Friday, March 27, 2020

Proust Questionnaire: Ted Prokash

Ted Prokash is the author of four novels, curator of Joyless House Publishing and founding member of Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones.

My first encounter with Ted's work was Napawaupee County Blues, a prison novel unlike any other. As a matter of fact, if you wanna know what a gut-punch with words feels like I dare you to read the chapter titled, "Insane Blaine and the Brand New Shoes".  Prokash writes like a boxer with a focused, incessant jab that drops you to the canvas before you realize it happened.

His upcoming novel, Nikolai Andreyevich, is set to be published by Expat Press and has been described as a "subversive take on the provincial Russian novel." That's yet another book I'm looking forward to.


1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to do the work that you love.

2. What is your greatest fear?

That I'll go in for Jesus on my deathbed. Like a coward.

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

Aversion to conflict.

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


5. Which living person do you most admire?

My 11-year-old son.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

My website.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Teeming. Productive. Fast and confident. Like a greedy machine. This will change drastically when I have to go back to work.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


9. On what occasion do you lie?

Weekends, all religious holidays, when talking to a cop.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My smile.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

Dan Brown.

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

Sense of humor.

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

Sense of humor.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I probably start too many sentences with "Suddenly".

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

My wife.

16. When and where were you happiest?

Probably in the womb.

17.Which talent would you most like to have?

Perfect pitch.

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

I wish I had decided early on to pursue art exclusively, before my family caught on that they could milk above-poverty-level support out of me.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Probably fashioning myself into a good songwriter, since I have no natural musical talent.

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

Easy; dildo to the stars.

21. Where would you most like to live?

NYC is hard to beat.

22. What is your most treasured possession?

My 3/4-size pool table. Either that or my 2004 Subaru Outback.

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

Getting so drunk at your company awards banquet that you puke in your mother-in-law's car and miss your daughter's 7th grade basketball game

24. What is your favorite occupation?

"pit boy" (fry cook) at Jumbo's Drive In

25. What is your most marked characteristic?


26. What do you most value in your friends?

humor, intellectual adventurism

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Dostoyevski, Henry Miller, Robert Caro, Gore Vidal. (I'll talk nice about my friends who are writers when they're dead, thank you very much.)

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Betty & Veronica

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

U. S. Grant

30. Who are your heroes in real life?

My wife and kids. Casey. Also Manny for what he's doing with Expat.

31. What are your favorite names?

Bruce, Lance & Julian

32. What is it that you most dislike?

having to work for a living

33. What is your greatest regret?

one colossal breach of trust back in 1996

34. How would you like to die?

In my sleep at a very old age. Either that or hilariously.

35. What is your motto?


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