- What was the happiest moment in your life?
Every time I wake up in a desert.
2. What’s your biggest fear?
3. What’s your oldest memory?
Me stealing my dad’s razor and cutting my fingers by mistake when I was four, I remember the rivelets of blood in the bathtub. My parents took me to McDonald’s and snapped pictures of me while crying and eating a burger with band-aids on each finger.
4. What (living) person do you admire most, and why?
Don DeLillo. For being so committed to his craft and not wasting energies around. That kind of intense meditation for such a long stretch of time is almost a miracle for me.
5. What trait of yours do you dislike most?
Asking too much, always.
6. What trait do others generally dislike most?
My being relentless until I just disappear.
7. Where would you like to live?
I always live in NY, even when I’m not there and especially when I’m not there!
8. What historical period would you have liked to live in?
The days straight before the revolution, either in Istanbul or in Havana.
9. What depresses you?
I’m strangely depressed eveytime I am not allowed to be bored or explore my own boredorm.
10. Make a short list of your favourite books or authors.
Underworld, Demons, A Book of Common Prayer, The Beautiful Summer, Tender is the Night.
11. Make a short list of your least favourite books or authors.
Saul Bellow, I just don’t get him. Martin Amis. I have a troublesome love/hate relationship with Pierpaolo Pasolini.
12. How do you organize your library?
Geographies: countries and languages.
13. If you could be a fictional character, who would it be?
Nastasya Fillippovna in The Idiot.
14. Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
I used to have a beautiful pair of brown lether boots, early 20th century style. I wore them until they had holes, and abandoned them in a city I left.
15. What’s your favourite smell?
Fresh oil paint.
16. What about your favourite food?
17. Favourite drink?
I have a soft spot for a Paloma, I always feel I already retired somewhere.
18. How would you define yourself politically?
No bullshit – left.
19. What do you like least about your appearance?
My nose is turning into the Wicked Witch of the East.
20. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I no longer define any form of pleasure guilty, but this is recent.
21. What do you owe to your parents?
Their lack of acceptance of the simple facts of life.
22. Who would you invite to your dream party?
Vivian Gornick and Bernie Sanders to hear them fight.
23. What words or stock phrases do you use the most?
I use the Italian word “sciupare” a lot, it means “to spoil”. To lightly waste something, but not in a mean way.
24. Tell us about the most embarrassing moment in your life.
When the priest in my town told everyone you could see my underwear under my long white tight skirt, I was going to a wedding and he screamed at me in front of everyone. I was 12. I skipped church a lot after that.
25. If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?
Being so ashamed about my life and lying about it for a long time, in my teenage years. Too much effort.
26. When was the last time you cried, and why?
While watching Songs my brother taught me a couple of weeks ago on Mubi.
27. What do you do to relax?
I like almost fainting after a long hot and endless shower before I sleep, I just doze off and feel like I’m losing my senses. Cheap drugs 😉
28. Have you ever nearly died?
Yes, I had a sudden allergic attack due to shrimps while alone in a flat in Brooklyn and started praying because I could see myself swallowing and felt I was choking. A friend saved me, but I really thought I was done. And I felt sorry because it was a stupid and ridiculous way to die. I looked like the Elephant Man for a couple of hours.
29. Would you kill?
No, but I can hit hard and unfortunately I don’t think I’m past physical violence.
30. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Casting off the darkest myths around what it means to be alive. Shedding some of that skin.
31. What keeps you from sleeping?
Writing different endings to every day events or imagining different endings for simple interactions, in loop.
32. What song(s) would you like to be played at your funeral?
A classic, These Days. But I also think Hungry Ghost would do, it’s dancier!
33. Where do you wish you were right now?
Los Angeles eating a fish taco.
34. What’s your most prized possession?
A one plastic white euro with ring from a flea market I stupidly took off one day because someone told me I risked having my finger cut as it was too tight.
35. How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like people to say that I listened a lot and that I was present to myself and to their lives. “She was there”. It’s a nice thing to say about someone dead.
36. What did you do today?
Took my mother shopping hoping and listened to her complaints about how “safe and nice” I play my life out.