What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’m pretty basic, so me, my couch and a book I’ve been excited to read and an afternoon I have completely open.
What is your greatest fear? People I love dying. I’m also really not good with snakes.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m really indecisive. It’s not great. Also (and I discuss this more in a few answers) I’m not very disciplined.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? I don’t like people who don’t care about things. You don’t need to care about the stuff I love, but you should care about something.
Which living person do you most admire? Hillary Clinton. She’s been mocked and vilified since I was 12 years old, and she continues to work to make the country a better place. If I had even a tiny amount of that hatred thrown at me, I would’ve gone to live somewhere else a long time ago. But she keeps going and I admire her so much.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books and movies. I don’t really like a lot of expensive things (if I win the lottery, I won’t be buying houses or cars. I would probably get one house and put a movie theater and a library in it. And then I would never leave it).
What is your current state of mind? Things are fine with me personally but I also feel like things are just seriously falling apart since the election. I read an article around the time A Star is Born came out that said that the writer’s inner monologue was just Lady Gaga howling in that part in “Shallow.” And honestly? Yes and same.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? I don’t know that I would call it a virtue per se, but “going along to get along.” We’re in an unusual time and I personally don’t want to be one of those people who only cares about things that directly involve them. In World War II in Germany, there were people who actively helped the Nazis and people who actively resisted.
On what occasion do you lie? I try not to; if I do, it’s to keep other people from being hurt. (“Yes, you look amazing!”)
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I overuse “amazing,” “awesome” and “I mean.” I think I use all three of them at least 50 times a day. I’m a work in progress.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’m not a writer, and I don’t have the discipline for it. But I think discipline in general would serve me well. (I enjoy procrastinating and I also am not particularly good at waiting for things.)
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I don’t know that I’ve had one. Unless you count “not giving up” as an achievement. If you do, then it’s that.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I joke that I was a turtle in a past life (I feel most happy when I am with my stuff, so being able to cart it all with me sounds pretty good for my next one).
What is your most treasured possession? I have a box with cards and letters and things from my dad and my grandmother and my cousin, all of whom are dead now.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Life in 2019. We are in an age where Klansmen are marching without hoods and literal Nazis are marching in the streets. But at the same time, I’m seeing people who weren’t political before speaking up and calling elected officials and making sure none of this goes unchecked. It’s not a fun time to be alive, but I’m proud that we’re not giving up either. But…I still wish I could be in the timeline with President Hillary Clinton. It would be a lot more boring and that sounds so nice.
What do you most value in your friends? I’ve made a deliberate choice to find people who know more about things than I do. Then I shut up and pay attention and learn. My friends make me better and I feel very grateful for it.
Who are your favorite writers? I have about three billion favorites. I’m afraid to list because I would forget people.
Who is your hero of fiction? In novels, obviously V.I. Warshawski. She fights to make the world better, and I love her the most. If we can include movies or TV, probably Leslie Knope. Passionate people are the best.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I don’t think there are any. But I wish I had Anne Frank’s optimism and Martin Luther King’s power with words and Rosa Parks’ bravery. I wish I had Michelle Obama’s poise (or her ability to go high, because I hold grudges).
What is your motto? There’s a story in Bossypants where Tina Fey tells how she and Amy Poehler were talking and Amy said something and Jimmy Fallon said “Oh, I don’t like that” and Amy turns to him and says, “I DON’T FUCKING CARE IF YOU LIKE IT.” I’m a recovering people-pleaser, but I’m getting to the point where I don’t fucking care if you like it. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings but I also have to live with myself every day. And if my political talk bores or annoys you? Well, I don’t fucking care.