Honeydew Tattoo: Ryan Dilbert's Fusion-Fiction

Fusion is hip--especially when it's one-part Texan. In Houston, Texas flounder bathed in coconut broth formulates Indian fusion. Theater performances that co-mingle opera and dance represent cultural fusion. But if anyone were to award points for the most difficult elements to meld, all in one body, the high-scorer would have to be Ryan Dilbert. A self-proclaimed "novice tattoo artist" (ouch) and "amateur vegan chef," he also writes--well.

Combine all those elements and you either have an inky, tofu-taco wrapped in a computer-page shell, or...one of a pair of readers slated to read at Kaboom Bookstore Dec. 14, brought to you by the folks at Nano Fiction.

Dilbert admits that he's more careful with his tattoo artistry than he is with his writing. "We jumped to people pretty fast," says the 29-year-old Texas-native of the summer program he attended in Louisiana where students learned to tattoo using the requisite tools on unsuspecting honeydew melons. He'll cobble income from freelancing (tattoos, not writing) along with earnings from the Museum of Natural Science and the Writers in the Schools (WITS) Program to fund a modest book tour promoting his first novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press).

Like his persona, his novel is an amalgamation of sorts, only instead of combining technical curiosities, it fuses together seemingly mismatched eras, characters and locales. A time-traveling heroine aims to rid the world of infamous evildoers like Osama Bin Laden, Hitler and Stalin, only time doesn't move in the rational way she expects. This results in humorously muddled scenes and encounters. Picture Beethoven and Lil' Wayne conjured up in 1990s New Orleans. Thank God Dilbert doesn't take such liberties on someone's forearm with his tattoo machine needle. "I was just having fun. I try to take everyday things and transform them in some way."

Though he admits these days his cooking is mostly for him and his girlfriend, Dilbert's literary musings seem to bleed into his culinary pursuits. Bored with typical vegan ingredients, he says when he cooks his kitchen takes on the looks of an art studio, only instead of paints spread everywhere, one might find grains, flaxseed and lentils.

Dilbert will read excerpts from his novel at the Houston Avenue location of Kaboom Bookstore, along with Irene Keliher, for the store's final 2010 reading. Promoting his book he will "head to New Orleans, Philly...maybe Vermont. At least to Georgia and back," He says he's comfortable not having a marketing budget from his publisher, seemingly grateful for the opportunity to produce his work on a larger scale. But if the times get shuffled around a bit, don't be surprised.

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