Timothy Bowen started writing poetry at a very young age. He has published 3 books, From the Mouths of Babes to the Pit of Despair, Hallucinating Arkansas, and The Aliens are Coming, along with his newest poetry collection, Chubby White Monkey: and Other Fables, which contains all previous poetry books as well as over 70 pages of new poetry.
He is an Ordained Minister of the Church of the SubGenius, and the publisher and creator of the Discordian Holy Books Jonesboria Discordia, Voices of Chaos, and Principia Dysnomia. His poetry has been published in the magazine Pocketsful of Poesy, and his Discordian writings have been published in the works A Pocket Full of Chaos and The Wise Book of Baloney.
He currently lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he dabbles in standup comedy and runs a blog.
Your work seems to draw upon the influence of The Principia Discordia, the 1965 book by Greg Hill and Kerry Wendell Thornley. How would you summarize the ideas of discordia to those who are unfamiliar with this book or the ideas contained within?
Absolutely most of my work comes from a Discordian perspective. My first published Discordian Holy Book, Jonesboria Discordia, was dedicated to Kerry Thornley, my first poetry chapbook, From The Mouths of Babes to the Pit of Despair has a poem called “Kerry Wendell Thornley,” and my best selling work, Voices of Chaos, is entirely about Discordanism and is a collection of interviews with prominent Discordians.
If I were to summarize the basic ideas of Discordianism, it would be: Don’t eat hotdog buns, Don’t believe anything, HAIL ERIS, buttsex is fun, chaos rules, your gods are boring, my goddess rocks!
When were you first introduced to discordian philosophy, and how did it affect your outlook on life?
I first got into Discordianism in late high school. Maybe around 1997. I first read Principia Discordia, and then every single Robert Anton Wilson book I could find. It affected my outlook on life in many ways, in that it affirmed my status as a Pope (I had been calling myself Pope Tim since 7th grade, and was happy to make it official), and it gave me motivation to try every drug on earth and hitchhike around America for a while. If it wasn’t for Eris, I might have a degree and be a normal person, and that idea terrifies me.
Where did you grow up? How would you describe your childhood?
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and had a pretty normal childhood. I have one older brother, 2 years my senior, and we spent a lot of time playing Dungeons and Dragons and walking what is known as “The Prairie Path” in Villa Park, Illinois. My parents are hippies and were always very accepting of me, and even though we moved a lot, I had no problems making friends.
How did your outlook change as a result of your time spent hitchhiking?
I’m a lot more willing to trust people. I think our society is half rooted in individualism and half rooted in fear. People assume that no one will ever help you out, and that asking for help is shameful. My very first time hitchhiking was in Alaska, and there’s a tradition up there that you never leave a person alone on a highway. I guess that’s because the weather and the wildlife is absolutely lethal, so people are more willing to actually pick someone up. You meet a lot of interesting people hitchhiking, and you lose some of that fear and individualism.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I can’t say for certain. I literally always wanted to be a writer. It was my childhood dream to walk into a bookstore and see my books on the shelves. I have recently achieved this dream and it was amazing.
What inspires you?
Smoking pot, staying up too late, talking with good friends, having awesome sex, killing it on stage, listening to Lady Gaga, getting angry at politicians, and eating wonderful foods.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
I’m basically a freegan. I don’t really have many food preferences. I do enjoy peanut butter, in all forms. A free meal is always the best meal.
What aspects of stand-up comedy do you enjoy most? Any particularly memorable on-stage experiences?
I just love making people laugh. My books are all pretty funny, and rooted in comedy. All my old music projects were funny. Discordianism is a joke disguised as a religion and humor is sacred. So, when I started doing stand up, it all seemed pretty natural to me.
This is one of my favorite sets that I’ve done:
It’s about a local news anchor, and she even tweeted back to me when I sent her the video! That was very amusing to me.
You appeared on the Jerry Springer Show in 2012. How did that come about and what was that experience like?
Yep. This is the full segment I was on:
Basically, I saw on my facebook newsfeed that Jerry was doing a casting call for “bronies,” and I posted it on my timeline. Immediately after, a good friend messaged me and said “let’s do this,” and I picked up the phone and called. A few weeks later we taped and the rest is history.
The experience was fun. Jerry’s producers are all super nice, me and my friends got a free vacation, and we milked it for all it was worth. After the show aired I got a LOT of hate, which I guess was expected. The “brony” community hated me for going against “Queen Tara Strong” and going on the show, they accused me of being a fake brony, a paid actor, and I got a few anonymous death threats. Thankfully most of that has died down now.
In the movie of your life, who plays you? And what song plays during the closing credits?
I’d like to think that Jonah Hill would do a great job playing me, and that the closing credits song would be “Crazy on You” by Heart.
How do you hope to be remembered?
I just hope I am remembered. I hope some people get great pleasure from my art and hold it in their hearts long after I’m gone.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on an erotica short fiction collection. That will hopefully get done soon. Maybe more Discordian works. I’m trying to keep quiet about some of the Discordian ideas I have. Maybe a DVD of some of my stand up comedy. Maybe another music project. Honestly, I start so many projects that go nowhere that it’s hard to tell which one will actually get finished.