Z: Writers are well known for mining art from personal tragedy, a process which Mickey deconstructs and pokes fun at with great success by listing titles for the narrator’s theoretical art installations (“Untitled #13 – Nostradamus predicted I would feel sad today and everyday hereafter” being a particular favorite of mine). In life there’s the kind of despair that can make it difficult to attribute meaning to anything, let alone commit words to paper. But there’s also a more functional, low-level depression or malaise during which I’d wager many writers perhaps function at their “best.”
I think it’s a state you capture brilliantly in the book, as when you write: “When I had a job, I had to pretend to be happy for at least part of the day…But now I’m home almost all the time and, having exhausted many of my friends’ capacities for compassion, I am able to devote full days to plotting petty revenge and going over my past failures ad nauseam.” Do you find you are able to accomplish much of your writing at times like this, that it almost proves inspiring in some way?
CM: Yes, definitely. That can be a great time to write. I find there is a rawness to my writing when I’m low-level depressed. I think you can kinda tell I don’t give a fuck, and I really like that quality. When I’m in a more positive headspace I’m more cautious and analytical about what I’m writing, so that can be a good time to edit. But I try not to expect certain emotional states from myself, especially when it comes to productivity, because things like that end up being excuses not to write, or to not make myself feel better.