The Questionnaire: Ayelet Waldman

By The QuestionnaireMarch 26, 2012


How do you get up in the morning?

Usually I am woken up at dawn with a sense of impending doom, a panic that I've forgotten something, alienated someone, lost my way in the night. Then my alarm rings and I start my alternate career as a short-order cook to 4 children who refuse to eat the same breakfast. 

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

My first drafts are basically in Morse Code. I write things like "Description tk."  

How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

I never Google myself. I'm too full of a combination of self-loathing and arrogance. Reading my wiki page would probably make me spontaneously combust.  

Best piece of advice you ever received?

Never turn down a breath mint. Thank you Daniel Handler.  

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

Proust. Not because he's bad. He's astonishing. But I can't read him and thus feel stupid.  

Are you okay with blood?

Only my own.  

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

Myself. And, when I'm feel self-aggrandizing, my husband.  

What country would you want to be exiled in?

Sweden, but only if it's hauled over to the equator. Sweden, but warm. Perfect. 

What's your favorite negative emotion?


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

Depends on where I am in my novel. Mid-novel? Disaster. After I'm done? Neat as a pin.

What is your go-to shoe?

I'm 5' tall. I wear platforms. Always. Even to the gym.  

What's your problem?

I am obviously my worst problem.  

How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?

Apparently five minutes. Or if there's Ambien? A good 7 hours.  

Do you require a high thread count?

Hell yeah.  

Who reads you first?  

My husband.  

Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?

One of the four. Guess which? 

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?

I have to write with blinders on, in a dark room. Wait. That's not me. I have repetitive stress injury. I need a decent keyboard and an ergonomic chair. Sexy, don't you think? 

Is there a literary community?

In San Francisco there's a lovely one. 




LARB Contributor

The Questionnaire is, as her name suggests, a multifarious and mysterious interlocutor. Chameleon-like, her questions change their color as they approach each new interviewee.


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