Marco Polo - Favorite Tea. I don't quite look as shadowy as her though when I drink it.
Imagine you sit in front of a fireplace. You read and beside you there is a cup with something hot in it. What would that be in your case: tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
Well given that I waitressed at a tea shop in Australia (with Alice in Wonderland high tea’s, big bonnet hats and old women with lots of enourmous jewels on their hands) I want to go with tea. Specifically: Orange Spice Tea in America, or Marco Polo in Australia. However, I’m thinking this is in the evening and I have boyfriend sweat pants on (meaning they’re 9 sizes too big and I can fit all the cheese I want in them) and fuzzy socks adore my feet, so tea would be better than keeping myself up all night with coffee. Then again, if this is the morning, and I have just finished the newspaper that I don’t really read – just scan, and there are sunny-side-up eggs on the side with an everything bagel, lightly buttered (I’m such a princess), then I would choose coffee. I also choose coffee at the RR, when I’m sitting in an over-large chair (preferably leather), while I’m driving (because the chance of spilling is 1 in 1) and when I go to IHOP. I do not like to drink hot things when I’m eating hot food though, and I much prefer to eat honey nut cheerios while I read, out of habit and dedication to the honey bee.
If an author gave you the chance to rewrite or to change the fate of a book character, who would you chose?
SPOILER: EASY. Emma in One Day by David Nicholls. (Well…maybe not easy because Bovary needs a few tweaks in Madame Bovary). But, seriously…you’re going to write a book where the main female character waits twenty years for the main male character to get his shit together (aka dump the frigid blonde, take care of his kid, quit his rock star ways and sweaty drinking) and then you kill her at the end. What kind of anti-feminist lesson are you trying to pull here, David? I LOATHE this book…I would make it eat worms if I could. So frustrated. I haven’t even seen the movie because I refuse to give any more money than my seven dollars (for the book) to David Nicholls or anyone on his team of readers and editors.
Did your parents read stories to you when you were little? if yes are there any special ones you remember the most?
Little Golden Book: Dumbo Edition
My mom always tells this story of me when I was still crawling. It seems I had a book shelf and while my parents watched television on the couch I would crawl back and forth from bookshelf to parent feet and pile up my books. When I was finally ready and the pile was about my height, I would climb up on the cushion, sit patiently and point at the books expecting either parent to read every single one. Some of the favorites were: The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, Love you Forever, and the Little Golden Books (example to your left).
What do you like more the smell of old antiquarian books or the smell of new fresh ones you just bought?
Oh my, nom-nom-nom, old books. I could literally smell page one, turn the page, smell page two, turn the page, smell the spinal crack, turn the page, smell the left corner, turn the page…all the way through an antiquarian book. It’s the dust, or the molding of the old wooden shelves, or the finger smears of everyone before me that makes it worth it. It’s the book flower, the anti-daisy smell. It’s more nursing home, than fresh baby. More grandpa’s elbow-patched jacket than a thirteen year old’s Victoria Secret perfume. An antique book is its very own smell…like the back of a Victorian closet, or a crawl space below Hemingway’s house. If it’s not browned at the edges, it ain’t for me. I would literally, if I could, smell like an old librarian. Speaking of, if anyone is selling old librarian cardigans – send them to this girl.
You get the opportunity to chose between two secret talents: either to be able to make things come to life through reading them or the gift to read yourself into a book. Which one would you like to have?
….Are you joking. I would be on my way to the catipillar, or the walrus, or the tea ceremony….I would educate myself on croquet if I could read myself into Alice. I would wear petticoats ALL DAY LONG. You have no idea how many goosebumps, and how cold my fingers got when I read this question. I would also be dating, saving, fixing, Holden Caulfield because I like my men baggy, and used…clearly.
Do you have a favorite children’s book or a favorite fairy tale?
Children’s book(s) would be Sweet Valley High books (which Diablo Cody is writing into a movie – YES YES YES YES). But, fairy tale, I’m not so sure. I have an attachment to Blue Beard, Hansel and Gretel, and then Red Riding Hood (mostly because I want to own a pine-smelling red cloak. But, I would want to be The Little Mermaid...because she’s a redhead and a breathes in the sea. I would also like to be Jessica Rabbit, but she’s not really a fairy tale character. Give me a Grimm, and I’m a happy girl.
Someone would talk to your friends and ask them to compare you to a book character. With whom do you think would they compare you?
Alice, times one million. But if I can’t be Alice….(am I pushing my opinions too much here?)…I would have to be…wow, I have no idea. Friends, I need your help. (Make her witty, or else). Miss Havisham maybe, if she would have had oodles of cats and sat on her porch more. I could see where my husband would die and I would wear the same dress caked with dirt for years and years.
Tell me the name of a writer whom you would like to have as a friend.
There’s way too many choices. I think Edgar Allen Poe would drive me insane, and Dickens would be so damn depressing and Dr. Suess would always be rhyming, so really…a woman. My head keeps flashing, “Anne Enright” because she’s Irish, and I’m in love with the majority of her books, but I feel like I’m missing someone. Oh, duh, Anne Sexton. Rather than Sylvia, I’d love to be the lady on the other line of her twisted, corking phone cord. I’d like to talk in metaphors over dinner, and paint our nails dark colors on the floor of a tiled kitchen.
You can hide in a written down world for only one night into which world do you escape?
Man, oh man….Odysseus’ castle when he returns from his journey and finds all of the suitors and the ladies-in-waiting and kills each one except Penelope (his wife). What a scene, it’s like Hamlet on steroids with less sex-gone-wrong.
Arthur Rackham Grimm's Illustration
Something terrible happens: you have to flee to an unknown place and all you can take with you are three books of all the ones you own. Which three ones do you put into your bag?
1. Grimms’ Fairy Tales because I’m sure I could always discover something new, and when they got old I could tell myself my own tales, curling up into the sand and palm leaves in which I lay.
2. Norton Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction (same mindset as Grimm). There are a lot to read and they can be read repeatedly with still fresh encounters. I mean, just think about how many ways you can unwrap The Yellow Wallpaper. Is she losing her damn mind?
3. Sylvia Plath’s Diaries. I have been unable to complete them for some time now, although I’ve read most and she was a *ucking genius (pardon my french). Plus, although I’m angry with Ted Hughes for publishing them without her knowledge especially due to the fact that they are deeply personal, I’m in total gratitude to him for letting us into a glimpse of her perfect diary. I started to read this book and asked myself – why does anyone else write when this has already been brought into the world? It’s like a creative writer’s bible.
In closing, I’d like to share this Conversation with B.H. Fairchild about poetry.
And also, the original writing and drawings of Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures Under Ground online. Thanks to Beauty and Dreams I found this.