Monday, March 16, 2020

Proust Questionnaire: James Nulick

James Nulick lives in Seattle, Washington. His newly-completed novel is called The Moon Down to Earth, hopefully appearing sometime during your lifetime. 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Dying with my loved one at my side. Dying before him, finally giving him a break

2. What is your greatest fear?

Dying alone

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being petty, selfish, and judgmental

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Being petty, selfish, and judgmental

5. Which living person do you most admire?

My father.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Remy Martin XO

7. What is your current state of mind?

Obliterated, loving, ready to hold hands. Do you want to hold hands, Fawzy? Just for a minute or two? Even though it’s currently forbidden?

8. (Why not, we can use gloves.) What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Being on time.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

I only lie about my weight. But don’t tell anybody.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My pointed nose. I paid $5,000 for it and I still don’t like it.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

I don’t despise anyone, it takes too much energy. I’m more of a lover.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?

An interesting past. Nice hair.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

An interesting future. Nice hair.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Beautiful, brother, I love you, Ok ok.

15. Who is the greatest love of your life?

His name is Angelo. We live together, and have for the past twelve years. I am his rescue animal. I’m pretty sure I’d be dead if we’d never met, either to alcoholism or suicide.

16. When and where were you happiest?

I was a happy child, I was popular, I was the class clown, I had lots of friends. That was a good time, say around fourth or fifth grade, before I had any responsibilities, before my first orgasm. Though I’m pretty happy right now.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to learn how to get eight hours sleep. I’m lucky if I get five or six. I’m also envious of natural musicians. I’d love to be able to play keyboards, or the organ. My inner spirit animal is a Hammond B3 player filtered through Leslie speakers.  

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I were a bit taller. Five foot ten would be nice.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Publishing Valencia, and finishing my new novel The Moon Down to Earth. TMDTE was very difficult to write because it has an actual plot. There are four main characters, each one very distinct from the other. I inhabited the inside of their heads for three years. Again, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also lots of fun because I really enjoyed the characters. I’m pretty sure The Moon Down to Earth is my masterpiece. I doubt I’ll be able to top it.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I wouldn’t mind being a squirrel. Insane, fat, lazy nut chasers!

21. Where would you most like to live?

Madrid, Tokyo, Tucson. Probably Tucson. I’m from the desert and I would like to return to it. I have lived in Seattle since 2014, but it’s not my thing. It’s way too cold here. Too cold and too dark!

22. What is your most treasured possession?

My green plastic comb. I’ve had it since sixth grade (1982). Made in Hong Kong! It’s a direct and immediate link to my dead childhood.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Living alone when I was 37, after having broken up with my ex-boyfriend, whom I loved insanely but alas, we were a bad match. You’ve gotta know when to cut your losses. So we broke up, violently. Afterward I was very depressed, suicidal. Work seemed especially stupid, going to work every day with a broken heart, moping around like an idiot. That was my most miserable period.

24. What is your favorite occupation?

Writing. But I don’t think of it as work. I could lie and say ‘oh my god I’m so miserable when I’m writing’ but that’s bullshit, I think writing is fun! Writing allows me to escape my life and enter someone else’s.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

I’m a klutz. My other half says I’m accident prone. He’s right, of course.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

A sense of humor, loyalty, nice eyes, nice hair.

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Dead – Franz Kafka, Elizabeth Hardwick.

Living – Beverly Cleary, William T. Vollmann, Roger Lewinter.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Jace Jason from The Moon Down to Earth is my hero. That I created him doesn’t matter. He’s a cool kid, level-headed, very well put-together, a talented musician. He’s at ease with himself, beautiful and yet a little unaware of his beauty, a total babe, a ladies’ man. He’s a nerd and he knows it, he’s comfortable with it. We’re total opposites, of course.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don’t. I live in the eternal now, Fawzy!

30. I agree! Who are your heroes in real life?

My father.

31. What are your favorite names?

I’m pretty partial to James.

32. What is it that you most dislike?

Alarm clocks, semicolons.

33. What is your greatest regret?

When I was a fifth grade teacher, many years ago, in the late Nineties, I once told a kid he was stupid. The crushed look in his eyes, Jesus. I really regret that. I wish I could take it back. Hopefully he’s forgotten about it. I haven’t.

34. How would you like to die?

Non-violently. If I die violently, say in a car accident, how will I really know I’m dead? Will I be wandering around the crash site for all eternity, not knowing I’m dead? That’s my version of Hell. 

35. What is your motto?

I don’t really have one. I probably say ‘I love you’ more often than I should. Some people love it, others are put off by it. Oh well, I’m still going to say it. I’m still going to tell my friends I love them! I’m way too old to be retrained.

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