The Questionnaire: Brian Collins

How do you get up in the morning? 

Earlier and earlier, slower and slower.


Do you succumb to nostalgia? 

I have a terrible memory, thank God.


Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill? 

I follow Thoreau’s advice, “Write with fury, correct with phlegm.”


Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite? 

Beckett, Shem the Penman, and Seamus Heaney. I’m buying.


Best piece of advice you ever received? 

“For the first three years, express no strenuous opinions.”


Disciplined or hot dog? 

Cursed wurst.


Have you ever been defeated by a genre? 

Melodrama, always.


Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon? 

Having a little trouble getting through Rabelais.


Are you okay with blood? 

I’d need specifics.


Who is your imagined audience? 

Materialist friends of the Hegelian dialectic. Does it at all coincide with the real one? Am guessing not.


What’s your favorite negative emotion? 



Is your study neat, or, like John Muir’s, is your desk and floor covered in “lateral, medial, and terminal moraines”? 

It’s a great heap, but I know where EVERYTHING is.


What is your go-to shoe? 

Black wingtips.


What’s your problem? 



Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to? 

Not Paris.


How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard? 

Two weeks, then the madness.


Do you require a high thread count? 

No, but my girl does.


Who reads you first?  

Miss Thread Count.


Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind? 

Oh to be young again and not have to trade so shamelessly on brilliant and kind.


Does plot matter? 

Not plot, story.


Does age matter? 

One can only hope.


Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what? 

Yup, high maintenance: Morning, perfectly quiet, preferably horizontal, laptop or Pilot P-500.


Is there a literary community? 

There’s a good question. The writing life today leaves us a little short in the way of community in the old sense, while new modes and media giving rise to lively new kinds of networks.


What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known? 

“What’s in the works right now?” 


What is the answer? 

Essay on CrimethInc.’s Work and the anarchist imaginary.