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Q and A

Sep 27, 2011; jimmy Asks:

My friend asks his gf "would you ever marry me?" and she replied "what you mean, like right now?" How should he take it?

Stacey answers:

He should take it as a lesson: ask a waffling question, get a confusing answer. Tell him he needs to ask her in a straightforward manner: duh. "Would you ever marry me" is a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose question. If she says yes and he doesn't ask her, she's humiliated, and she can't really say no: that "ever" precludes it since no one can predict her feelings until the end of time. When people get married, they throw themselves together in a complicated partnership involving family and money and children and plans: she needs a strong person. He does too but I think he already has one in her--that's why he asked in such an abject way. He's not sure he deserves her. I get it, no one likes to be that vulnerable; no one wants his heart broken into little pieces and stomped on. But real love requires real risk: he has to put himself on the line for her. That's how he's going to show that he deserves her, and that's how she's going to know she wants to say yes.

Sep 24, 2011; The sun is a lie. Asks:

Is onomatopoeia metaphorical?

Stacey answers:

Yes. What could be less literal than a word? There's no one thing for any word with the exception of proper nouns, which is exactly what the sun is, or has become now that we know that the stars are also suns. One could argue that since there's only one sun we call the sun, when you write, "The sun is a lie," everybody knows exactly what you're talking about. But everybody doesn't know exactly what you mean.

Sep 23, 2011; JP Asks:

Are the cavemen literally cavemen in the story? Or, are they meant to symbolize the negative version of a man?

Stacey answers:

I sort of want to kill you for asking this question, but if you were here in the room with me and I said, "I want to kill you for asking that question," would you run for your life? No you wouldn't, because basically you understand that all of language--everything we say and think and represent and dream and mean--is largely figurative. We are creatures of metaphor and culture and the meaning that slithers around, JP, and all art must joust with this slime of meaning. The story is metaphorical, every single story you've ever read or heard is metaphorical, and I would even go so far as to say that all of language is metaphorical, yup, every single word (though I would be willing to debate the inclusion of proper names). There isn't one thing that anything is all the time, there isn't one answer, and it's only when we get stuck inside our days and our heads that we can even manage the illusion that there's something as safe, stable, and predictable as something that means one thing. Light is both particle and wave motherfuckah. And then you die.

Sep 20, 2011; Pickles Asks:

Hey Stacey, since we have established that the internet is still potentially fun, would you care to share any cool oddball web sites that you favor? F'r'instance, have you checked out Scouting New York, whereat some young film location scout shares photos from his rambles in the metropolis?

Stacey answers:

Pickles, wow, Scouting New York is a great site. I'm in love with the elevator in Queens and plan to marry it. Lately I'm fascinated with the site There are no pictures, no ads, just a bare-bones discussion board on the topic of how to obtain, process, and ingest drugs (mostly the latter). The entries are written in a fascinating third person style of slang and abbreviations, like: "SWIM was wondering if it was possible for his bunny rabbit to plug kratom extract, rather than parachuting it?"

I'm not sure what they're talking about but the answer is no.

Sep 15, 2011; Bob Asks:

Hey Stacey, I just read your story "My Date With Satan" for my creative writing class. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and commenced reading all your stories that are online.I'm broke as a joke, but am committed to purchasing one of your books immediately. Any advice as to which one should be my first priority? Or maybe I should just hold out for that pirate novel I've seen mentioned. What do you think? Thanks for the righteous stories.

Stacey answers:

Sorry Bob, I forgot about you. I am bad, bad, bad. Read Twin Study first. The pirate novel may be awhile.

Sep 07, 2011; Sophie Asks:

Hey Stacey! Love your work! I'm doing an oral interpretation of your story "Rats Eat Cats" for Speech competition. I like to think of it as, instead of a slow descent into madness, a slow descent into sanity or at least a version of it for someone. Also about how inaction is actually an action. Would you agree? Do you have any suggestions or insight as to how to perform these characters how you intended them? Thanks! ^_^

Stacey answers:

Aw, you made a kitty face from punctuation marks! Actually Sophie, I kind of forget how that story goes but your interpretation is probably better than mine anyway. I like a slow descent into madness and I also like a slow descent into sanity. Is oral interpretation where you fake-read the dialogue of a story as though it's a play, angling your body to different corners of the room for each character? I bet it is...which means you're in high school! Awesome! I did speech in high school too, not because I like making speeches but because I hated my life/Phoenix/parents so much that I decided I had to do the most difficult, terrifying extracurricular activity to ensure I'd get into a college that was far, far away. Now I'm back in Arizona, calling my parents every other day to tell them I love them. Don't worry--I still hate them too. And this stinking, cowboy wasteland. But I also love it.

For the characters, one thing I recall is that the cat girl is also an art chick--one of those blue-haired horn-rimmed girls who wears perfume that smells like gasoline does things like making giant paper mache ovaries and taking a vow of silence for every Saturday in March. She has strong feelings but also looks at everything with an aesthetic eye, which means she's also ironic. Her weirdness is somewhat calculated. The rat boy, on the other hand, is truly, honestly weird, which is one of the things that makes him fascinating to her.

Sep 03, 2011; Lunch Time Asks:

Hi Stacey, I'm passing through Tucson and I'm starving. Wanna have lunch?

Stacey answers:

Uh, was that yesterday? The answer is yes. If I could go back in time, I would have lunch with you yesterday.

Sep 01, 2011; Fantasy Mole Asks:

As soon as I posted, I realized my university in Montana in the 90s was already an anachronism, and I was presumptuous to assume the modern academy would retain such contrivances. Another format bites the dust. The format of your Q&A here presents a type of authority that led me to imagine you as teacher, holding forth. You were profiled by two and a half pages of questions and answers. Any elaborate presentations of fantasies projected by you would certainly count. I imagine the scroll of your fiction at reading pace writ large in Times Square would gain more attention than any ad for . There's a grant for that somewhere. //took break and read The Chair of Rejection// Well okay, maybe no grant, but I will purchase your Twin Study from the Amazons, consider your website a marketing success. As a followup, if you had a Jenny Holzer projection with Twitter-length restriction, what would your message be and where would you want it?

Stacey answers:

Thank you for thinking of me as holding forth. I try to think of myself that way too. Your question is really hard. But I guess if I could really say anything and put it anywhere, I'd beam the words: "That lady is your mommy and you love her. Jump into her lap and purr madly. #felinemindfuck" into the brain of my cat.

Aug 29, 2011; Matt Asks:

Hi, Stacey. Thinking of you today-- I just bought pressurized air to clean my computer and my car and maybe the dogs and thought of that girl from Intervention. What was her name? And watched Sir Patrick on Hoarders. Have you seen that one? I think his place looked better BEFORE. Thanks.

Stacey answers:

Alison! Yes, yes, I love her so much. She's all better now. Which is, uh...good, right? I would never say it wasn't good. She seems nice as a sober person but when she was high, she was spectacular. I haven't watched Sir Patrick yet but I've been hoarding Hoarders on TiVo and can't wait. My favorite hoarder so far is Glen, the real-man rat-man. Have you met Glen? He let his house fill up with rats, entirely full, because he loves them with all his heart. He tries to hold in the pain of losing his favorite little buddy but fails--he can't, he can't, the feelings are too strong! That episode also has great moments from my other favorite: the mean, insane Dr. Robin Zasio. That chick is fucking awesome. I'm going to guess that she's the only OCD therapist alive with a personal style inspired by Cher. Not only does she do her own makeup (orange base with a special high-clump mascara on her lower lashes) and wear bell bottom capris, she also says things like: "How did it feel when you found your wife dead in the car?" (Bill sputters: "It hurt like hell."). Once, as a woman told her about her childhood sexual abuse, then crumpled into her arms, Zasio said: "We don't have time to deal with this right now. Let's try to set it aside." Ha ha ha! Yes yes yes! Why not just never talk about it again? Plus she's "obligated" to call CPS on everyone.

I'd be interested to learn the technique of using compressed air to clean a dog.

Aug 27, 2011; Fantasy Mole Asks:

Do you have a preferred blackboard surface? Could you compare the vertical writing surfaces of three institutions? Have you ever had a truly superior blackboard experience, one you might describe as dreamy? What's your earliest memory of writing large enough to be seen publicly? What's your handwriting like?

Stacey answers:

I don't know. I'm not sure I've ever even written on a blackboard once. But I fantasize about elaborate presentations I'd like to do someday with an overhead projector. Does that count?

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