Who Am I ?
1. Who am I?
I really don’t know at this point. I used to think I was a writer who, for experience, slogged in a chicken processing factory, sold cars in Los Angeles, worked in a tech start-up in Seattle, taught creative writing at SUNY-Purchase, and was a travel editor in NYC, but now I realize I just can’t keep a job.
2. What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I’m an endless student of writing in all forms whether reading it or creating it. My third book is out soon, a novel called The Killer Detective Novelist, sort of a metafictional spin on noir. I also spent the summer studying Chaucer in Asheville, North Carolina, for my fourth master’s degree. Last summer I studied Joyce’s Ulysses at Oxford. You put your life on hold in terms of job/work when you fully commit to studying literature for months at a time. So there are sacrifices you make, all in the name of books. Girlfriends usually don’t understand this and are like, “When are you going to take me out to dinner?” This is usually when we are at a dinner that she is paying for. I usually don’t have an answer and just keep chewing. Quoting romantic poetry doesn’t work here.
3. Where are you from and where are you going?
Farm boy! Grew up on beef cattle farms in Bedford, Virginia, “World’s Best Little Town.” I’d like to go anywhere but Florida. I’d also like to see my first book of short stories, The Reclusives, get made into nine movies, especially the final novella in the collection, “Pool Man.” I would like to never get married, but I do want to be a good uncle. I plan to study poetry in Santa Fe next summer and get back into some college teaching this year. I miss the classroom after writing by myself in rooms with no one to talk to for years.
4. Who is your biggest hero?
Have had some pretty amazing literary mentors like Edward Albee, who produced my first play, and Bret Easton Ellis, who encouraged me to get to New York City in the late 90s. I’ll have to split the heroic prize here among all my writing teachers like them and include honorable mentions for Oskar Eustis at the Public Theater and fiction writer Rosellen Brown. I view all teachers as heroic, and any writer who can sustain a life of writing and still teach rises to the heights for me. I’ll also add poet Richard Chess, novelist James Robison, professor Lawrence Hogue, and acting teacher Carol MacVey in there.
5. What book is your bible?
Years ago, I discovered the mystery novel and found James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. That book is my new bible. But you can have more than one and my first is Ross Macdonald’s On Crime Writing.
6. What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
God, I love Thai food. I love good beer, pale ales specifically. I love running on trails and having wild animals scare the crap out of me. I dig traveling on the cheap. I love never dating the same person more than six weeks. I love crosswords and I make and submit them to the New York Times, but Shortz never accepts them (I hate that part). I love gin and tequila but only in summer. I hate relationships; they really take away from writing. I really hate Chase Utley of the Phillies. I love/hate that I’m a fan of the Mets. I hate ebooks and people with loud headphones. I love espresso. I dislike that loud person who is louder than everyone else in the room and doesn’t know it. I love beanbag chairs. You just don’t see them much anymore.
7. What is your raison d’être?
For everyone to be a little quieter and read more and stop pointing at touch screens. For myself to remain in silence where I’m always reading and writing. I also want to keep my rockin’ bod and stay “mad” sexy.
8. What is your favorite color?
Six? No, sorry, invisible.
9. Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
Does Richie Rich count? If he doesn’t, then I was always partial to Supergirl. No, wait, Thor.
10. What is your favorite NYC hot spot?
I love The Ginger Man on 36th between 5th and Madison because I’m a beer drinker and they have hundreds. Revel in Meatpacking is quite fun too. I’m a fan of divey places like No Idea in Flatiron. You really have no idea after you leave there.
11. What turns you on?
I get turned on by anyone who pays attention to me, especially hot, crazy women for some reason. Actually, they don’t even have to be that hot as long as they are crazy. I always date crazy women, so I guess “crazy” turns me on. It’s crazy. It really is. Like, no, it’s really crazy.
12. What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
Would you trade love for fame, if you had to choose?
Only if fame let me be in love a bunch. [This is a trick question because I always love mean people, so basically I would choose fame then fall in love all the time, usually on a weekly basis, hopefully with people who aren’t mean (or crazy).]
Mark Puckett is a writer and teacher.
Questions by PMC Magazine
Photography by Suzette Plank Bergonzini
Design by Marie Havens
Mark Puckett, Photography by Suzette Plank Bergonzini