Hi Dirtonians! I asked author Lenore Zion some questions about her new book My Dead Pets Are Interesting. If you are not familiar with Lenore Zion you will be, especially after you click HERE.
She is a talented writer and a funny lady, so enjoy.
WWD: So lets get right down to business. I like snacks, you like snacks. What snack is hot for you right now?
LZ: Writing about snacks really seems to resonate with people, I’ve noticed. I’m really feeling wild cherry icees lately. It’s summer, it’s hot, they sell them at 7-11, and they give you an amazing sugar rush. At this exact moment, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my car, eating Goldfish and drinking Vitamin Water, answering your questions while I wait for a meeting to start. I wish I had an icee. Sometimes I’m ashamed at how juvenile my palate can be. I do, however, adore snobby snacks. They’re just more expensive, so generally I have to resort to the more pedestrian snacks of the gas station. My brother and I have what we call “Snobby Snack Day” when we visit each other. We get fancy cheeses, crackers, olives, foie gras, and other tiny containers of extravagant food items. Then we gorge ourselves on this collection of food that is supposed to be enjoyed in a more delicate, abstemious manner, proving irrefutably that we are no more classy than the average person driving through McDonald’s for an extra value meal.
WWD: Does it get tiring being so close to your work? I mean, you talk a lot about meeting other peoples expectations and feelings of inadequacy and you are Lenore Zion, the main character in this book is Lenore Zion. And at the end of the day you are a published author with a real job and friends and a family. If you feel sometimes you are not meeting expectations or that some of the things you think are irrational are you working that out through your work? Does writing about the structure of your own mind make it easier to understand or does it bring more questions than answers?
LZ: I’m not sure I’d say I work through my neuroses in my writing. If anything, they get worse due to my writing. My neuroses, eccentricities, and issues in general all get worked out in one of two places: either my therapist’s office, or in my relationships. Thank goodness I have a very good therapist and very good friends and family. That said, I don’t think I’m really plagued with crippling emotional issues or anything. I’ve had a few relationships go awry in my life, and I certainly contributed to the dysfunction in those cases, but it would be pretty hard to find a human who doesn’t fit that description.
I also don’t think writing about what goes on in my mind helps me to understand my mind at all. I’d say I have a very comprehensive understanding of my mind, but that’s because I invest a lot of time (perhaps unwisely) in thinking about myself. If I were using my writing to organize and make sense of my mind, it would be the shittiest writing ever. My diary is an example; it’s packed with drivel. “I love this person, I love that person, I want to die, no I don’t, I hope no one reads this, I hope someone does read this, blah blah blah.”
WWD: You talk about how close you are to death, and shit man people die every day, terrible things happen everyday, so considering the make-up off all things do you think your concept of mortality makes you closer to other people or do you feel more guarded and take a step back from close human interaction?
LZ: The fact that I am aware of my own mortality (unlike everyone else – you’re all so dumb!) causes me to cling to the people I love. I don’t think I’ve ever been accurately accused of backing away from someone whom I want near. Sometimes I’ve been inaccurately accused of this, but what I was really doing was something else. Usually thinking really hard about stuff that doesn’t matter. So hard I couldn’t call or write. But I sure do love the people I love, and I sure love to be around those people. Even though they probably all have horrible diseases and I’m totally gonna die in like twenty minutes.
WWD: Your family is a very important set of characters in the book. Do you get a lot of feedback from them?
LZ: You know, I’m not even sure my family knows I write. I think the people in my life categorize me as either a writer or a psychologist, rarely both. My family tends to think of me as a psychologist. Not that they are unsupportive – they’re the most supportive of all, but they don’t make a big thing of it, and I don’t tend to talk about my writing unless explicitly asked, but I do ramble on and on about psychology, no matter where I am or what time it is. So the feedback I get from my family tends to be stuff like “shut up,” or “stop hiccupping, it’s irritating me,” and I try not to let that kind of thing shape or guide my writing.
WWD: What are you up to now?
LZ: I’m up to a lot of stuff. I’m working on a new novel, and my first novel is hopefully gonna get picked up by a good publisher soon. I’m excited to see what the reaction to this collection is. It comes out September 1st. I can’t wait. I’ll be in Chicago on August 28th for the Sunday Salon Reading Series at Uncommon Ground. The address is 1401 W. Devon Ave. Chicago, IL 60660. The show is from 8 to 10 pm. Everyone should come and listen to me read something funny, and also listen to the other amazingly talented readers read their pieces. You should come! You!
By the way, up there in the answer to your first question, I spelled foie gras “fois gras.” Spelling is way harder than I remember it being when I was younger. Anyway, come to the reading on August 28th, everyone!
And here at WWD we joke around a lot, we deal in many half truths. One thing that is not a joke or a half truth is that Lenore Zion is a very good writer, a very funny person and has endless room to grow. Keep an eye on this one ladies and gentlemen.