In this installment of our Questionnaire for Writer Types (TM), we speak to Janice Shapiro, who lives in Brooklyn and is the author of the debut collection Bummer and Other Stories (Soft Skull). The book’s pre-release party is this Thursday at WORD, and she also reads next Tuesday at McNally Jackson.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Tom Perrotta called my stories, “Darkly funny, sexy and very smart.” I’d like to believe this is accurate.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
Listened to: Tribal Council’s “Hipster Girls”, Read: Of course, Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad and some other writers that people should definitely know about: Dylan Landis (Normal People Don’t Live Like This), John Dermott Woods (The Complete Collection Of People Places and Things) and Jim Krusoe (Girl Factory). Watched: Ride The High Country (Peckinpah) and Badlands (Malick). Eaten: The Crab Pasta recipe that was recently in the NYT Magazine. It is really, really good!
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn’t look at you screwy)?
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
I’ve never been starving but I have been broke. It didn’t make me brilliant. It made me extremely anxious.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
I want everyone to love me and everything I write. I know this is pathetic but sadly, true.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
Once there was an agent who really liked my work and was on the verge of taking me on as a client when another agent at her agency vetoed the whole idea. The agent who liked my work wrote me this very sweet, very diplomatic rejection email but I was very disappointed and upset when this didn’t work out. I wrote her an angry email back. I wish I hadn’t done that. It didn’t even make me feel that much better to get my anger and frustration off my chest. I knew it was a mistake the second I hit “send” but there was no turning back.