Well, I grew up in the South (Texas, Va., Ky.) and I just moved to a suburb of Philadelphia right before I finished up high school. It’s not very different from Amherst at all … lots of pastels, soccer moms, big SUVs, drunk teenagers, that sort of thing.
If you could play any sport, what would it be?
I would like to wear a blazer and a pleated skirt, play croquet and pussyfoot about on some lady’s lawn all day drinking tea, shit like that.
Do you plan on going home for Thanksgiving? What are you looking forward to?
I do plan on going home for Thanksgiving. I am most looking forward to being stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike for 10 hours.
How would you rate the Amherst social scene?
People, like, put it down all the time, myself included, but I’d say it’s pretty OK. It’s real boring sometimes, to be sure, but there’s something for everyone. Small parties, which is good, because I’m claustrophobic and I hate keg beer and sweaty guys. … It’s all about finding your niche and trying not to suffocate there. I’m just returning from a year off so I think that I’m less concerned with going out and making appearances and whatnot now, in general, but I think that you can usually have an OK-to-fun weekend here. Depends on the party favors.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done while intoxicated?
Well, I really think people are not as imaginative as they should be. What happened to the Crayola days, you know? Anyway, I once blacked out and woke up in Marsh House, singing “Freakaleek” to my friend’s hamster with a lobster claw. … This was, I think, because there was a really long line for lobster at Tom Jones and I was so irate that my friends kept feeding me drinks to calm me down. It worked.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve done?
You know, I probably don’t remember it. Chances are it involves the lobster claw. Other than that, I traveled to Africa one summer and taught in the middle of the Namib desert. I knew nothing about the country and I was the only American in my town. It wasn’t daring insofar as it wasn’t like, “dangerous,” but I’m pretty shy. It was a big step to go there and make my own way without any outside help to speak of.
Do you feel that there’s been a class at Amherst that’s really impacted you?
The Non-Fiction Film [class] with Helen Von Schmidt. It absolutely allowed me to tap into my passion for film. The documentary is also so beautiful, there’s really nothing more alive than something that actually ocurred. It’s closer to the truth than you’ll get with a lot of films today. I mean, every single film I saw, there was at least one moment, if not many, where I was just sitting there slack-jawed, all “That’s it! That’s just how it is!”
What’s your major? Are you writing a thesis?
I is an English majur. My thesis is a creative writing piece … It’s a love story, sort of, written in non-linear time … told through memories as well as present action, that sort of postmodern bullshit. It’s sort of based around the idea that nothing you ever do is part of a present or future but rather you’re always sort of stuck in the past; you’ve lost all hope for agency in this idea of the present-at least it’s true with my main character, and for the most part, myself. It involves beached whales. May-Lee Chai, my advisor, is insistent that I don’t talk about it too much.
What TV show can you not live without?
“Law and Order,” followed by infomercials. I’m an insomniac, so I’m pretty obsessed with them.
Is there anything that people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m really terrified of manatees. When I see one, I feel myself beginning to vomit. I think they’re so awful. They look moldy and they have woman-hips, it’s really uncomfortable just describing it to you right now.