Interview Questions with Scott Douglas
Scott Douglas is a librarian at the Anaheim Public Library, a job he has been chronicling for the McSweeney's Web site since 2003. His book, Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian was released from Da Capo Press in March 2008. Scott can be found on the web at http://www.scottdouglas.org.
LB: Describe yourself in three words that begin with the letter 'L'.
SD: loner, librarian, listener
LB: What excites you most about the act/art of writing?
SD: It feeds a hunger insight.
LB: What are six non-writing-related random things about you?
SD: I can make balloon animals, I can pop my hip in and out of its socket, I never trim my beard or cut my hair until my wife makes me, I can knit and crochet, I like to play Uno and Bomberman on Xbox Live, at least once a year I try and fail to learn Spanish and learn how to play the guitar.
LB: How did you start blogging?
SD: I started blogging two years ago to promote my first book.
LB: What is your favorite blog (that's not your own)?
SD: My wife's, of course.
LB: Do you think the emergence of blogs as a forum for writing is a good thing for the literary community?
SD: I think it will just change how people read; people will always read, but blogs make people want to read in quicker, shorter doses. If a book pulls the reader into another world that they don't know, they'll still read it -- it just means writers have to work harder to engage them enough to make them want to read it.
LB: Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a particular place, time of day, ritual that helps stimulate your writing?
SD: I write best in non-office settings -- on the bed, on the floor, on notepads while waiting for movies to start. If I'm writing something new, I'll usually write scenes first, and then when I have enough of them work them into a larger story.
LB: How would you define yourself as a writer?
SD: I don't define myself as a writer -- I simply am a writer.
LB: Quiet, Please is a memoir, a work of nonfiction about the oddities in life as a civil servant. What are you going to tackle next?
SD: I'm working on something that defines the Internet's impact on society, and the divide in generations that it creates.
LB: Do you write fiction / poetry?
SD: Non-fiction and Fiction.
LB: Do you read reviews about your work? How does that change you as a writer?
SD: I read every single one; I even have Google Alerts to tell me of new ones. I've read enough good ones and bad ones to know you can't take any of them personally; the reviews say nothing of your abilities as a writer -- they only say that people have different taste.
LB: When was the last time you cried?
SD: When my wife said "I Do."
LB: Who are your biggest writing influences?
SD: Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
LB: If you could choose books to fill a Scott Douglas defining bookshelf, which five would you pick?
SD: The Bible, The Great Gatsby, Wise Blood, The Crying of Lot 49, The Elements of Style
LB: What is the one line of literary genius that you wish you had written first?
SD: "Call me Ishmael" - it proves you can have a horrible opening line, and still have a book called American Classic.
LB: Any final thoughts / advice / jokes?
SD: The lazy man works twice as hard.
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