Actual proof that I still exist: National Journal‘s Hotline came knocking the other day, with lighthearted questions for their Friday Feature Q&A. The what? The hunh? National Journal is a D.C. publication that is so essential to the Beltway power/media structure that it costs, like, hundreds (thousands?) of dollars to subscribe. Otherwise I would link you to the feature. But now that it’s been out a f ew days, I’m just going to “borrow” it, with a friendly shout-out to the writer, Amanda Munoz-Temple, who I guess bangs these things out every week! Enjoy…
Hank Stuever is an award-winning pop culture writer for the Washington Post‘s Style section, where he … [bio, blahblah, Hank snipped] … today he’s our Friday Feature!
Where’s your hometown? And what was it like growing up there?
Oklahoma City. Windy.
What were you like in high school?
If there was another 15-year-old boy in Oklahoma City who asked for a subscription to the Village Voice for Christmas 1983, I never met him.
What’s your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you’d like to reveal?)
In my first job, I used to have to go sit in my car in the parking lot and have a short cry once in a while. I didn’t think anybody knew I did that, but apparently most of the newsroom knew. Sorta Holly Hunter.
What is the most memorable critique/commentary received from a superior?
Once I was trying to save a beautiful (I thought) section of a very long story from getting cut. I told the editor to tell me a good reason why she wanted to cut it. “It’s aggravating,” she finally said. That was a revelation that has stuck with me – when prose gets aggravating.
What is your guilty pleasure song of the moment?
“Booty Bounce” by Dev. (Really awful wonderful.) [Here’s the video.]
What’s your favorite TV program, current and past?
This question is an icebreaker for most people and a job hazard for me, but officially I’m loving “Shameless,” starring William H. Macy on Showtime and “In the Bedroom,” a sex-therapy show on OWN. Growing up, I got spanked punished [UPDATE: The facts are in dispute, as usual in this family. See comment from “Mother” below.] for trying to get my family to hurry up at dinner at a Pizza Hut so we could get home in time for “The Bionic Woman.” I loved her.
If your life was turned into a movie, which current movie would it be and who would play you?
My workplace is feeling very “Black Swan” these days, and I hope I’m not the Natalie Portman of it.
If you could have one super power to aid you in your job, what would it be?
The magic golden lasso of truth.
If you could take a road trip with any pop culture personality, who would it be and where will you be going?
Tina Fey said she loves nothing more than pushing a cart through a big, exurban Target while sipping a 44-oz. fountain soda. If she’d have me along, that would be a dream.
If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
And nothing else? (An endless supply?) Although tempted to answer Chinese or New Mexico-style Mexican food, I think my lower intestine is going to vote for variety packs of breakfast cereal.
In one sentence, your best advice to young, fresh out-of-college journalists.
Read all the time and keep up with everything.
Finish this sentence: Today I …
Watched gobs of British television.
• • •
Now that we’ve been properly reintroduced, I’m sorry to have abandoned the blog for so many weeks.
I kept meaning to come back and tell you (if you’re there) of some fun adventures that came with the Tinsel paperback release:
Such as …
>A good ol’ time at the Texas Book Festival! And a victory at Austin’s Literary Death Match!
>A great big lecture (given, not received!) at Washington College in lovely Chestertown, Md.!
>A wonderful trip to Oklahoma to read for Book Smart Tulsa’s Christmas event, captured very beautifully in the photo above by Adam Wisneski, a very talented multi-platform journalist at the Tulsa World. I met a lot of interesting people in those 36 hours in Tulsa, a town I never spent enough time in when I was growing up in Oklahoma City — blame it on the cultural 405/918 divide. When the weather gets nicer, I’d like to go back and really explore. (By the way, the crowd in Adam’s picture goes on several more rows past the first row you see here. In my imaginative memory, it of course goes on many more rows than that!)
>And don’t forget the Loyola alumni Christmas party in D.C., at which the newish dean of the college of the music held a roomful of people hostage with an endless, rambling speech about nothing, which went on for 25 minutes. I set the crowd free by doing about five minutes worth of Tinsel.
And now I’ve set myself free, too.
Here, at last, we come to the book’s final stage:
The giving tree eventually gets pulped and life goes on. February is here and I promise to do a little better at keeping this blog alive — returning soon with some long overdue thoughts from the One-Man Book Club!