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Michelle Tea Gets The Tea From … Nikki Darling

Nikki Darling’s writing turns up in spots like the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and The Rumpus, but this fall will mark her entry into bookstores everywhere, when The Feminist Press publishes her autofictional debut, Fade Into You.

As gauzy-druggie-dreamy as the song it references, Fade Into You takes us into the teenage wasteland of 1990s Los Angeles, through the experience of a Mexican-American High School Junior obsessed with her female friendships, with drugs and crushes and living fast in a culture that offers few safe diversions for a creative female. Full of slang, humor, and angst, prep a place for Fade Into You to land on your bookshelves this November.

Til then, dig into her Fifteen Questions, below.

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

I’m a witch and experience uncanniness on an almost daily basis. Usually, I’ll receive a sign. I’ll think of someone, and something will appear on a bumper sticker or billboard; a song will come on the radio that reminds me of them, or I know is them, and I’ll get a chill. I don’t have any one instance that stands out over another.

What is in your bag right now?

I’m at work, so my lunch, a mango Thai salad my mom made me the night before — she lives around the corner and I take leftovers home if I eat dinner with her. My phone, my galley, which I am editing while my students work quietly, my wallet, my makeup bag (lip gloss, mascara, two red lips sticks, a rose oil roll-on, tampons and band-aids). Sunglasses, old receipts.

Please share the 15th picture on your cell phone.

My cat Fats Domino with his summer lion cut.


How are you like or not like your sun sign?

I am the most Gemini who ever Gemini’d. I am a Ge.Min.I.

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

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt; “End of the Road” by Boyz II Me (it was playing on the Wave, an LA Radio station, as I was getting out of the car this morning); Luke Cage, Season 2, Episode 10. Before that, GLOW. The Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, which I sobbed through.

What was the last meal you cooked?

Gazpacho and croutons.

Where would you like to go on vacation right now?

Valencia, Spain, Marrakech, Morocco, Machu Picchu, Peru. My favorite secret boutique hotel in Palm Springs with my favorite pool.

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

I grew up in LA, and worked in vintage and high-end retail jobs here, and during college in New York, so this sounds annoying but I don’t usually get star struck. I’d have to say meeting and reading for Dolores Huerta really made me dizzy with delight. I felt very, very in awe and light -headed. It was a surreal experience. It happened on the heels of a solo show where I had been up the night before baking, decorating and installing cakes without sleep. The entire thing felt very dreamy.

What are you like when you’re sick? 

The biggest baby ever. Like, full-on whiney, do-everything-for-me, bring-me-stuff, I-can’t-breathe, I’m-going-to-die-in-my-sleep, nicotine-and-coffee-withdrawal baby. A pillow-throwing, this-isn’t-fair-baby. Gollum and Regan from The Exorcist put together.

What are you obsessed with or inspired by right now?

The 1920s-1950s Mexican renaissance in art, culture, and politics. Old pictures from this time period. Cuernavaca, Taxco — both cities in Mexico. AMLO.

What are you upset about right now?

The United States. Global violence. Misogyny and its multiple expressions. Environmental degradation.

What is the most recent dream you remember?

I was water rafting down a raging river. My guess is the American River, as it has personal significance in my youth.

Who are your queer ancestors?

Genet, Acker.

What is your dream project?

My version of the Great American Novel. Optioning my book for a web or cable network. Basically, I want all the things.

What are you doing this weekend?

Going to art-hop and see friends’ work in shows. Clean my house, spend time with my animals. Do some magic, drink some Boba.

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