Who Am I ?
1. Who am I?
2. What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I”m a novelist, essayist, and cultural critic, though I dream of combining those forms to create something appropriately unnameable. I”m currently working on a novel and a series of essays that attempt to unearth the secret lives of objects, places and technologies.
3. Where are you from and where are you going?
I”m from Costa Mesa, California. I live in the tension between a desire for metropolitan culture and the soothing familiarity of suburban life that helps quell my panic disorder. The sprawling aesthetic of Los Angeles feels like a happy medium and may be a part of my future.
4. Who is your biggest hero?
I”m not sure I can pick just one. Some figures that spring to mind: Roberto Bolaño for having the courage to pursue his masterpiece in the face of death; Franz Kafka for his grace and his prose, the closest thing to literary perfection I”ve yet read; Walter Benjamin for understanding and evangelizing the resonance of ephemera within the field of cultural criticism.
5. What book is your bible?
My favorite novel is Malcolm Lowry”s Under the Volcano, a book forged in hell that manages to remain staggeringly beautiful. When I need to reconnect with the mystery of merely being alive, I”ll pick up Woolf”s To the Lighthouse, which I read once every year. The poetry of Derek Walcott is also a continuous force running beneath and through my life.
6. What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
I love courage, kindness, Rachmaninoff, San Diego IPAs, the moon, cats, Nilsson, sex, books, wit, and winter. I hate religious certainty, self-obsession, cruelty, panic attacks, and the grind of the working stiff (which I most certainly am).
7. What is your raison d”être?
Self-discovery and the pursuit of wonder through art and experience.
8. What is your favorite color?
Blue. “Blue pencils, blue noses, blue movies, laws, blue legs and stockings, the language of birds, bees and flowers as sung by longshoremen, that lead-like look the skin has when affected by cold, contusion, sickness, fear; the rotten rum or gin they call blue ruin and the blue devils of its delirium; Russian cats and oysters, a withheld or imprisoned breath, the blue they say that diamonds have, deep holes in the ocean and the blazers which English athletes earn that gentlemen may wear…” (William Gass).
9. Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
He”s more of an antihero but I”ve always liked Clowes” David Boring.
10. What is your favorite NYC hot spot?
Seeing as I haven”t been to New York in almost ten years, I”ll say what it was back then: The Strand.
11. What turns you on?
Humor, creativity, intelligence, generosity, well-read girls with small gaps in their front teeth.
12. What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
If you died tomorrow, what would you want to be on your tombstone?
“The things that make us happy make us wise” or “Stories last longer; but only by becoming stories.” (Both from John Crowley”s immortal Little, Big.)
Dustin Illingworth is a novelist, essayist, and cultural critic. He is the creator of WildLord.
Questions by PMc Magazine
Photography Courtesy of Dustin Illingworth
Design by Francesca Rimi
Dustin Illingworth, Photography Courtesy of Dustin Illingworth