The L Magazine Questionnaire for Writer Types: Jeanne Darst

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10/03/2011 12:59 PM |


Tomorrow night, Jeanne Darst will read from her debut memoir, Fiction Ruined My Family, at BookCourt.

For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
People have said that they don’t know whether it’s ok to laugh. I like that because it means there’s something deeper there in their experience. There are depressing, messy, complicated, unromantic things happening in my writing. But it is very ok to laugh.

What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
This is hard for me because I am one of the few people who probably needs to get more CNN and media into my life as opposed to out of my life. I consume very little “product” in that way, I don’t have a television and when people hear that they say, “Oh that’s SO great!” meaning, go fuck yourself you pretentious mom, but really I just have been busy and I’m recently divorced and if there’s no guy around you can honestly go years without acquiring a TV. Shalom Auslander anything is my new obsession: Foreskin’s Lament and his new book which isn’t out yet but will be soon, Hope: A Tragedy. He is fantastic.

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)?
I wouldn’t turn down a tell-all by Wendi Murdoch at this point in time, I’ll tell you that. But, really, I’d have to insist that it was in a phone-records format just to get a jump on the competition.

Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Not only have I been a starving artist for about twenty years but I’m also the child of a starving artist and the granddaughter of starving artists. Sort of. This is the entire premise of my book.

What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
I like any interactions with readers. Unlike a lot of writers, I like doing readings. I’m a performer, too, so readings are the most pleasurable thing for me because I don’t have to memorize anything. I also just like unexpected emails from readers who can find my email on my website. I want interactions with people I wouldn’t normally meet. I like audiences I wouldn’t normally meet. When I was doing my solo play I performed at Tonic on the Lower East Side and a hotel lounge in Vieques, Puerto Rico on Christmas day, an art gallery in downtown LA, my living room in Park Slope, a barn in Vermont and a billionaire’s house in Palm Beach. These are the kinds of interactions I like.

Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
Of course. I think if you haven’t, you’re not risking anything.