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Powell’s Q&A: Amy Sedaris

Describe your latest book.
It's called Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. It was written under the premise that attractive people have sex, ugly people craft. I, myself, spend a lot of time crafting.

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false?
Oh, definitely false. When I was growing up in a gypsy caravan traveling the low country, Uncle Knapek always instilled the importance of truthfulness. He'd say to me: "Amy, you'll go farther in this life if you remember that you attract more flies with rugelach than a swatteryou attract more flies with rugelach than a swatter." Then he would polish his goat and I would pretend to read the fortunes of strangers, and my cousin would sneak up behind them and clobber them on the head. While they were unconscious, we would search their mouths for the gold in their teeth.

How do you relax?
Are you a cop? If you are, and I ask you and you don't admit it, this is entrapment, so regardless of what I do to relax — let's hypothetically say the Volcano Digit Vaporizer including the complete valve system — this would never hold up in a court of law. So, I repeat, are you a cop?

Why do you write?
So people can read.

Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Great question. Celsius seems like the obvious answer because, let's face it, it makes sense. Zero is the freezing point, and 100 is the boiling point; but it's named after a Swede, and, for my money, Swedes are even a few notches below Norwegians, and we all know about Norwegians. I enjoy the purity of Kelvin, absolute zero, but I get a bit uneasy at the idea using energy to measure a substance devoid of all thermal energy. At some point we just have to let it go. As for Fahrenheit, well, it has an edge because we are one of the few countries who have the balls to use a system that has no logic to it. But I'm gonna have to go with Kelvin, because it's closest to something I would name a pet.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Writers are usually insecure, bespectacled, nebbishy types who spend their free time making entries in their diaries and weeping into a pillow. Rock bands on the other hand are alcohol- and drug-addled juvenile hedonists who peddle sex and debauchery. I don't know the answer to this one.

Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
This is an obvious one: rabbits. Who wouldn't enjoy a furry pal for which hitting the litter box is a 50/50 proposition?Who wouldn't enjoy a furry pal for which hitting the litter box is a 50/50 proposition? That means, half the time I don't find peppercorn-sized bowel pellets in my bed. On top of that, my rabbit Dusty is always happy to see me, greets me in the morning when I wake, and has gnawed through the wires to the majority of my electrical appliances. Rabbits!

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Five fantastic picture books:

Physical Signs in General Medicine by Michael Zatouroff
I love looking at skin disorders and this book has the best pictures. I love how they use a black strip to cover the eyes.

Mr. Salesman by Diane Keaton (all her books really)
Her books are the best. Always happy when a new one comes out. The Salesman is spooky and beautiful.

Polar Bear by Mark Dion
I just love the images in this book. Haunting.

Like Us: Primate Portraits by Robin Schwartz
Who doesn't love a monkey? The pictures are adorable and just so real.

Ray's a Laugh by Richard Billingham
I probably look at this book more than any other book I have — I can't take my eyes off the people in the pictures. Very eye opening.

÷ ÷ ÷

Amy Sedaris has appeared in several movies and television shows, and, with Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert, is the author of I Like You: Hospitality under the Influence and a co-author of the novel Wigfield. She also co-wrote Strangers with Candy, the hit show on Comedy Central. She lives in Manhattan.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. I Like You: Hospitality under the...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just...
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  3. Mr. Salesman: A Book Used Hardcover $24.00
  4. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
    Used Hardcover $7.95

Amy Sedaris is the author of Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

One Response to "Powell’s Q&A: Amy Sedaris"

    Miss Gretchen October 25th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I Like You: Hospitality under the Influence, seems to be missing from the above list of fantastic picture books (although, after looking up Ray's a Laugh, I have to say I don't have much appetite for the Li'l Smokey Cheeseball that I rushed out to buy the ingredients for, I was so excited after reading this Q&A.) I can't urge Powell's readers enough to go buy multiple copies of I Like You and Simple Times while the latter is on sale today -- they make fabulous gifts.

    (Oh yes, BTW I should add that I am not Amy's sister Gretchen -- although, I would like to ask her, "when you were young did people say that the only other "Gretchen" they had ever known was a dachsund?")

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