Kyle Massa

An Interview with Author Kyle A. Massa

Laughing Through Life

Enter the whimsical world of Kyle A. Massa, where humour meets wisdom. Essays, monsters, and absurdities await—laughter guaranteed. Discover more!

Welcome to the whimsical world of Kyle A. Massa, a comedic maestro whose pen waltzes through the absurdities of everyday life with delightful grace. In this exclusive interview with Reader’s House magazine, we delve into the mind of the author behind Mild Buffoonery and other works that tickle the funny bone while offering poignant reflections on human nature.

Hailing from the enigmatic landscapes of upstate New York, Kyle A. Massa emerges as a literary force, crafting narratives that dance between reality and exaggeration, leaving readers in stitches with his trademark blend of wit and wisdom. With five books and a repertoire of short stories under his belt, Massa’s storytelling prowess shines through as he shares insights into his creative process and the inspirations that fuel his imaginative musings.

In Mild Buffoonery, Massa invites readers on a rollicking journey through the corridors of his mind, where humorous essays breathe life into the mundane and the extraordinary alike. From exploring the peculiarities of a whimsical religion dubbed Penguinism to unraveling the mysteries of monsters in Monsters at Dusk, Massa proves himself a master of comedic alchemy, spinning gold from the threads of everyday absurdity.

What sets Massa’s work apart is his ability to infuse laughter into the deepest crevices of human experience. As he navigates themes of family dynamics and faith with a deft comedic touch in Eggs for the Ageless, readers find themselves simultaneously entertained and provoked, reflecting on life’s quirks with newfound appreciation.

Drawing comparisons to literary luminaries like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, Massa humbly accepts the accolades while carving out his own unique niche in the literary landscape. With a nod to his influences and a wink to his own comedic flair, Massa captivates audiences with tales that are as thought-provoking as they are side-splittingly funny.

As his works garner recognition, including a finalist nod in the esteemed Wishing Shelf Awards for Monsters at Dusk, Massa remains grounded in his dedication to the craft. For him, the true measure of success lies not in accolades but in the heartfelt connection forged between author and reader.

Join us as we journey into the delightful world of Kyle A. Massa, where laughter reigns supreme and every page is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a newcomer to his whimsical universe, prepare to be enchanted, amused, and perhaps even enlightened by the words of this comedic virtuoso.

Links to Kyle A. Massa’s virtual realm await you at the end of this article, where you can further explore his works and embark on a literary adventure unlike any other. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your favourite reading nook, and prepare to be transported into the delightful realm of Mild Buffoonery and beyond.

Your book Mild Buffoonery is described as a collection of humorous essays inspired by real-life experiences. How do you navigate the line between reality and exaggeration to create comedic effect?

When writing essays like those that appear in Mild Buffoonery, I always remind myself that I’m not striving for journalism. Which is not to say that it’s untrue—rather, I’m using real events to construct the best stories I can. For example, when recounting events that happened when I was eight years old, I’m probably not going to remember exactly what I said or how I said it. Even when recounting such events to others who were present at the time, we’ll invariably remember details differently. In such instances, the writer’s job is to reconstruct situations as best they can. If those reconstructions happen to be funny, then all the better.

Eggs for the Ageless introduces a unique religion called Penguinism. What inspired you to create such an offbeat concept, and how did you develop it within the narrative?

 In my earliest drafts, Penguinism was a different religion entirely, in which people wore underwear on their heads. That joke got old quick, and after a brief experiment with Slothism, I settled on penguins for religious inspiration. Penguins of course lay eggs, so that fit with a recurring motif of the book, and furthermore, it was simultaneously humorous and somehow plausible for such a religion to arise. People really like penguins, after all, even though the closest most of us get to them is zoos. Also, making “waddle-waddle” a holy incantation was too much fun to pass up.

In Monsters at Dusk, you explore a variety of monsters and their peculiarities. What draws you to the theme of monsters, and how do you approach crafting their characteristics and behaviours to both entertain and provoke thought?

Oddly enough, the whole monster theme was kind of an accident. After finishing my first book, Gerald Barkley Rocks, I was wishing the next book would be kind enough to write itself. That didn’t happen, but after a quick perusal of my files, I realized I had enough spare short stories to combine into a collection. Better yet, they happened to share a loose theme: Monsters. That theme is very loose, by the way. There’s one story in which the only monster is one man’s coffee addiction. Yet that was part of the fun; the term monster can mean so many different things, from something literal to something more figurative, like an obsession, notion, or theme. It’s also fun to recontextualize classic monsters, as I did with the werewolf. I’d like to do it again.

Humour seems to be a central element in your writing across different genres and formats. How do you maintain a consistent comedic tone while also exploring deeper themes such as family dynamics and faith, as seen in Eggs for the Ageless?

 It’s actually not as hard as you’d think, since absurdity is naturally funny, and life is so naturally absurd. In Mild Buffoonery, for example, I wrote an entire essay about a substitute teacher I once had who only talked about drumming and classic rock, no matter what class he subbed for. He was such a strange and idiosyncratic guy that I still remember him vividly, almost two decades later. It’s actually a little harder to be funny in fiction, honestly, because you have to make up a cast of odd people to populate your story. In nonfiction, you just have to take notes (and probably change people’s names).

Your works often draw comparisons to authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. How do you feel about being likened to such esteemed writers, and what aspects of their work do you consciously or unconsciously incorporate into your own writing style?

If I may use an American football analogy, comparing me to Pratchett and Adams is like comparing Nathan Peterman to Patrick Mahomes. Still, I suppose it means some readers find my stuff amusing, and that’s about the best I can hope for. I actually think Neil Gaiman is my most profound and direct influence, but if people aren’t seeing it, that must mean I’m not ripping him off too blatantly.

With Monsters at Dusk being named a finalist for the 2021 Wishing Shelf Awards, could you share your journey in crafting short stories and your thoughts on the recognition of your work in the literary community?

I was truly honoured that the folks at the Wishing Shelf enjoyed my work. That said, I believe Eggs for the Ageless is a better book, yet the only award it’s earned is a spot on my home bookshelf. That’s the thing about awards—writers can’t control whether they’re won or lost, and they’re ultimately just toppings. What matters most are the words written, not the stickers on the cover. That said, if the Wishing Shelf or any other governing body would like to award me their highest honour at any time for any reason, I wouldn’t say no.

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