The Questionnaire: Steven G. Kellman

How do you get up in the morning?

Warily. As Kafka wrote: “It requires enormous presence of mind or rather quickness of wit, when opening your eyes, to seize hold as it were of everything in the room at exactly the same place where you had let it go on the previous evening. That is why the moment of waking was the riskiest moment of the day. Once that was well over without deflecting you from your orbit, you could take heart of grace for the rest of the day.”


Do you succumb to nostalgia? 

Never, except when reflecting on the past.


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

Simone Weil, Henry David Thoreau, and the scrivener named Bartleby. My lunches are abstemious.


Best piece of advice you ever received?

Never accept advice.


Have you ever been defeated by a genre?

I played Poetry and lost, 6-Love. In a tiebreaker with Prose, my tie broke, and I had to wear a ruff.


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

Abius Tibullus. The Ambrosianus is overrated. 


Are you okay with blood?

As long as it remains subcutaneous.


What country would you want to be exiled in?



What’s your favorite negative emotion?



What is your go-to shoe?

A glass slipper. I go to it but frequently cut my finger on a shard.


What’s your poison?

Language, administered to the eye or ear.


What’s your problem?

All that is the case.


What are you so afraid of?

I am afraid of nothing except darkness, brightness, and the abyss.


How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?

When I pushed paw into the keyboard, it upset maw. 


Does plot matter?

Only to a cemetery steward. What happens is much less important than how.


Does age matter?

Age is utterly inconsequential except for wines, municipal bonds, and human beings. 


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?



Is there a literary community?

Yes, it is the merry minyan of informed, attentive readers and writers.