I started thinking about why I like it so much. And then I thought, you know, it’s storytelling; I love stories. Especially strange stories. And pro wrestling is just a series of strange stories that are acted out in the moment…and some things are improvised and there’s a little bit of chaos because someone broke their nose. Like, go with it. So it’s just a very weird world; it’s very easy to write about.
That’s Ryan Dilbert. As a creative writing teacher of 4th graders, he lovingly shapes young writers by utilizing all the other facets of his life: as a father of two young girls, husband to Julie, published author, pro wrestling journalist for Bleacher Report, stand-up comedian and performer, and tattoo artist and illustrator. In his summers off, he’s hungry to do more, like developing screenplays, writing another novel, and trying his hand at graphic novel.
Ryan grew up in Cayman (we used the local inflection – in the States it’s often referred to as the Cayman Islands) before moving to Houston for high school. We met in sophomore year and became student directors of a performance poetry group, Playwrights and Players, for our senior year. Because our friendship included writing and editing together in this formative time, Ryan helped shape my own creative expression. His biracial identity is something he has struggled to explore in his writing, and feels more comfortable creating his own worlds where he can confirm the validity of the character’s experiences.
You can find more of Ryan’s work at www.ryandilbert.com and his Twitter @ryandilbert. This includes his novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press) which was published in 2011; the cover and visuals were illustrated by Shawn Callahan. His website has links to his pro wrestling columns at Bleacher Report as well as to literary journals of his flash/nano fiction and prose. He mentioned an article where he took his daughter, Lucy, to WWE Raw after sharing tweets of her experience. And he participated in Austin’s Funniest Person Contest in 2008.
Ryan’s daughter, Lucy, age 6, sat down for a short interview at the end of the episode.
Shameless plug: His upcoming chapbook with a collection of flash fiction about pro wrestling, called Mat Burns, is set to come out in Spring 2020.
We mentioned Ira Glass’s concept of The Gap – when our taste develop more quickly than our craft. Here’s a delightful video with his quote.
THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.
Hey Crafties! What is the term for a juicy quote that is pulled from an interview? Like the kind of quote that I pull for the intro teaser, or that he uses to shape his wrestling columns. Ryan and I both use this and calling it a “money shot” feels wrong)!
Ryan Dilbert reading in Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Ryan tattooing himself (photo by Julie Dickenson)
Lucy at WWE Raw
Time Crumbling Like a Wet Cracker merch
Ryan reading at Hey!Cafe (photo by Julie Dickenson)
Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker, digital illustrations by Shawn Callahan
Ryan at a reading in Austin, TX (photo by Amber Moreno)