Feeling Uncomfortable Yet?

David Ebenbach, author most recently of the poetry collection We Were the People Who Moved, has tagged me in The Next Uncomfortable Thing.

What is TNUT? David explains: “A couple of years ago, the big thing on writery blogs was The Next Big Thing, posts in which writers interviewed themselves about their new books. As interviews went, these were pretty friendly situations. The questions were set in advance, and I don’t think anyone pounced on themselves with any vicious “gotcha” journalism moments…But what if the (fictional) interviewer were less sympathetic? What if your interviewer were like a too-honest person who you meet randomly at a party and who’s been drinking a little and who looks at your whole writing life with an attitude somewhere between bafflement and hostility? I think that would be called The Next Uncomfortable Thing, and I think it would be interesting.”

Okay, David. You’ve tagged me and I’m willing to be “it.” But instead of the questions being fictional and the answers genuine, I’ve reversed the process–these are actual, real-live questions that I’ve been asked (okay–maybe not verbatim, but the gist is real) . The answers, however, are ones I’d never  have the chutzpah to utter.

TNUT: So, your novel A Reunion of Ghosts is about three sisters who plan to commit suicide together. Is the book autobiographical?

Judy: Yes, it is. My siblings and I all plan to kill ourselves in 1999.

TNUT: Why did you write a book in which every single character is unlikable?

Judy: Um…wow. You really thought every single character was unlikable? What about the cats? You even found the cats unlikable?

TNUT:  A Reunion of Ghosts was a People Magazine Book of the Week. In my capacity as a PhD and literary theorist, I am compelled to inquire: did you find it embarrassing to be included in the pages of such a lowbrow publication?

Judy: Totally. If there’s one thing I hate it’s support for my work in a place where 50 gajillion people might see it.

TNUT: Finally, how many books have you sold and how much to do you make per book and how much have you made overall?

Judy:  Nobody told me there’d be math.

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