If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why? Hmm. I wrote a poem a while ago, “Chief Architects of the Modern World” that begins:
These are the big guys
The big guys who figured it all out
Figured out what glues one rock to the planet
Figured out why the Milky Way spins
Through time and space leaving no trail
The “Big guys” I refer to are Archimedes, Newton, and Einstein. So I guess my answer would be Archimedes. He was so close to understanding integral and differential calculus that if the Romans hadn’t killed him, Columbus probably would have flown to the New World. I’d like to talk to Archimedes, to have him tell me what he was thinking.
What are your top three favorite books and why? They’re not all novels, if that’s what you mean but right now I’m thinking a lot about Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood is a seer who reads right into the heart of civilization. I also spend a lot of time in Claude Levi-Strauss’s Mythologiques because a writer needs to have a solid understanding of anthropology and myth. Finally, Lynn Margulis’s Acquiring Genomes is a terrific book that helps me see how Life (with a capital L) isn’t defined solely as human. Very humbling to think that the bacteria in your body have been there from the beginning.
What was your favorite book as a child and why? To be honest with you, I don’t remember any books from my childhood. Music was my art from the time I was 5. I played the piano early but I don’t remember learning to read either words or music. My reading life really didn’t start until I was in high school where I discovered Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Of course I didn’t understand Camus, Nietzsche or Existentialism until later, but they were foundation authors for me.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Quirk? Being a writer is quirky in a culture that worships glitz and media superstars. You think about it—sitting alone in a room with your only friend a computer and a printer stirring up worlds of imaginary creatures and making them talk. Yeah. Being a writer is about as quirky as it gets.
Do you write full-time or part-time? My writing consumes my life so I guess I’ll say full-time. By that I mean my days are structured and organized around writing. Just about everything I do feeds into the writing. You can’t spend twenty hours a day at it because you have to eat and shop and even sometimes talk to other people—my wife insists on having dinner together every night.
If you could do anything in the world, what would it be and why? Tough question because it’s a big wide world full of all kinds of challenges. Right now the practical thing would be to find a way to think books into existence without having to write them on a machine.
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Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG
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