Tabs open on your screen right now:
NASA report on water depletion, email trash fire, wikipedia page on threatening the president of the United States, wikipedia page on Wendy’s fast-food slogans from 1969-2016, New Yorker article on Michael Heizer’s “City,” PDF of A Free Soil, A Free People (Dorothy Kubik, 1997), Map of Georgia railroads, sprout recipe, negroni recipe.
If you had to brag about yourself:
One time James Gandolfini punched me in the stomach, I got Justin Long thrown out of a hotel, and I told Chris Martin his band sucked, all on the same night.
Your writer crush:
It’s a book, not a person. It’s Renee Gladman’s Calamities. I was reading the book while riding the subway the other day, and each passage was taking me 120-180 seconds to read. That’s about the same amount of time it takes the train to pass from station to station when you’re riding the L in Brooklyn. Each time we pulled into another station I’d finish another passage. Each time I finished another passage I’d look up and breathe and watch people filter in and out of the train at each stop. Slowly I realized I was developing a crush on my own reading experience.
“Tombstone hand / graveyard mind / just 22 / and I don’t mind dyin’” —Bo Diddley
Any place in the world:
I think a lot about the so-called Brueghel Room at the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna, where dozens of his paintings are hung in a single room. I think a lot about the person I was traveling with that winter. The room was so empty it was unsettling. I wonder a lot if I’ll ever see that room or that person again.
Hard-hitting question. I’m working on my hardboiled eggs, usually around 9 minutes and 41 seconds in boiling water. I always need toasted rye peasant bread, I never use butter. I’ve been making one-eyed jacks with ham and smoked sea salt. I use olive oil obsessively. I usually take a shot of it with lemon juice in the morning. Doing a lot of sliced beefsteak tomato with coarse black pepper. Big breakfast, big dinner, I don’t eat lunch.
Favorite online places right now:
Favorite offline places right now! I found this tucked-away animal conservatory in the hills of upstate New York the other day and it kind of saved my life. I pet a curl-crested aracari and a tortoise with some nerve damage. I also found a bar in the back of a laundromat the other day and there were a lot of pinball machines and it also kind of saved my life. None of this, I’m happy to report, happened on the internet.
For my 30th birthday, my friends mailed me postcards from all over the city, a few of them all over the country. They were put up to it by the sweetest person I know.
Your rituals (writing or not):
At some point in the past year I became obsessed with soap, the smell of it more than the use of it. Whenever I shower, and this is embarrassing, but I have like 6-8 bars of soap on shelves and I stare at them for a while and try to decide which scent is the scent of the day. Then I stand there for a while smelling soap like a fucking weirdo, but it makes me happy.
Least impressive thing about you:
I’m so bored with the U.S.A.
Favorite space to write:
I try to keep it uncomfortable. I used to write in my head on a 19-block walk to the train after work. I write in the shower, preferably when it’s a cold shower. I write on airplanes if I can because I hate flying. I write in bed but only if I’ve made the bed. I’m writing on a bus right now. Sometimes I make the room really hot and write on my back. I once cut my finger open slicing an onion and tried to write as much as I could with the good hand before the blood needed to be addressed.
What should we know:
Russell Westbrook is a poet.
Guilty literary pleasure:
I’ve been slowly reading Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and trying to pay close attention to my reading experience. I should say up front that I think the book is bad, like objectively bad on a sentence and dialogue level. I feel a certain guilt saying that, because I know people loved the book, which is one of the reasons I started reading it in the first place, precisely because people loved it. So I’m trying to map that experience as well, being confused by how much I dislike something that people I know and trust really liked. That’s a certain guilt. One of the other reasons I started reading it was so I could read Daniel Mendelsohn’s takedown of the book in NYRB last year. That’s another certain guilt. I’m saving this critical shredding of a book like I’m waiting for a dessert, which sucks. I do admire a lot of the sequencing in the book, even if it’s screaming to be turned into a movie. But essentially I decided less than 100 pages into it that I thought the book was bad, manipulative, even offensive, but I was going to finish it because I wanted to have this conversation with myself and with reading culture. Which is another kind of more ambiguous and troubling guilt. There’s probably at least 100 great works of writing that I’d love and which I won’t read before I die, but I chose to read and suffer through this very long book that I don’t like.
Best book nobody talks about:
New Numbers, Christopher Logue’s 1969 book of insane, proto-punk, agitprop protest poems. I’ve got this argument in my head that New Numbers invented the persona Jello Biafra used in Dead Kennedys.
Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
The bear from Grizzly Man. The one who finally kills and eats the guy who’s trying to shoot footage of her.
Last time you lied:
11 minutes ago
Told myself I didn’t want to renounce my citizenship.
Question you secretly want to be asked:
What are the three most important punk songs of the last 26 years?
1) “D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” – Modern Life is War
2) “New Noise” – Refused
3) “Doublewhiskeycokenoice” – Dillinger Four