of the struggle for the writer character?

"Struggle? It's the ultimate writers' colony. All I have to do is show up at meals. I'd have a captive audience. If we got rescued, it's a guaranteed book contract."

So, what do you think about Gladiator?

"I love Ridley Scott, but what's up with that tiger? It looks like an animatronic painting floating on top of the screen. They should've combined Gladiator and Battlefield Earth. I'd pay full price to see Travolta and Crowe in a cat fight any day."