Do you think interviewing yourself is like talking to yourself? The way your Grandma Stanton mumbled in the kitchen when she made English tea and challah toast?
What did you do today?
I got a mammogram, which is always a traumatic (but not physically painful) experience. Did a lot of waiting before the mammogram with about ten women, most of them older than me, all of us in white robes that said “Memorial Breast Center” in yellow stitching in the corners above our breasts (of course), all of us sitting in a little room with magazines pretending not to see each other. I wasn’t nuts about the silence and had to say hello and ask questions and comment on the place and suggest to the other women that things would be nicer if they stocked the room with good wines and fancy chocolate instead of People magazine and Modern Bride. Modern Bride? The average age in the room was sixty-five, I thought. Eventually the women did start talking to each other and by the time my name was called, one woman was actually crying, talking about her son’s depression, and I thought that crying and having a discussion, no matter how sad, was better than sitting there in stony silence.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a new novel called Hurry. It’s about a group of people who are genetically predisposed to illness and/or early death.
Sounds terribly depressing.
Aren’t you supposed to be asking questions? Please don’t comment on my books in progress. It’s hard enough to sit there day after day writing—I don’t need your negative voice in my head.
Okay, okay. Let’s talk about the Abigail Iris series.
You’re writing childrens’ novels these days with your friend and colleague Suzanne Greenberg. They’re about a girl named Abigail Iris and her adventures in Long Beach. Your mom’s name was Iris, right?
Right. The second book in the series Abigail Iris: The Pet Project is coming out next month with Bloomsbury/Walker. The first one’s out now in paperback.
I read A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That and am surprised that you’re able to talk to ten year old girls. I wouldn’t think you’d ever write childrens’ stuff.
Why do you say that?
Your novel had too much sex in it. And your book of stories was dark and had too much sex too.
What’s too much sex?
It was overt.
Yes, well. You know, I don’t like your attitude.
Sorry. What else are you doing? How’s David?
David’s great. He finished a third manuscript of poems and is sending it out to publishers and is also working on a third YA novel.
How are your cats?
Diego and Sadie are wonderful company.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a book of essays called Complications by this young doctor named Atul Gawande. Grisly and beautiful at once. I’m also reading Amy Hempel’s collected stories. Love her.
How’s Long Beach?
78 degrees today and it’s February. I love the LBC.
What plans do you have for tonight?
Dinner with David, watching the Olympics, prep for school tomorrow, finishing this interview and emailing it off to the lovely Stacy Bierlein.