Jac Jemc, who lives in Chicago, is the author of the novel My Only Wife, and a story chapbook, These Strangers She’d Invited In. She blogs her rejections at jacjemc.com. She will be appearing at the Franklin Park Reading Series on May 14, along with Elissa Schappell, Robert Lopez and others, and at The Enclave Reading Series on May 19.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
The nice young woman who cuts my hair said she happened to see me read, and I said, “Did we say hello? Did you tell me you were there? I don’t remember that!” And she said she did not say hello. She said, “Your story was sad!” And then we laughed a lot.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
I am reading Elizabeth Ellen’s Fast Machine, and the stories are just shockingly honest and so entertaining to read. I just watched Woody Allen: A Documentary and the interviewers talk directly to him, which is so rare. Also, he talks about how Diane Keaton makes him laugh like nothing else, and you see footage of her cracking him up, and it feels like such a privilege to see. I’ve been listening to the WTF podcast which makes me so happy. Even the comics I don’t know, the episodes go so deep and make me curious. I am 100% obsessed with Claire Falkenberg’s paintings right now. I had the privilege of being at the same artist residency as her, and her work just makes me ache. And today I went to mixology class with a friend, and learned that you can make a fruit syrup just by boiling a jar of jam and a jar of water and straining it. So I’ll be mixing fruit syrups into all beverages from now on.
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 fear there are a lot of these books I would buy. Stevie Nicks. Karen Black. Alfred Hitchcock. Townes Van Zandt. Chan Marshall. They’d need to be mostly memoir or written by a close friend with some secrets to tell though. I’m not interested in just bland biographies. I want the inside scoop.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
I’ve never been starving. I’ve always had a job to support my writing habit, even if it was just working odd jobs or retail.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
I would prefer if a reader didn’t talk to me about my own work. Tell me about something else you loved that I should read.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
I wrote a couple stories in college that were pretty close to real life, and I learned a valuable lesson about not doing that. Some people can handle it, but I need to not write about real life events. I wouldn’t take them back though, because I never would have learned the lesson if I didn’t write those stories.