Who Am I ?
1: Who am I?
I like to think the answer to that question can’t be confined to a length that is at all acceptable for this venue.
2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I’m a full-time student and an interning editor and contributor here at PMc Magazine, focusing on this very column. For the past three years, I’ve been writing, finishing, and now editing a novel (disclaimer: no vampires or magic, sorry).
3: Where are you from and where are you going?
I was raised in Connecticut until I was thirteen, but I grew up in New York City. I am so different from the person I was when I lived in suburbia, I have trouble associating myself too closely with that part of my life. My childhood was very picturesque though, so I’m grateful to have that as a prologue.
As for where I’m going? Literally? Australia and New Zealand in March, a backpacking tour of Europe with friends over the summer, and college come next fall.
I know I’m meant to go for the more figurative answer. But I don’t want to fasten myself to some accomplishment or place in my life that is supposed to give me ultimate satisfaction or make me feel like I’ve gotten where I’m going. I can say one thing: I know, no matter what I’m doing, I will be writing. I’ll be a writer; even if it’s my job on the side; even if I’m writing on Starbucks napkins I end up tossing.
4: Who is your biggest hero?
My brother, Brendan, and my childhood friend, Rachel.
It wouldn’t be hard to offer the answer this question is asking for (when you’ve edited as many of these interviews as I have, you start to overanalyze all the questions, so bear with me for a second). Human beings do incredible things every day, but to idolize someone, I’ve always believed you need to personally know them and all their weaknesses and obstacles. How else could you see how they rise above them? How can you gauge how astounding their successes truly are if you don’t understand their capacity for failure? Isn’t that how we’re supposed to measure heroes, anyway?
That being said…Jon Stewart is pretty heroic.
5. What book is your bible?
An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton. Yes, it is a children’s book. Yes, it only came out a few years ago. No, I was not a child a few years ago. I picked it up while babysitting and I was touched by it’s no-nonsense simplicity.
Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is stunning. Can’t go wrong with Kurt Vonnegut or Jack Kerouac (I’m a bit of a man in terms of my literary tastes, I’ve been told). I think The Secret History is a modern classic. I turn to East of Eden when things are looking rough; Steinbeck’s subtle challenge of religion is endlessly fascinating to me–the way it’s only there if you want it, or if you choose to see it. Plus, the character of Kate/Cathy is so fundamentally evil and depraved and cruel and selfish and insane; it pushes me to be a better person whenever I read it, which is always appreciated. You can’t walk away from her chapters without thinking, “Ew, never treat people like that.”
6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
I love going on road trips with my dad, obsessively rearranging furniture with my mom, discussing conspiracy theories and the deeper meaning of life with my brother. I love eating cheese and crashing random comedy clubs with friends. I love my school, which is such a nerd thing to say, I know. I’m a little obsessed with the house I grew up in. I love my ancient hand-me-down of a car, affectionately known as ‘Bert’. I love traveling. I love Invisible Children and the work they’re doing.
I’m not a fan of people who survive on negativity and hate for the sake of hate itself—bigotry, essentially. It must be exhausting.
7: What is your raison d’etre?
If, at the end of my life, I can say with confidence that I have done everything I could with the opportunities I’ve been given, I think I will have fulfilled my purpose. When you are born into a family as loving and supportive as mine, and have enjoyed the education and friendships I’ve magically fallen into, I think you have this guilt complex that pushes you to want to deserve it all. I welcome this challenge though—I would never want to think I automatically deserved my life more than anyone else. The second that happens, I think you become a bit disconnected from your own humanity.
8: What is your favorite color?
Orange. There’s something so shameless about orange.
9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
Tina Fey is a superhero in her own right. I am as thrilled by her adventures in writing as a comic book enthusiast would be with Superman himself.
10: What is your favorite NYC hotspot?
Inoteca on the corner of Rivington and Ludlow. Oh, and Motorino has the best pizza in the city (yes, I’ve been to Artichoke). Dream Downtown hosted a PMc event a few weeks ago, and their rooftop space is pretty incredible.
11: What turns you on?
Wit and whimsicality. A little gumption. An amalgamation of all three of those qualities is pretty swoon-worthy, I’d say. And, if I’m being honest, having Robert Pattinson’s face doesn’t hurt either (that’s the teenager/high school student in me talking, I refuse to be held accountable).
12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
Q: What songs, in your opinion, disprove the theory that lyrics are inferior to traditional poetry?
A: I’m going to shamelessly use this self-prompted question to promote some incredible songwriters: “My Back Pages” by Bob Dylan, “Bowl of Oranges” by The Bright Eyes (actually, Conor Oberst is a true, so all of his songs apply), “A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley, “My Manic and I” by Laura Marling, “Romeo and Juliet” by the Dire Straits, “My Bed is a Lake” by Joel T. Hamilton, “Madame George” by Van Morrison.
If you can’t tell, I seriously disagree with this theory. As much as I love W.H. Auden—and I do love him—I may argue that lyrics can be superior to poetry (I can hear the wails of past English teachers…). If anyone ever does a quality rendition of “O Tell Me the Truth About Love” to acoustic guitar, I may pass out.
A proud New Yorker, Meaghan Coffey is a senior in high school at a private school in Manhattan. She started writing novels at age eleven, beginning with a lovely little thriller intended to be an episode of a television show she would rather not name. After deleting that file in embarrassment and growing up a bit, she spent three more years completing an entirely new and irrefutably better literary work, a fiction novel. Meaghan is an assistant editor and column contributor at PMc Magazine.
Questions by PMc Magazine
Edited by Meaghan Coffey
Photography by Maddie Marino
Design by Jillian Mercado
Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”
Meaghan Coffey, NY, 2011, Photography by Maddie Marino