New year, new interview series! Looking forward into 2023, I have decided to retire the literary Would You Rather series, but didn't want to stop interviews on the site all together. Instead, I've pulled together 40ish questions - some bookish, some silly - and have asked authors to limit themselves to answering only 10 of them. That way, it keeps the interviews fresh and connectable for all of us!
Today, nat raum joins us with their choice of 10 questions to help us get to know them better! nat (b. 1996) is a disabled artist, writer, and genderless disaster from Baltimore, MD. They’re a current MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore and also hold a BFA in photography and book arts. nat is also the editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press and the author of preparatory school for the end of the world, you stupid slut, and specter dust, among others. Past publishers of their writing include Delicate Friend, perhappened, Corporeal Lit, and trampset. Find them online: natraum.com/links.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m also a visual artist, so if I’m not writing, I’m often flexing my creative muscles in other ways, be it as a freelancer or for my own practice. I also play a lot of video games, and my taste ranges fairly widely. My current three most-played games are Super Mario Galaxy, Stardew Valley, and The Witcher 3. Finally, my work is often born from experience, so going out into the world and doing things like dinner at a cool restaurant or taking a weekend trip are very important to me (though I’m admittedly limited in what I’m actually able to do these days because of budgetary and pandemic-related concerns).
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation for sure. I’m disabled and generally pretty low energy. I often think about how nice it would be to be able to teleport places.
Summarize your book using only gifs or emojis:
What are some of your favorite books and/or authors?
I’ve read a lot of really amazing work that I liked for a variety of reasons, so to narrow it down, I thought about work that was important to me and made an impact on me creatively. First on this list is absolutely literally show me a healthy person by Darcie Wilder; this book greatly inspired my undergraduate photography thesis and became a gateway to me incorporating text into my visual work, and thus a gateway to poetry. Additionally, I absolutely flipped for The Carrying by Ada Limón when I read it, and it greatly influenced the writing in you stupid slut. Finally, something has really stuck with me about Help in the Dark Season by Jacqueline Suskin, which I read about a year and a half ago at this point.
You have to choose an animal or cartoon character that best represents you. Which is it and why?
Daria Morgendorffer, the titular character of MTV’s Daria. In so many ways, I was Daria in high school. No one understood me, I didn’t understand anyone else, and I was incredibly cynical about it all. But you also see Daria evolve over the seasons, and it’s fairly similar to my evolution arc, so through and through, I still feel like Daria almost every day.
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
A butter-poached lobster tail, potatoes au gratin, and a crab cake made according to my grandmother’s recipe. Either bread pudding or pie for dessert. And definitely a Dr. Pepper, followed by a Painkiller made the way my first cocktail bar job used to make them (with mezcal too).
If you could time travel, would you go back to the past or forward into the future?
This is a hard one, because I’m so curious about the future but I also think that if I were able to speak to my past self…well, let’s just say hindsight would really benefit me in a lot of ways. I still think I’d pick the future.
Are you a book hoarder or a book unhauler?
I’m such a hoarder it’s not even funny. My apartment came with a huge shelving unit and I’m running out of space. I live in a studio, so it’s a really terrible habit to have when I have such limited space. I have books in storage and at my parents’ house in my old room, too. I cannot get enough of buying physical media.
What songs would be on the soundtrack of your life?
I’ve tried to select a range here, but you can tell I’ve thought about this too many times.
Little Lies — Fleetwood Mac
Space Ghost Coast to Coast — Glass Animals
Plastic Flowers — The Front Bottoms
I Follow Rivers — Lykke Li
Manhattan — Cat Power
The (After) Life of the Party — Fall Out Boy
Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue) — Hozier
Losers in the Tomb — Boy Azooga
R U Mine — Arctic Monkeys
What are you currently reading?
I’m all over the place right now. I recently read Clem Flowers’ Snakeskin Stockings, which was divine. Honestly, I’m pretty obsessed with everything kith books is putting out right now. I also just picked up How to Adjust to the Dark by Rebecca van Laer, which I haven’t read yet but am looking forward to.
Diving deep into a pool of memories from (loosely) 2014-2019 that nat raum had (almost entirely) tried to forget about, you stupid slut grapples with the role that their own reckless behavior played in the immense amount of harm this period of their life caused them. It's about reckoning with a loss of faith in love and humanity, but also so much about the ways they so desperately needed to prove they were lovable—as well as the gender confusion created by indulging in a pattern of self-destructive hypersexuality and substance abuse, both of which were born as coping mechanisms for unresolved emotional trauma. you stupid slut functions as an unrated version of raum’s previous work in eventually i will learn to stop saying sorry, recollecting their destructively performative femininity through poetry, prose, form experiments, scraps of paper they probably shouldn’t have saved, and forgotten disposable camera snapshots.
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