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New Gass Interview

When Greg Gerke told me that there was a new interview with William Gass, I, of course, was excited, only to be dismayed by the format: brief, and often silly questions (e.g., “8. What’s your favorite color?”), with brief one- to two-line answers; but I was glad to find, unsurprisingly, that Gass still shines within this narrow form. So this has inspired me to ask you to answer the same questions in the comments section below.

1. What is your current mood or state of mind?
2. What makes you happy?
3. What is your idea of misery?
4. What did you eat for breakfast today?
5. What’s one word that describes you?
6. What trait do you value most in others?
7. What’s your favorite occupation?
8. What’s your favorite color?
9. What is your favorite food?
10. What food do you like the least?
11. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would that be?
12. What vice do you most tolerate in others?
13. What talent do you wish you had?
14. What excites you?
15. What do you consider a turn off?
16. What do you love?
17. What do you hate?
18. What are you most looking forward to?
19. What is one thing you wish would happen?
20. What is something you would will to happen?
21. What’s something interesting that you just learned?
22. What’s something you want to learn?
23. What is your personal motto?
24. In another life, you’d be:
25. What is your current obsession?
26. What is your favorite word?
27. What is your least favorite word?
28. What do you want to do before you die?
29. Personal hero:
30. If you could have a conversation with your younger self, what would you say?

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

9 thoughts on “New Gass Interview

  1. Okay, I’ll bite:

    1. What is your current mood or state of mind?
    Tired
    2. What makes you happy?
    My wife
    3. What is your idea of misery?
    Boredom
    4. What did you eat for breakfast today?
    Fruit and cereal
    5. What’s one word that describes you?
    Ordinary
    6. What trait do you value most in others?
    Appreciation of my extraordinariness
    7. What’s your favorite occupation?
    Writing
    8. What’s your favorite color?
    Blue (the colour not the mood)
    9. What is your favorite food?
    Venison (though kangaroo is up there too)
    10. What food do you like the least?
    Any seafood
    11. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would that be?
    I think Margaret Cavendish would be fun, though I’m not sure I’d keep up with her
    12. What vice do you most tolerate in others?
    Silence
    13. What talent do you wish you had?
    The ability to read more quickly
    14. What excites you?
    Intellectually challenging writing that actually works
    15. What do you consider a turn off?
    Idiocy
    16. What do you love?
    My wife
    17. What do you hate?
    Idiocy
    18. What are you most looking forward to?
    Retirement
    19. What is one thing you wish would happen?
    Someone giving me enough money to live on comfortably
    20. What is something you would will to happen?
    Peace
    21. What’s something interesting that you just learned?
    How much William Gass’s answers match what I wish I’d thought of.
    22. What’s something you want to learn?
    How to read more quickly
    23. What is your personal motto?
    Don’t be afraid to fail
    24. In another life, you’d be:
    Astounded
    25. What is your current obsession?
    At the moment I don’t have one
    26. What is your favorite word?
    It changes frequently, but I love the sound of corruscation
    27. What is your least favorite word?
    Conservative
    28. What do you want to do before you die?
    Live forever
    29. Personal hero:
    Abraham Lincoln
    30. If you could have a conversation with your younger self, what would you say?
    Give up the fiction, you’re no good at it.

    1. I wished I could read more quickly too, Paul; and to better retain everything I read would be a boon.

      These days, I’m happy to find any writing that’s intellectually challenging.

      Oh, I’ve got an extremely low tolerance for idiocy, especially of the conscious variety. Though I wouldn’t go as far as Frank Zappa in saying that stupidity “is the basic building block of the universe,” it certainly feels that way sometimes.

  2. Why not?

    1. What is your current mood or state of mind?
    Tired.
    2. What makes you happy?
    Freedom and laughter and love and sex, connection and communication, music and books and art, sushi and whiskey (though not at the same time), friends, community, solitude, silence, loudness, exercise, hot tubs, singing, dancing, sleep, peace.
    3. What is your idea of misery?
    Lack of #2, and fundamentally: feeling trapped or powerless.
    4. What did you eat for breakfast today?
    Trader Joe’s fake sausage patties and cereal.
    5. What’s one word that describes you?
    Driven.
    6. What trait do you value most in others?
    Openness.
    7. What’s your favorite occupation?
    Connecting.
    8. What’s your favorite color?
    Black.
    9. What is your favorite food?
    Sushi on a denim dress.
    10. What food do you like the least?
    Brussel sprouts. They stinky, Stimpy.
    11. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would that be?
    My girlfriend.
    12. What vice do you most tolerate in others?
    Anxiety.
    13. What talent do you wish you had?
    Geographical awareness.
    14. What excites you?
    Any kind of creative action in overdrive.
    15. What do you consider a turn off?
    Disingenuousness.
    16. What do you love?
    See #2.
    17. What do you hate?
    War, ignorance, apathy, abusive or manipulative behavior.
    18. What are you most looking forward to?
    Finishing up the multimedia production of “badbadbad,” my debut novel, then seeing it all come together when the book, CD and DVD are released in late May, then jamming on a national summer tour to spread the word through all the lit-music-art channels that will have me.
    19. What is one thing you wish would happen?
    I don’t really wish for things.
    20. What is something you would will to happen?
    Peace on Earth (yes, I’m entering the Miss America Pageant next year).
    21. What’s something interesting that you just learned?
    How to salvage a broken laptop.
    22. What’s something you want to learn?
    How to be more accepting of situations that are outta my hands.
    23. What is your personal motto?
    Breathe.
    24. In another life, you’d be:
    another _________.
    25. What is your current obsession?
    http://badbadbad.net
    26. What is your favorite word?
    Whichever one fits what I’m trying to say or write in the moment.
    27. What is your least favorite word?
    I don’t believe in these types of dichotomies. I try to not play favorites.
    28. What do you want to do before you die?
    Finish what I started w/ this badbabad project.
    29. Personal hero:
    Not sure what this means in 2011.
    30. If you could have a conversation with your younger self, what would you say?
    No fear. No separation. Come closer. Open your heart. Everything is everything. Don’t forget to work your body as well as your mind.

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