Sunday, March 22, 2020

Proust Questionnaire: Manuel Marrero

Manuel Marrero is the glue. A writer and publisher, he's the Black Hole Sun that your current favorite writer on Twitter is collapsing into. He's the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Expat Press, a groundbreaking publisher that follows the great literary tradition of outfits like John Martin's Black Sparrow Press who published Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kahane's legendary Obelisk Press who put out Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Manuel Marrero is the real deal, running a tight ship that's defined by his eclectic tastes. The next Last Exit to Brooklyn will be published by Marrero's Expat Press and what Allen Ginsberg said about that book applies to Expat, for this press will "...explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America...." I guarantee it.  
Marrero is a triple threat for his fiction is unlike anything you will read--a beautifully strange amalgamation of Philip K. Dick, Thomas Pynchon, and James Joyce--his latest tome, NOT YET, has been called, " updated Book of Revelation that reveals more than you may want to see." He's gladly accepted the Joycean challenge and ran with it, which means he's opening every door in the subconscious mind to continue the Sisyphean task of revealing the world to itself. How else do you get to the truth? 

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Not being miserable.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Regretting how I’ve chosen to waste my time. 

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


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


5. Which living person do you most admire?

I admire my grandfather for his continued will to live over 85 years.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Getting two pizzas instead of one, and saving one for later.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Sleep-deprived and wired. Thinking about my last seven days of self-quarantine and seeing my family again.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Perfectionism. It’s the enemy of velocity.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

When I don’t want to know something, I feign ignorance.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My skin.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

The man.

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


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


14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“straight up.”

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

My grandma.

16. When and where were you happiest?

The first month of my longest relationship. I was living in New York.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?


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

My skin.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

Starting Expat Press. 

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

A legend.

21. Where would you most like to live?

Ridgewood, Queens, the best neighborhood in America.

22. What is your most treasured possession?

My time.

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


24. What is your favorite occupation?

Chair of the Federal Reserve.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

I’ve heard I’m stubborn.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

Seeing me clearly and lovingly.

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Thomas Pynchon, James Joyce.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Rocky Balboa.

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Bob Dylan or Malcolm X, depending on how self-regarding I want to be.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?

John Cassavetes. I appreciate how he took his mission in art with the biggest sense of levity and gravity, depending on what was called for. Miles Davis, the most eloquent sass who ever lived. He found his tongue whenever he pleased and suffered none lightly.

31. What are your favorite names?

Inez, Aurelio.

32. What is it that you most dislike?

Intellectual dishonesty or tone deafness, cluelessness, the collective galaxy brain, especially when it isn’t even funny.

33. What is your greatest regret?

Being too fucked up to appreciate or even notice significant things until later.

34. How would you like to die?

Suddenly and without incident or time to become cognizant of my encroaching death.

35. What is your motto?

Here today, not long for tomorrow.

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