Written by Caleb Flachman
Photographed by Blair Bellaire
As a person, an author, and the frontman of the alternative rock band POLYMATH, Logan Riley Carroll eschews being easily pinned down. His vocabulary is peppered with abstract references to the many obscure authors and philosophers who have impacted him. And yet, as he joins me in the glass-encased study rooms in Thrift Library -- ever-present vintage briefcase in hand -- Logan is instantly present.
Unbuttoning his corduroy jacket with electric-purple fingernails, he crosses his legs and asks me how my day has been. With a mixture of restraint and passion, he speaks of the faults of “easily consumable art:” pop music, Marvel movies, and the like. Though these art forms come and go with little to no investment from their audiences, reading requires commitment. “It sounds pretentious to say that I want people to commit to consuming my art, but I honestly think it’s better that way.”
A self-described literature nut, whose head is always “stuck in the bookshelf,” Logan still cannot escape the instant thigh-slapping camaraderie of sporting events. He smiles widely under his mustache as he describes his affection for sports’ ability to unify and connect diverse groups of people with disparate experiences. It’s this attention to philosophical complexity and social groundedness which drives Logan’s art.
Logan characterizes his childhood in Redding, California, and the Upstate of South Carolina as largely lacking “artistic conditioning,” until he was introduced to music. After following his older brother Dallas to Anderson University to study music, Logan quickly discovered that the narrative component of writing is what sustains his interest. His continued songwriting for POLYMATH reflects this commitment: “I am attracted to the choruses and lyrics that transcend demographics, that transcend age. And I try to create them in a literary fashion.”
Similarly, with his fiction and poetry, Logan strives to create stories which move beyond himself. He says he recognizes the privileged and unappealing nature of his position as a “regular, white male” and that he does his best to escape it. Often, he begins writing with just one line of dialogue in mind, “And then the day is over and I realize that I’ve blackened fifteen pages. And I have no idea where the time went. That’s what fiction does for me.”
With another broad smile, he attributes his fascination with pure and unadulterated creation to the stories his father told him as a child. Most of these yarns featured characters who resembled Logan and his older brother embarking on fanciful adventures. Recently, Logan has been influenced by the groundbreaking work of James Joyce, Don DeLillo, and Kurt Vonnegut. Though Joyce served as something of an early barometer against which Logan measured his prose, he typifies most of his work from that period as “pure emulation.” Inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war science fiction novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Logan’s wrote the time travel piece, “The Ends and All” which appears in this year’s journal.
After he graduates in May, Logan plans to attend graduate school and earn an MFA in creative writing. He wants to live and work as a writer. Hands folded on his right knee, gator-skin watch ticking under its clear face, he again smiles. Calmly, assuredly.