For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
My ex-wife once called my writing “the lesser of two evils.” The other evil she was talking about was our sex life.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
I live in San Francisco, which is renowned for clam chowder served out of sourdough bread bowls. A buddy turned me on to this restaurant down on the waterfront where you slip the bartender a few bucks on the sly and he’ll pour three shots of gin right into your bread bowl. You stir the booze in amongst the clams and potatoes. It’s by far the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted. Just make sure to eat/drink quickly, taking fast sips from your spoon before the dairy cements.
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 to balance it out)?
Since we live in a remix culture, why aren’t there more mash-up tell-alls? Who wouldn’t read a book about the lives of Don King, Britney Spears, Flavor Flav, and Hilary Clinton tossed in a blender and pureed beyond recognition? And then the reader has to infer which vignette fits into which person’s life. In fact, has anyone actually seen Flavor Flav and Hilary Clinton in the same room at the same time?
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Legend has it that Gary Larsen, mastermind of “The Far Side,” used to starve himself while he drew his comics—that his low blood sugar and general shaky, sweaty, palpitating demeanor helped his work achieve severe paroxysms of the imagination. I like this idea and regularly deprive myself of sustenance. Maybe it closes the gap between the subconscious and conscious mind. Or maybe it just keeps me from weighing 300 pounds.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
My goal is to gloriously intrude into a reader’s life: make them brew coffee at midnight to devour the romp, make them neglect the next day’s responsibilities—late for work, kids whisked off with unruly cowlicks, speeding tickets, irate bosses, deadlines botched, all in the name of literature.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
As most divorcees will confirm, I’d love to have those wedding vows back.