Rachel Shukert, who lives here in New York, is the author of the memoirs Everything Is Going to Be Great and Have You No Shame? Next Monday evening, she’s among several autobiographers who’ll be reading at the Franklin Park Reading Series.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
A reviewer on Amazon compared my book Everything Is Going To Be Great to a real-life version of “Rochelle Rochelle, a young girl’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.” You know, from Seinfeld, that movie that George rents that later gets made into a Broadway musical starring Bette Midler in the episode where she gets beamed in the head with a softball and Kramer brings her “Macaroni Midler” in the hospital. That seemed about right to me.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
I just had unfiltered sake for the first time. I don’t know if changed my life, but it added a definite joie de vivre to the evening. I imagine it would do the same for others. Whilst under its influence, I was seized with a sudden longing for my old Teddy Ruxpin doll, which was something I had totally forgotten about. The artistic possibilities of Teddy Ruxpin seem endless, and the first step is to get hold of all the working Teddy Ruxpins I can get my hands on. I need a grant.
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 always say that no matter how bad the future might be, at least we have Suri Cruise’s tell-all to look forward to. We might all be wandering in tribal clans through a radioactive dystopian wilderness, living on nettles, cockroaches and the still-warm flesh of the weak, but at least we’ll get to find out what the hell really went on in that house. I’m a glass half-full kind of person.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Let’s just say it stretched my comfort zone.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
You know that part in Catcher in the Rye, when Holden Caulfield is talking about reading a book and wishing the writer was a friend of yours you could call up and have a chat with whenever you wanted? I kind of feel that way about readers; my favorite interactions are when I hear from or meet a reader and I feel like, “wow! I wish this person was my friend!” It makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
Nothing I’d take back, exactly, but there’s certainly plenty I’d like to revise.