The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
1. Your life is going to change in one way and one way only. You are going to become a mythological beast with no hope of turning back into a human? What species would you choose? Why?
I’d be a sphinx. The Greek version, with wings. Flight, wordplay, and the ability to eat people who dislike riddles—oh hell yeah.
I’m struck by how similar your description of life as a sphinx sounds to the life of the post-postmodern writer. Would your name be Kelly Luce, or would you adopt a more sphinx-ian alias?
A sphinx never reveals its true name.
2. Do you think Chewbacca and Pikachu would understand each other without subtitles?
Upon gazing into one another’s eyes for four solid minutes, they would each know the depth of the other’s soul, and there would be need for words.
I’m liking this. So, the Chewbacca-Pikachu linguistic impasse devolves into a mid-80’s music video montage? Which band would provide the background music? Would Chewbacca or Pikachu sing lead? What would this mean for Han and Ash?
I was thinking more along the lines of the Marina Abrimovic MoMA piece, but for the sake of imaginative exercise: Chewie and Pika and Han and Ash would all be at a cool Japanese karaoke bar when “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” comes on (Chewie having queued it up secretly) and Chewie and Pika perform the timeless duet perfectly, neither caring which gender part they’re singing, and at the very end after everyone is spent and Meatloaf is singing “It was long ago and it was far away…” Han’s eyes will widen with sudden knowing, and the universe will have come together in a moment of cosmic grace, which will then be commercialized and sold as the opening to a new Star Wars film.
Do they sing in their respective languages? Or break the fourth wall and in a sort of magically surrealistic moment finally start speaking to each other in English? Or German? Or Japanese?
They would sing in English, along with the karaoke prompter. Then when it was over, they would each get Rosetta Stone subscriptions so they could learn the native language of the other.
3. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen and how would you change it to make it the best movie you’ve ever seen without expressly turning it into the best movie you’ve ever seen (ala, you can’t just say I’d turn Star Wars into Get Out)?
Let’s go with Love Actually, but at the end of each story arc the woman puts on a pussy hat and tells the guy to get lost.
4. Ego valets. Discuss.
What’s an ego valet?
It depends. What do you think it might/should be?
It’s a gold-plated stand where wealthy jerks have to hang their pride so they can fall asleep, and it’s available only at SkyMall.
5. Would you rather have a cat who could talk or a dog who could read and write?
I have two cats, and I’m pretty sure that if they could talk I’d never get any work done at home again. So I’ll go with dog. It would be fun to do a book club with a dog. I imagine they would feel highly underrepresented in modern literature, though not as underrepresented as cats.
Speaking hypothetically, do you think the cats are justified in feeling underrepresented or are they just being cats? When you say underrepresented, I assume you’re referring primarily to the sub-genre of cozy mysteries in which a dog or cat solves the crime(s) and/or narrates? Do you have a favorite? Hearkening back to your mythological species answer, it seems to me the sphinx would actually be a perfect narrator for cozy mysteries. Thoughts?
I had actually never heard of this sub-genre until a few months ago, when I went to a small Northwestern alumni dinner here in Knoxville. It turns out that of the four NU alums in this city (three now, one moved to Brooklyn already), one is also a writer, and she writes cozy mysteries! And the most popular series is about a fat cat!
I enjoyed the cat sub-sub-plot in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. The cat’s name was Pesto (Pest for short.)
6. Are good and evil real?
I don’t know, but the world would sure be boring if they were.
Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, winner of Foreword Review’s Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under, a Book of the Month Club selection and one of Elle’s Best Books of 2016. She grew up in Brookfield, Illinois. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in cognitive science, she moved to Japan, where she lived and worked for three years. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Salon, O, the Oprah Magazine, The Southern Review, and other publications. She is the editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading Commuter and was a 2016-17 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She lives in an old grist mill in Knoxville, Tennessee. www.kellyluce.com @lucekel
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Rain Taxi, The Good Men Project, Entropy, Volume 1 Brooklyn, and others. A Contributing Editor with The Weeklings, Baumeister reviews books for The Nervous Breakdown (where his Review Microbrew column is currently on hiatus). He also curates the Under the Influence feature for Entropy and conducts the Six Ridiculous Questions interview series for Volume 1 Brooklyn. A graduate of Emerson’s MFA program, his debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki, and a hybrid collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Superman, the Seven Gods of Death, and the Need for Clean, Romantic Poetry. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.kurtbaumeister.com.