Beef on weck. It’s essentially a roast beef sandwich with caraway seeds and coarse ground salt on the bun, Swiss cheese, and au jus. I’m also a sucker for Chicago style Italian beef drenched in spicy giardiniera and juices. Just gimme all the Wet Meat.
What’s your favorite story? (anecdote or literally short story)
Stories about my mom and her siblings growing up. They were raised by restless academics who carted them all over the world, hid draft dodgers in their basement, radicalized college students, once adopted a drunk horse, and generally lived in a state of absurdity and uncertainty that bordered on dangerous. They lived the kind of life that makes a fiction writer extremely jealous of their material. I could listen to them talk about their childhood for hours (especially if one or more of us is kinda stoned).
What’s your most controversial belief about literature?
I feel many contemporary readers are looking for the wrong qualities in literature, and easily dismissive of literature with cultural experiences or ideas or timelines that don’t gel with their worldview. We’ve done a disservice to artists by equating artifacts with moral value. I’m here for art, and that can come from any perspective around the world, fictional or otherwise. Broaden your reading list, and put your identity on the back burner when you read. Learn something about art that has nothing to do with your moral compass.
What you most hope to find in the slush pile?
Bravery. I see so many stories that wield nice language, but apply it to the most mind-numbing situations. Sometimes, I wonder who broke us as writers by asking our work to be more boring. It’s fiction. It’s fake. Dream big and jump into the deep end. Surprise me. Make me envious of your imagination. Give me Pool People. Give me Socratic Wig.
Favorite TV show or movie right now, why?
Movie: Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty”. From sets to costumes to ideas about writing–it’s just exquisite. And it makes me want to attend lavish Italian parties with socialites as I sit on the couch in my pandemic pants with beef on weck crumbs on my sweatshirt. “I could wear that” I say as Sabrina Ferilli walks on scene in a sparkly mesh jumpsuit. I write fiction. I live in a fantasy world.