A journalist asked an author to respond to a survey. This made me jealous, so I stole the questionnaire and gave my own answers:
As a writer, who’s in the conversation with you, living or dead?
No one. I’m trying to talk with a lot of dead people, but nobody’s listening. Or at least nobody’s answering. (A conversation requires at least two people.) It’s like a holiday feast where all of the adults are seated at a large table, eating and socializing; and I’m a child trying to get their attention.
Who do you think is doing your style of work in a different medium?
The top players, the ones with their names on the trophies—they’re all doing exactly what I’m doing: the best pitcher in baseball; the fastest hurdler; and the handsomest gunslinger.
When you walk down the street, who do people see?
A nondescript man without a dog.
What is the talent that you’d most love to have but which you currently lack?
I’d really like to acquire the talent for making money. But I’d settle for learning how to manipulate people, because my guess is that that talent would eventually lead to the other one.
What’s the keynote of your personality, as a writer?
Who’s your favorite character in fiction?
Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos.
What is your favorite quality in a man?
What’s your favorite quality in a woman?
What are your desert-island discs?
I always carry with me all of the rap records that were released prior to the year 2000—this way, I have many personalities to keep me company. Plus all the words they say, in general, are fun to listen to; and I love rhythmic noises, mechanical drums, and collage beats.
What’s your motto?
“Err upward!” (From Save the Lord.)
What’s your city for all time?
St. Paul, Minnesota. Because Hell is eternal.
How would you like to die?
Painfully, slowly, disgracefully—thanks for asking! Also, for a while before I go, I’d like to be an enormous burden on others.