It's the Monday after Thanksgiving and I feel awful. Thankfully there's brand new Youngblood-er Jen Silverman to cheer me up!
What is the Halloween costume you are most proud of?
The Halloween costume I'm most proud of is also the one I should be least proud of, and none of you would still be friends with me if I talked about it (rightfully so), so we'll just leave that one to the dark mists of history. But I can tell you that after seeing all the slutty cats and slutty fairies and slutty vampires last [Halloween], I've decided that next year I want to embrace my geographic milieu & the zeitgeist of general sluttiness and be a slutty street-cart vendor. OR a slutty Times Square Tourist. I'll walk REALLY........REALLY..........SLOWLY. And show lots of skin above my belt-pack.
Was life harder at 13 or 23?
Thirteen. Definitely. I had just moved back to the US from Finland, and had started at a public high school in Connecticut, after having been home-schooled my whole life. I was home-schooled because we traveled too much for me to be in school (by 15 months old I was living in Tokyo, and my family managed to hit up Asia, Europe, and Scandinavia before high school). Also, because my parents were deeply discerning individuals who thought the American educational system was designed to drain all creativity/ individuality/ zest for life out of kids before they were even old enough to fight back. I have to say that generally I agree with them. Anyway, I went to high school mostly because I was curious about American Culture, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by Americans. Teenage Americans. They were very loud. It was a culture shock for me & everyone around me. I've never regretted that I did it, but I'm still grateful that year 13 is over.
Tell me something crazy about Iowa
There's this tornado siren that goes off at regular intervals during the summer/ spring, but also just kind of whenever Iowa feels like it. It sounds like a cross between UFOs landing and The Whole World Ending. It elicited this Pavlovian reaction from me of abject terror that had nothing to do with tornadoes. Other than that, it is a calm, sane, beautiful place, and I did a lot of writing & teaching instead of hustling & scrambling (which is what I guess I'm doing now). Also, I could bike from one end of town to the other in ten minutes.
Where did you grow up or where is home?
I grew up in France Japan Finland New Zealand Germany Italy Sweden Canada...and Connecticut. (With a dash of Arizona thrown in.) Home is Connecticut because my parents are still there, Iowa because my mentors are still there, Osaka and Okayama (Japan) because my little family of nomad compatriots is/ used to be there, Providence because I went to undergrad there, Boston because I used to live there with a friend who runs a scientific & artistic salon out of her dining room, and now New York.
Was there ever a time when you gave up or considered giving up writing?
What is the optimum amount of time to go between showers?
I shower every morning on days when I have to be coherent and functional, because I can't wake up otherwise. But in backpacking/traveling/ I'm-in-a-jungle-and-the-water-has-tiny-worms-in-it situations, I've gone for a week at a time.
Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys?
I'm sorry to be misanthropic, but I hate them both. They are both cultural symbols of an enforced femininity/ masculinity that I don't believe in, and a kind of desperate, rabid optimism that makes me queasy. I KNOW I KNOW I'm taking this too seriously. But it's true.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place in the world to write was in my kitchen in Iowa City, which got the most amazing light. I had a big round hardwood table that was the only piece of furniture I ever spent real money on, and I would use the radiator as a chair. I loved that table more than anything. Pretty much every play I wrote in Iowa was written on it. When I left Iowa City, I promised to sell it to my neighbor along with the rest of my furniture, and then at the last possible second I couldn't do it. I sent him this really lame email where I apologized a few hundred times and offered him my first-born child instead. He was very nice about it all, and the table is living with my brother now. Someday when I am living in places for more than nine months at a time, I'll put it somewhere with a lot of light and love it with all my heart. However in my current table-less state, I roam sadly from cafe to cafe looking for a home. Please email me with your favorite writing spots: firstname.lastname@example.org.