The Questionnaire: Barry Katz







The Questionnaire interviews

The Questionnaire: Barry Katz

March 26th, 2012 reset - +

How do you get up in the morning?

Generally I do not. I wait until mid-afternoon, by which time most of my scheduled meetings are over.

 

Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?

Both, and I suffer from acute literary perfectionism. I will often stay up all night nursing a sick paragraph back to health.

 

How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

Gottseidank! I do not have one.

 

Best piece of advice you ever received?

From a fortune cookie, c. 1986:  "Accept the next proposition you receive."

 

Have you ever been defeated by a genre?

Haiku.  Seriously.

 

Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon?

Aristotle. An intellectual bureaucrat, and boring to read.

 

Are you okay with blood?

"Write with blood." -- Nietzsche

 

Who is your imagined audience? Does it at all coincide with the real one?

My imagined reader will spot every single one of the literary allusions that are buried like Easter eggs in my work, and be impressed by the astonishiing breadth of my learning. He or she will be delighted by my wit and moved by my insights into the human condition. My reader will acknowledge that s/he has lived a life of error and confusion which only the logic of my exposition has rectified. If you fit this description, please contact me asap.

 

What country would you want to be exiled in?

The Flying Island of Laputa.

 

Is your study neat, or, like John Muir's, is your desk and floor covered in "lateral, medial, and terminal moraines"?

It strives toward meticulous orderliness, and fails utterly.

 

What are you so afraid of?

Nothing.  I have anxieties, but no fears.

 

Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?

Perceived to be brilliant and kind, wishing to be sexy and dangerous. Sigh.

 

What character or story haunts you?

Frédéric, at the end of Sentimental Education:

 

Does plot matter?

Plot is everything.

 

Does age matter? 

Only in fish and software (I live near the ocean, in Silicon Valley).

 

Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what?

One of my cheeky young interaction design students asked me recently, "Whose dumb-ass idea was the desktop metaphor?" I still work at a Heywood & Wakefield desk that is, coincidentally, about as old as I am, but most of my students have never seen a desk and would not know what to do with one. 

 

 

 

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