Thursday, March 26, 2020

Proust Questionnaire: Kai Edward Warmoth

The first short story I read by Kai Eward Warmoth was What Once Was & Will Never Happen Again at Expat Press. Sometimes you check out a short story on twitter and you read the first lines and before you know it you finish the story in one sitting. That was my first encounter with Warmoth who hails from Central Indiana. His poetry and short fiction has been published all over the place from Terror House Magazine to Surfaces to Misery Tourism. Warmoth likes to explore the contrast between religion/God and mid-western malaise in very interesting ways.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in control of my time and not being compelled to do anything I don’t 100% want to do.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Corpses. A dead body causes my brain to go on extreme lockdown. I have no idea why but I suspect my grandfather having me watch Romero’s Dawn of the Dead on a bootlegged video tape at age 7 probably has something to do with it.

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

I’m told I can be a bit of a dick.

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

Inability to hold a good conversation for an extended amount of time, inability to unemotionally entertain an idea.

5. Which living person do you most admire?

There are so many real people in my life that deserve this answer but I’m going to be an asshole and say Cody Wilson.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Books, mostly, but I’m known to spend money I don’t have on dress clothes and the accessories that follow them.

7. What is your current state of mind?


8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I think we’re a society slipping further and further form any sort of virtue, at least any civic ones. But I suppose whatever severely deformed “virtue” is making everyone act like snitches and cops, especially in the art world. I have nothing but contempt for censors, no matter how “pure” their intentions.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

When necessary.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Nothing. I’m hot.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

Neera Tanden sucks. I don’t really despise many people. I just silently mark who I would and wouldn’t save in a flood or something.

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

Thick skin.

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

I struggle to put this in words but there is a warmth exuded from certain women that has a primal appeal I can only assume is rooted somewhere in our past of being in a uterus. I don’t know. Also, thicker skin.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

So, I mean, I guess, like, Kiki quit scratching the fucking couch, literally, etc.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

The person I share my bed and home with. The future mother of my children.

16. When and where were you happiest?

Right now.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to sing well.

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

I don’t waste my time getting caught in that because it’s leads nowhere fun. But I suppose for the spirit of the question, I’d add an inch or two to my height.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I have a fairly large discography under my belt from my music days. I still think some of those songs are legitimately great and I’m proud of the work we did. I also have a long poem about the thieves crucified with Christ that I feel is my greatest written work but also am aware that it’s religious nature and archaic form will make it practically un-publishable.

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

A house cat for a petit-bourgeois white couple that doesn’t want children.

21. Where would you most like to live?

The Midwest will likely get shitty the least quickly, so here.

22. What is your most treasured possession?

My books, my AK, the shoebox full of letters and photos from my life.

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

Distance from god.

24. What is your favorite occupation?

The virus-from-somewhere has made it so I get to stay home until May with full pay. So this occupation.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

Playful combativeness, a large nose, unearned pretentiousness.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

The ability to be comfortably bored together.

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Vladimir Nabokov, Yukio Mishima, Michel Houellebecq, Leo Tolstoy, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Graham Greene, Nic Pizzolatto, Knut Hamsun, Curzio Malaparte, Roberto BolaƱo, D.H. Lawrence, V.S. Naipaul, Zakhar Prilepin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alexander Pushkin...

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

The whiskey-priest from Greene’s “The Power & the Glory.”

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

T.S. Eliot, or maybe the prophet Amos.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?

Individuals who uttered the universal “No.” in the face of history. Malcolm X, Imam Husayn, Christ, Bar Kokhba, Rimbaud,...

31. What are your favorite names?

Ezra, Antigone

32. What is it that you most dislike?

Unnecessary cruelty. The ugliness of self-imposed suffering.

33.What is your greatest regret?

I try not to have any of those.

34. How would you like to die?


35. What is your motto?

All politics outside of loyalty are frivolous.

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