33. Preston Allen

Categories: 100 Creatives
In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email cultist@miaminewtimes.com with the whos and whys.

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33. Preston L. Allen

Call Preston L. Allen an explorer: one who journeys to uncharted territory in the earth, sky, or rich psychological landscapes of our minds. This Florida scribe knows writing is an act of discovery. Why do we do what we do? How can we change what we don't understand? Exploratory writers like Allen start with nothing and learn as they go. If you don't comprehend it, rip it apart, dissect it, stick it under a microscope, and write a novel. You'll figure it out.

Take Allen's recent award winning All or Nothing, published in 2008 by the Brooklyn based Akashic Books. It explores gambling and addiction in South Florida Indian casinos. Allen himself knew a thing or two about the subject. "I did not understand my addiction to gambling, so I wrote about it. I understand addiction now. I can proudly say I no longer gamble."

Writers like Allen know fiction is the lie that tells the truth. Luckily for South Florida, this explorer of prose is just hitting his artistic stride. In 2010, he published Jesus Boy, a coming-of-age, sexy novel set in a church community which received considerable praise from no less than the New York Times. Allen grew up in the 617 (Boston) as well as the 305. He currently teaches writing at Miami Dade College. You can find him on Facebook or on his blog.


1. List five things that inspire you.

-Any kind of music, but old-time gospel music especially
-Ironies and injustices observed
-Bad dreams and nightmares
-A stormy night, especially if it's in winter
-Sad novels
 
2. What was your last big project?
 
The novel Jesus Boy--after more than 20 years, I finally finished it.

3. What's your next big project?
 
My ultra-violent crime novel Father Forgive Me.

4. Why do you do what you do?
 
I discovered a long time ago that when I tell a story, it helps me to understand the thing I do not understand. I do not understand love, so I write about it; I do not understand hate, so I write about it. That's why I do it. To understand.
 
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
 
I believe that art, by its very nature, must be a little bit disturbing.
 
What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?

What I don't want Miami to know are the identities of the people some of my more autobiographical works are based on, and I take great pains, artistically, to conceal them.

The Creatives so far:

34. Cristina Molina
35. David Josef Tamargo
36. Jillian Mayer

37. Alfonso Vega
38. Natasha Lopez de Victoria
39. Aholsniffsglue

40. Heather Maloney
41. Jorge Rubiera
42. Elaine Lancaster
43. Nick Duckart
44. Danielle Estefan
45. John Dufresne
46. Monica Lopez de Victoria
47. Bill Bilowit
48. Alette Simmons-Jimenez
49. Tawnie Silva
50. Ginger Bardot
51. Jonathan David Kane
52. Naomi Fisher
53. Rocky Grimes
54. Teresa Barcelo
55. Paul Tei
56. Lee Materazzi
 

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