Simone Alina (c) Vinciane VerguethenSo, just in brief, tell me about your life, how you became a writer, what you think about the fate of the novel and whether you believe in free will.

Uh, talking about myself isn’t really my jam. I’d much rather hear about you and your life.

notetoselfTime theft. This was Anna’s first thought when she found out she was being let go. Everyone was doing it—Brandon was practically webcasting gay porn from his cube—but for some reason management had decided to unleash the mailbox scrubbers and digital hounds on her. Worse, she couldn’t deny it. The Internet had draped itself, kudzu-like, over her brain. There were disturbing signs. Or rather, signs that Leslie later pointed out were disturbing. Like the spam collection. “Spam’s not a collectible,” Leslie had said when Anna laid her confession on the table. “That’s not a thing, Anna.” And Anna had to explain because Leslie didn’t know what it was like out there—her floors were cleaned by tiny robots with cute names. Market brinksmanship had driven spammers to new poetic heights. Someone should be saving it, studying it, sorting it according to some matrix of desperation, even.

Born in the Ukraine but uprooted to the Boston suburbs after the KGB blacklisted her physicist father, Alina Simone is responsible for several great indie rock albums. Her 2008 all-Russian-language tribute to the too-short career of Siberian punk-folk singer Yanka Dyagileva, Everyone is Crying out to Me, Beware, was called “lovely and mournful” by Billboard, “mesmerizing” by Spin. Released simultaneously with her third full-length album (Make Your Own Danger), Simone’s You Must Go and Win is an essay collection that chronicles the author’s struggles with family, with her homeland, and with the elusive dream of success in the music world.