1. What is your first memory of writing for fun?

It was fun in 7th grade social studies, when I had the amazing Kenneth Link as a teacher. My handwritten paragraphs covered half a page, I wrote from the heart, from the mind, and I loved it. Later came a lot of bad poetry. Much later came fiction.

  1. How many drafts = done?

Whatever it takes. At least three.

  1. What is your favorite book or favorite book-of-the-moment?

Murakami’s 1Q84 stands out. Also 10:04 by Ben Lerner. Maybe I like any book with numbers in the title.

  1. What is it about your discipline that gets you the most excited?

When I first read this question, I interpreted it to me the discipline that keeps me writing, and what is exciting about that is simply the fact that I have it. Discipline is hard. Then I realized the question was probably asking me what excites me about fiction. I love it when I sit down to write a specific scene or chapter, a section where I pretty much know what is going to happen, and watching all the strange new things I invent in the moment of writing appear on the page as well. It still seems kind of magical to me.

  1. What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?

I don’t know. I like the words everyone else hates, just to be obnoxious. Give me moist, give me fickle, give me groovy. Words should never be hated, that is like hating a color. Who hates a color? You just haven’t seen it in its best context yet. Speaking of which, color words are some of the best: vermillion, indigo, magenta. Wow.

Bonus question: The apocalypse starts tomorrow – what are the first three steps to ensure your survival?

I think I would have had fun with this question sometime in the safe and distant past. Now it just makes me sigh.

First, load the car. I won’t list all the stuff I’d take, because that would be cheating on the three steps rule. It will be too late for me to buy a gun, there won’t be any left in the stores, so I will have to do with out. Second, get my kids. They are all I would care about when the apocalypse happens, and the only reason for doing this dumb survival thing anyway. Last, head for Canada, by whatever means possible.

See, it isn’t as much fun to think about anymore, is it? Thanks, Cormac McCarthy.


Your inclusive position on words (should never be hated) could also easily be applied to people. Thanks, Jennifer! We’re so excited to feature Jennifer Lee and our other great readers at our March 14th Writers & Words at Charmingtons, 7pm.  February was not the same without you: bring on March.

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