Michelle Tea Gets the Tea From Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for like a bazillion impressive book awards, and walked away with honors from Bard College, Lambda Literary, Shirley Jackson, and the National Book Critics Circle tucked firmly in its pants pocket. (If books wore pants, incidentally, this one might be sporting a pair made from torn sequins, female flesh, autumn leaves, ribbons, hair, telepathy and, of course, denim.)

Her Body and Other Parties was selected by a Best Book of the Year by everything from the New York Times to Buzzfeed to O

If you are looking for work that mines the fantastical, surreal, horrific experience of being female and queer, do yourself a favor and get Carmen’s book today. Right after you check out her answers to my 15 questions, below!

What is the most uncanny thing that you have ever experienced?

Uncanny things happen to me constantly, but a memorable one happened a few months ago when I went to New York. I noticed that the train I took from Philadelphia was #666, and then when I emerged from the subway station at my destination the building number above me was 666. The first time it was pretty funny, and second time it was really unsettling.

What is in your bag right now?

Keys, my wallet, headphones, and a copy of The Naked Woman by Armonía Somers.

Please share the 15th picture on your cell phone.

How are you like or not like your sun sign?

I’m a pretty classic Cancer: moody, empathetic and loyal, pessimistic, imaginative, and a total homebody. And I love, love, love the water.

What is the last book you read? Song you listened to? Show or movie you watched?

Book:  Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg. Song: “Chant (Live)” from the Hadestown soundtrack. Show: Bar Rescue. Movie: Stranger by the Lake (2013).

What was the last meal you cooked?

Chicken, potatoes, and green beans with a creamy mustard dill sauce.

Where would you like to go on vacation right now?

The beach.

Tell me about getting to meet someone you idolize or admire.

I met Dorothy Allison earlier this year and she was even more brilliant and lovely and generous and funny than I ever could have dreamed.

What are you like when you’re sick?

Miserable. I just want to lay down with a blanket and watch TV and drink seltzer water.

What are you obsessed with or inspired by right now?

The history of mountebanks and medicine shows; also, the history of the Grand Guignol.

What are you upset about right now?

Male entitlement, in every form it presents itself.

What is the most recent dream you remember?

Last night I dreamt that a fox was coming through my window.

Who are your queer ancestors?

Gladys Bentley, Anne Lister, Frida Kahlo, Audre Lorde, Patricia Highsmith, Tallulah Bankhead, Eleanor Roosevelt, Josephine Baker, Willa Cather, Mercedes de Acosta, Alla Nazimova, Julie d’Aubigny, Virginia Woolf, Bridget Bate Tichenor

What is your dream project?

I have so many, but one I’ve been thinking about recently is editing a series of books that track literary influences through generations of authors — so, taking a contemporary author and identifying one of their influences, and then taking that influence and identifying their influence(s)… back and back.

What are you doing this weekend?

I’m at a residency in Taos, New Mexico right now, and this weekend my wife is visiting and we’re going to have a little mini-vacation in Santa Fe.

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