Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eight Questions

This week Anthony Venutolo tagged me with eight questions. Below are my answers.

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

Hulk powers. Oh my God, Hulk powers! Get angry, destroy everything, solve everything with thoughtless brute force. I don't know why Banner is sad all the time. I would gladly trade all my intellect for the ability to kick a bridge over for traffic being too slow.

2. Who is your style icon?

Eudora Welty. She’d write whatever style she pleased. Which is my way of weaseling out of having a style icon, because there isn’t one iconic style I cherish over all others.

I hope you mean writing-wise. Clothing-wise? Let’s got with the Hulk again. Tattered purple pants. Very macho.

3. What is your favorite quote?

It changes routinely. At present it’s from Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night, put into the mouth of Isaac Jaffe:

"If you're dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you."

Sorkin is unparalleled for quotability in modern TV and film.

4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?

In high school I was sent to a writing conference at this Community College. This felt huge for me, and I loved all the panels I attended. The last was a workshop with an author of Holocaust memoirs. I brought two things: a gratuitously violent action story, and a love poem to my imaginary girlfriend. When it was my turn, I suddenly realized there was no way I could read something violent in front of this man. So I pulled out the poem. When I looked up from the page every girl in the room was looking at me, which was very unusual at the time (still is), and the author smiled at me.

“You should share that with her,” he said.

He looked so knowing, so sure of himself and happy at this little writer boy in front of him. None of them had an inkling she wasn’t real and judging me invasively, if approvingly. That’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

5. What playlist/CD is in your CD player/iPod right now?

In the car it's Lettuce's "Outta Here" and "Rage!" Two of the very few albums I listen to in their entirety. I’m a terrible song miner.

On the computer I've been listening to every version of the theme from Jon Carpenter's Halloween I can find. Tyler Bates did some great tinkering on it. It’s that time of year.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Natural night owl. Even as a kid I loved New Years Eve and being allowed to stay up late into the night. I wrote most of my first novel after dark. Trying to force myself into becoming an early riser, just because it's more convenient to be on civilization's clock.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Cats. They are on average smaller and thus take less time to bury.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

It’s the creation story for this place. Back in college I was afraid I was losing my creative drive by focusing so acutely on assigned topics. So whenever I got up from the textbook or computer to use the bathroom, I’d improvise a monologue related to anything other than what I was working on. If I’m studying 1800s American politics, then it can be about orcs and dishware. If I’m studying Kafka, then it can be about the Three Stooges. I’d keep it up until I returned to the computer. Bathroom Monologues. Sometimes I’d type them up and IM them to friends. That’s the tradition I uphold here at the writing desk, while working on short stories and novels.

In keeping with the game, I'll now pass these questions on to Karen Schindler. Tag!


  1. You're answer to #4 was a really nice story. Your # 7 made me laugh...less time to bury. I recall our fox terrier died during the night and he had disappeard rather quickly by morning. No fresh holes in the I recall, though, the garbage truck had just swung by...

  2. When I first saw the name of your blog (on Editor Unleashed) I thought it meant that you wrote stories to be read in the bathroom... :)

  3. Insight into a slightly warped mind. Wonderful!
    Laura's comment fits right in here. I just thought it is the only place you find quiet inspiration.
    Perhaps you should consultant someone about the clothing issue. :D

  4. Always a pleasure to learn a little more about our cyber friends. I'm glad Ant chose you.

  5. Oh lord. The shredded purple pants. Had to take a minute to fully digest that image. I just said on twitter that I found out ten minutes ago that I wasn't the incredible hulk. I moved my entertainment center TWICE by myself today. Not the wisest choice. I didn't generate a single cartoon noise though...not even a good *twang* from my tortured spine...kinda disappointing actually.

    Jeff Goldbloom has a great line in The Big Chill. He said the length of the articles he wrote were timed to fit into the average time Americans spent in the bathroom. The first time I saw your blog name I likened it to that comment in my head. Thanks for the insight as to how it actually came about.

    Since you and Alan have both tagged me now [and thank you for being so gentle] I will answer your queries right after my interview with Cat Connor goes up next Friday. I'm an open book. Well except for the charred pages in the middle....

  6. I think we need a pic of you in your Hulk outfit. Love your answers John. Great interview.

  7. Love your response to my story. Too funny.

  8. Nice insight into an interesting writer and person.

  9. That quote is brilliant. I've never heard that one.

    But mostly I just love that you explained your blog name. I've been curious about it.


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