ALEXANDRA NAUGHTON is the author of a novel, American Mary (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and ten poetry collections, including a place a feeling something he said to you (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2020), Rapid Transit (Nomadic Press, 2018), and You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself (Punk Hostage Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Sporklet, Cosmonauts Avenue, Maudlin House, Witch Craft Magazine, Everyday Genius, Expat Lit, and elsewhere. Subscribe to her Substack at talkaboutit.substack.com.
My current favorite book is: Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque by Joyce Carol Oates. I had started reading it late one night in the summer of 2004. I had a UTI and I couldn’t sleep, so I sat in the bathroom and worked my way through this short story collection. (It was a loan from the library. How many people read library books in the bathroom? I wonder if there’s a rule against that, like in that Seinfeld episode where George takes a book into the bookstore bathroom and gets in trouble.) The first story in the collection, about friendship and exploring abandoned houses, has haunted me ever since. For years I wanted to read the story again but couldn’t remember the name of the book or who wrote it. At some point last year I came across the title and was like, this is it. I bought the book and re-read the collection and realized that the first story is wayyyy scarier than I remembered… I’m currently reading Vibratory Milieu by Carrie Hunter, which is so weird and good… A book I’ve also been thinking about recently is The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, because it is so weird and good and I think it’s helping to inform the novel I am writing.
My current favorite film is: The Departed, just based on how many times I can re-watch it and still feel excited by it. I love Leonardo DiCaprio in pretty much anything, but his role as William Corrigan is definitely my favorite of all time. He’s so hot and angsty… Body Double is another movie I can watch again and again. I love it because it’s a lot like Blow Out (another De Palma flick I’ve seen a dozen times)—and Vertigo—but has a happy ending.
My current favorite television show is: The Americans, an FX series about Russian spies in the 1980s. My parents got me into it; they’ve watched the series all the way through at least four times. One of the last times I went home to visit my parents I watched the last season of The Americans with them. We’re a family that like to watch TV together. I started watching it from the beginning a month or two ago, when I was at my boyfriend’s house cooking a pot roast and we needed something to distract us from how good it smelled for a couple of hours until it was finished cooking. He finished it in a couple of weeks on his own, but I’ve been watching it more slowly. I like watching an episode or two before going to bed because it influences my dreams. The other night I dreamed that I was helping Kathy Griffin escape from the CIA who were following her. Kathy was driving a car and crashed into a group of agents who were on foot. I shot at one of them and he was so badly wounded that another agent shot him in the head to put him out of his misery… It’s a good show. I recommend it. Keri Russell is hot… I love TV so much. I used to spend six hours every day watching TV, but I’ve been watching a lot less ever since I quit smoking weed.
My current favorite song is: whatever KALX is playing.
My current state of mind is: hype!
My current chemical romance involves: coffee. I quit drinking in October 2015, and December 2020 I quit smoking tobacco and marijuana. I had an edible the other night and really did not enjoy it. I felt overwhelmed and it negatively impacted my viewing experience of a TV show I was trying to relax to. I felt overly critical of it, and it reminded me of how I would feel at nineteen when I’d smoke weed and get paranoid about the intentions of the people, usually men, I was getting high with. I would always want to leave right away because I felt like they only had me there because they wanted to seduce me. My gut was probably right, but I don’t think I was ever in any danger. Weed on its own makes me overthink everything, whereas smoking spliffs with tobacco and weed together was the perfect balance. I smoked too much, 3-5 spliffs per day, and I didn’t like how dependent I was on them to regulate my mood. I feel a lot better now, much more clearheaded than I’ve been in years.
My current favorite word/phrase is: “chicky nuggy.”
My current mode of transportation is: …I walk if I need to go somewhere, or I take a Lyft if where I’m going is really far. I never properly learned how to drive. People I’ve dated always say they want to teach me how to drive but then they never do. One time I was dating this guy and he let me drive his rental car around a Walmart parking lot and I was doing fine at first but I think I was trying to show off and look cool. I was blasting this dj BC mashup of Philip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach” and Beastie Boys’ “Pass the Mic,” called “Einstein on the Beast.” I was using both of my feet for the pedals and I forgot which foot I was using for the brake and ended up accelerating into a row of shopping carts. I don’t automatically know left from right, I have to actively think about it. He didn’t let me drive again after that… I might learn how to drive at some point, but as long as I live in the Bay Area it doesn’t seem totally necessary.
My current favorite fast food establishment is: Popeyes. I get the spicy chicken sandwich. It is so good and satisfying and cheap. I get the “meal,” with a medium sized unsweet tea and either fries or mashed potatoes. It’s a lot of salt, though. They warn you when you order it online that it’s like more than the daily recommended value of sodium, so I try not to have it more than once a week.
My current workout routine consists of: …I, like, barely leave the house. I try to take walks every other day, at least, but sometimes I can go days without doing more than walking from my bed to the bathroom. This morning I did some crunches and squats and jumping jacks while listening to Word of Mouf by Ludacris.
My current regrettable decision involves: not being kinder to myself. I’ve made plenty of regrettable decisions but I can’t change the past, I can only change how I feel about it and try to do better. I can be better. I get better every day. I forgive myself for the dumb shit I’ve done, and I forgive the people who have been shitty to me. I am more than any bad decision I’ve made. Getting over my guilt has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but it is something that I try to reinforce.
My current hopes and dreams are: to put together another poetry collection this year, and finish my novel.
My current projects/hobbies include: being super focused on trying to finish my novel. I’m hoping to get it done within the next couple of months. When I’m not working or decompressing from work, I am thinking about my novel or I’m actively writing the novel. I guess I think about it even when I am working. I’m taking a week off from work soon so that I can just spend time with the novel and give it the attention it deserves. I feel excited about that. My idea of a vacation is being alone with Paulie (my cat) and my word document.
Alexandra Naughton is online at alexandranaughton.com.
Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.