Tell us a memorable story of yourself when you were a kid. It can be funny, surprising, warm and fuzzy, whatever. Just make it a good one.
When I was a kid, I cared about two things: reading all the books, and orchestrating elaborate playground adventures for my buds. My parents, desperate to get me into the sun, didn’t care so much about the second point. But when they saw my grades slipping because of all the reading, well. They made me pack up every single book I owned and hand ’em over, saying they’d return the books when I brought my grades up. Oooh boy, was I pissed about it. LOOK AT ME, I STILL AM. I had a few dog-eared copies of favorite reads at school, but nothing had ever gotten my attention so fast. Those grades came right the hell up. The moral of the story is that apparently you can read too much?
You were a political science major in undergrad. How did you come to realize you didn’t want to stay in politics?
Actually working in politics made me “nope” out of that career. It’s one thing to be a bright-eyed idealist in theory. But throw that kid into an arena where everybody’s professionally jaded, where everybody thinks constituents couldn’t find their own shoelaces without a map—dang, what a bummer. Real change felt impossible from inside politics, and the people in it didn’t want change. Plus I come from a creative background; I knew I wanted to write in some respect. When I realized advertising agencies needed people who could do words, I swan-dived into agency life. Yeah, creative people are cynics, too, but they create anyway. I love the bejesus out of that.
Brownies, cookies, cake. Rank them and explain your reasoning.
Last, last, and last. The correct answer is pie. Pie is best. Pie forever. Just check out what these pie aficionados have to say about pie:
Pie can be anything. Pie can be pizza. Pecan, apple, chocolate. Jellified jewel-bright cherries. The warm, spiced custard of pumpkin in the fall. It’s a dessert for everybody. Pie, okay. Getcha some
What was your favorite course in college that was unrelated to your major? What did you learn that changed the way you think about the world?
Art history, hands down. I’m still pulling info from that class years later, and it makes art museums all kinds of fun. The Italian Renaissance was my fave; it’s like a reality show where Jeff Probst is the pope. Everybody’s got drama, everybody’s screwing everybody else, everybody’s backstabbing each other for the chance to splash paint on somebody else’s dome. It’s hilarious, but there are also some really beautiful human stories in there. Love those guys. And gals. Sofonisba, I’m looking at you.
What is something you get unreasonably excited about?
This is so ridiculous, but: fan theories, trope use, and the pop-cultural hermeneutics of modern media. I looove when people can take the surface layer of story from a TV show or film and apply literary or narrative analysis to create entirely new meaning and theories and ‘ships. It gives something I already enjoy a totally new depth and color. What I mean is: give me a graduate-level dissertation about how Tony Stark’s PTSD affects his leadership. Speak to me about how Hermione Granger is actually a POC. Show me how Poe Dameron’s body language means he’s crushin’ on Finn. I love this stuff. It’s utterly useless, but it’s so much fun. Can you tell my childhood lit nerdery never left?
Tell us about the dock party and who gave you the pep talk about your future during it.
Wow, yep, in the summer of 2008 I had an internship with … ahhh, y’know, let’s say a politician who was a Pretty Big Deal on Capitol Hill at the time. Near the end of my internship, he had a huge Summer Fun!!! party at a dock on the Potomac River. All the interns were invited, and during this bonkers experience, this politician and I ended up chatting over a couple of Coronas. He asked me what I wanted to do with my future. At this point, I was just considering ditching politics, so I told him honestly: “Man, I have no idea. Something with words?” And he proceeded to give me this cool-as-hell pep talk about how I’ll figure it out, how I gotta follow my dreams and work hard and never give up. It may have been as canned as Biden’s “no boyfriends ‘til you’re older” speech (which I’ve totally heard in person, because he used it on me), but at the time, it was really special.
Tell us the story of your (wedding) proposal.
My dude Ben and I have been together for over nine years, so no one was more surprised than us when earlier this year, we decided together that yeah, it was totally time to talk about rings. And then, during our brief New York City vaycay in May, he totally did the thing.
Here’s how it went down. Late Friday night, after the longest day of our lives, we were back in our AirBnb with the gorgeous balcony view of the city. (This one! Stay in it, it’s awesome!) We’d just spent the day with some really lovely friends. We’d also just eaten pizza slices the size of our carry-ons. We were talking all emotionally about how we wanted to go on more adventures together—and then he pulled a box from his pocket and asked if I wanted to go with him on the Biggest Adventure of All. Of course, I tunnel-visioned into a complete halt in space and time. But I did manage to get a “yes” in there. It was quiet, meaningful, and totally us. As was the post-proposal dancing to Enrique Iglesias. Shh, it was great.
What is synesthesia and how did it affect the date of your wedding?
Oh man. So I have grapheme-color synesthesia, which means that, in grossly simple terms, words and numbers feel like particular colors to me. No, seriously, this is totally a thing. I don’t see words as colors. I feel them as colors. Before I learned what it is, friends had to endure a lot of questions from me like, “Doesn’t your name just feel green?” So when Ben and I got engaged, a 2017 wedding made practical sense, but ugh, 2017 is so yellow. The 2 and 7 are yellow, the 0 is colorless/every color, the 1 is white; altogether it’s blegh. But 2018? The 8 is a gloriously saturated purple, so 2018 is our year. That is, it’s our year unless I can make some sort of leafy color scheme for next fall. October 21, 2017 feels like a fricking floating autumn leaf to me. Decisions, decisions!