Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week we’ll ask a different writer five questions on the subject.

Lou Beach is an illustrator, artist, and writer. He recently published 420 Characters, a book of short fiction which also features 10 original collages. He inhabits many states of mind but is most at home in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife, the photographer Issa Sharp. Their days are spent hobnobbing with celebrities and the literary elite, heads of state and captains of industry. Lou is debonair, fluid in twelve languages and an expert marksman. He has a Chihuahua and two human children.

MB: Is there an actual Lou Beach—a beach named Lou somewhere? If there is or might be, can you surf there? Are there any particular clothing requirements?

LB: I know there’s a Lew Beach in New York State . . . in the Southern Tier region, the tip of the Catskills, named after a state legislator of the 1800s. It’s near a place called Beaverkill! I stopped there once and took pictures of the graveyard. You can’t surf in a graveyard. Clothing is always optional around the dead.


To what extent is Lou Beach your “real” name?

My actual name is Andrzej Jerzy Gregor Lubicz-Ledóchowski. It’s on the Polish side of things. Lou Beach is the phonetic of Lubicz. Also phonetically, but with yet another spelling, it means “to like” in Polish, which makes it Facebook appropriate.


Any luck with your suit against Brian Wilson to finally receive royalties for naming his band after you?

Brian and I have settled our differences, here in our forum, The People’s Court. All decisions were final. The case was real. The people were real.



Do you get that last one a lot? If so or not, was your name ever the basis for any childhood (or adulthood) ribbing?

I used to get a lot of “son of a beach” and “life is a beach” and “lou bitch”. Also whether I was related to Ernst Lubitsch, the great director. Yawn on all counts.


Any other Lous out there you identify with in particular? Reed? Gehrig? Ferrigno perhaps? Diamond Phillips? Alcindor?

Lou Costello, perhaps, Little Lulu, Lucifer. Certainly Louis Armstrong. Less so, Louis Farrakhan.

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MATTHEW BATT is the author of Sugarhouse, a memoir about renovating a Salt Lake City crack house and his life along with it. It comes out this June with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Tin House, Mid-American Review, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He's the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he teaches English and creative writing at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. And yes, that's his real name.

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