5 Questions with Ricky Tucker
Ricky Tucker is a North Carolina native, storyteller, essayist, and art critic. His work explores the imprints of art and memory on narrative, and the absurdity of most fleeting moments. He is the former editor of 12th Street journal and has contributed to Big Red and Shiny, The Paris Review, The Tenth Magazine, and Lambda Literary, and has performed for reading series including The Moth Story Slam, Sister Spit, Born: Free, and Spark London, among others. He received his BA from The New School as a Riggio: Writing and Democracy scholar, and a Writer/Teacher MA at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2017 he was chosen as a LAMBDA Literary Emerging Writer Fellow for creative nonfiction.
Who is your favorite protagonist in literature? Antagonist?
My favorite protagonists tend to be unreliable and amorphous. They’re the ones most prone to slipping into madness, or evolving past everything they laid out for you in the first act—they build it and then burn the whole house down. The narrator in Poe’s Tell Tale Heart is kinda like that. My third grade teacher, Ms. Daniels, gave me that story for my 9th birthday. Characters like him are also my favorite antagonists.
Spoiler alert: This describes both the villain and hero in Legion on FX. If you are the other nerd who watches this show, we have so much to discuss!
When did you know you were a writer?
I’ve had so many “aha, I’m a writer” moments throughout my life. I tried to ignore them all. But one that stands out was when I was 10 and had to describe a toy of mine in a poem for class. It was about a stuffed bear named Bobo. I rattled off something about charcoal eyes, and a “knowing look that sits still,” and two kids in class both said, “Wow.” In unison. Their reaction felt creepy and I hated the attention, so I sat down immediately. But whether embarrassing or empowering—the memory had impact.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a collection of essays about the queer black male experience, black women as our national saving grace, and how all of time happens at once and falls on your bones. I’m also writing a couple of screenplays, with two creative partners, both about connectivity in NYC. And a book of parables for adults about the trappings of modernity. And I’m (RE)learning the choreography to Janet Jackson’s Pleasure Principle video in preparation for my halloween costume: Janet Jackson in the Pleasure Principle video.
How has your writing process changed over the years?
I don’t sit down any more. I stand up.
Describe your writing style in one line?
Black American Gothic that’s hard pressed to see the difference between a laugh and a cry.