Bassey Etim, 24, lives in Brooklyn, works for the Times, and is the author of The God Project: A History (and the producer of the book’s soundtrack), available as an ereader now. At the University of Wisconsin, he was Managing Editor and a columnist for The Badger Herald. He’ll be reading from the book tomorrow night, 7:30pm, at T.B.D. in Greenpoint.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
That it is “driving.” I am not one of those people who enjoys when an author spends half a novel describing the drapes.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
I read The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer. It’s always inspiring to see great writers operating in the dream status, the playground of the supreme.
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)?
Is Vincent Chase a valid answer?
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
I grew up poor, but I had the good fortune to get a job right out of college in 08′. But I have tried, and let me tell you, it is impossible to create a cogent narrative on an empty stomach. It just takes too much brainpower. That’s why I always keep a loaf of Wonder bread under my writing table. For every slice you shove in your mouth, it’s a good 20 minutes of fuel.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
The best part of these conversations is that they are so unpredictable, so I would just say that I love when a reader says they are looking forward to my next project. Just hearing that two or three times is all the motivation I could ever need.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
I once wrote a column that has been read as an endorsement of Ron Paul. It was not.
I once wrote a column that seemed to advocate a U.S. invasion of Canada. It did not.
I once wrote (before the 2008 cycle began) what seemed to be an endorsement of Donald Trump. THAT is the one I would like to take back. But, I did get a very nice email from the New York Independence Party about it.