Last week, master of wry Sloane Crosley — whose second novel, Cult Classic, was published in June — came to NeueHouse Bradbury for a conversation from Reboot with Andrew Goldberg on comedy, cultural irreverence, and the influence of personal identity on art. Before she left, Crosley joined us in The Wyman for a quick drink and rapid-fire Q&A.
Name: Sloane Crosley
Profession: Author, sometimes book critic, sometimes travel writer, sometimes journalist
Path not taken: archeologist or tennis player
Describe your ideal workspace (both the physical and mental essentials): I always think I’d thrive at some beautiful old desk with glass paperweights and bay window with a view of the sea and, while that situation is preferable to me at a tiny desk in my kitchen, facing a wall, I find grand spaces create too much pressure. So something in between is ideal – a window, a good chair, dead quiet except for birds. Birds are allowed.
What’s a metaphor to describe your creative process?
Like slicing through rainforest underbrush with a dull machete.
I tend to get my best ideas and breakthroughs by … Taking a walk or picking up a piece of writing I respect.
Current read or listen: I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell. A friend also just recommended the podcast Normal Gossip and she’s never wrong.
What’s something “new” in your life and/or working-life? I have been on tour for Cult Classic and going on tour is not “new,” but it is a resurrection of sorts. It’s a great but odd sensation to see so many places I’d missed over the past three years.
Something you’ve discovered in the last year that now you can’t live without? A desk lamp. Groundbreaking, I know. But a desk lamp.
If you could travel back and re-experience one period in your life, what would it be and why? Probably my early twenties because I didn’t know how good I had it in a thousand ways. But I’d want to go with my current brain and experience, please. Otherwise? No, thank you.
Current obsession. I don’t really have one. I have been promoting Cult Classic and so I am obsessed with getting back to work. Really. I’m lacking in appointment viewing, snacking or listening at the moment and so I’m offering honesty instead of aimlessly moving around my apartment wondering, “what do I like?”
The best part of the work I do is: That no one else really has any idea how it gets done.
The hardest part of the work I do is: That no one else really has any idea how it gets done.
How does it feel to have your new novel out in the world? It’s wonderful, it really is. You can get lost in the weeds promoting it, worrying about it from a thousand different angles. It’s easy. But, especially as someone who’s primarily known for narrative nonfiction, to have twice now created a story to entertain people, to say things I wanted to say in a world I made…it’s a gift that I get to do that.
What are you working on now? A non-fiction book about different types of grief.
What do you hope to work on next? I think one book at a time is enough, no?