The Questionnaire: Greil Marcus

By The QuestionnaireMarch 15, 2013

    How do you get up in the morning? 

    Two legs.

    Do you succumb to nostalgia?

    I hope not.

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

    Not as short as I’d like, then expand.

    How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

    I don’t know.

    Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite?

    I hate going out to lunch.

    Best piece of advice you ever received?

    Don’t send it in yet.  Rarely followed.

    Disciplined or hot dog?

    At least at Top Dog in Berkeley, I don’t consider a hot dog a breach of discipline.

    Have you ever been defeated by a genre?

    I don’t even understand the question.

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

    John Updike, assuming he’s already in it.

    Are you okay with blood?

     I used to give it, until a false positive came up and they wouldn’t let me anymore. Is that what you mean? There were one or two moments in Django Unchained when I closed my eyes.

    Who is your imagined audience?

    Anyone who might accidentally stumble on one of my books on the street, pick it up, and start reading.

    What country would you want to be exiled in?

    What a horrible thought.

    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”?

    Pretty neat.

    What is your go-to shoe? 

    Black loafers.

    What's your poison?

    As in alcohol? Gin.

    What's your problem?

    Fuck you talking about, motherfucker?

    Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to?


    What are you so afraid of?

    None of your business.

    How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?

    If it means writing, a long time. Checking email, not very long.

    Do you require a high thread count?

    No. But I kind of side with Brad Pitt in Fight Club about questions like this.

    Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?


    What character or story haunts you?

     Gatsby; Dick Diver.

    Does plot matter?


    Does age matter?

    For writers? Ball players? Oscar presenters?

    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?

    You know: desk, chair.

    Who is the author you'd most like to impersonate online?

    Outside my ken.

    Is there a literary community?

    In Machiavelli’s sense, where one communes with the ancients.

    What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known?

    I always liked that stupid Esquire question “Why Do You Live Where You Live?” which really meant, “Why don’t you live in New York?” Because I was born in California.

    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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