By December 3, 2012 3 Comments Read More →

Hostile Questions: Andrew Smith

Hey, remember when you were reading Andrew Smith‘s The Marbury Lens and were like “Gosh, this is a nice story about two friends learning some important life lessons and OH CHRIST WHAT THE DAMN HELL NO WAY CHOKE PUKE SCREAM CRY”? Good times, huh?

Well, that’s Smith in a nutshell: burning your brain out with indelible images and turning plots on a dime to take wild risks that should never work, but work anyway. Does he think he can get away with this crap indefinitely? A prediction: his next book will be the one to finally go too far and I’ll be there to pounce. I’ll be like “Oh, look, Mr. Smith, you thought you were being so clever there but then you went and OH CHRIST WHAT THE DAMN HELL NO WAY CHOKE PUKE SCREAM CRY!!!”

Dammit, even in my hostile fantasy scenario he kicks my ass.

Smith as a child, dreaming of future f-bombs.

Just who do you think you are?

I have this vague awareness that who I think I am has almost no concrete relationship to the physical manifestation of the great big giant me or the actions undertaken by that colossal amalgamation of self-propelled matter. Given this quandary, I am frequently disillusioned to the point of depression when I consider the vast gulf which separates my egocentric perceptions and the reality within which they are falsely constructed.

If it’s any of your fucking business.

Where do you get off?



Let me ask you a question: Did you run out of REAL authors or something?

Let’s turn our attention to the indefinite interrogative “Where” at the launching-off point of your question. I think the substitution of an alternate indefinite interrogative would make the question a bit sassier, and an awful lot more telling:

Who do you get off?

How do you get off?

Why do you get off?

You know. Shit like that.

What’s the big idea?

Is it crayfish or crawdad?

A friend of mine needs to know.

For some reason, I can’t bring myself to say “crawdad,” but when I say “crayfish” to people, they look at me like I’m a total douche.

I spent a summer in Sweden, where a group of Swedish friends treated me to a traditional crayfish party. Well, to be honest, I don’t know how traditional the party was since at one point we all found ourselves completely naked and in a freezing lake in Sweden, catching crayfish.

Now, that’s a party.

But I feel like a douche for even saying I attended a Swedish crayfish party.

I also don’t think you’ve really lived until you’ve had someone else throw up on you. If they gave Nobel Prizes for best being-thrown-up-on stories, I’d have a million bucks in my pocket and a trip back to Sweden for sure.

But they don’t.

Attention Sweden: I have had someone else actually vomit into my mouth. I know what you’re thinking, too, so allow me to answer. No, it did not taste as bad as I thought it would.

That’s an invention-of-dynamite equivalent by any reasonable standard.

What is your problem, man?

It’s complex. As a Buddhist, I am entirely detached from material possessions. Unfortunately, I am also a compulsive hoarder. As a result, I deeply loathe myself, and if existence weren’t so gosh-darned pointless, I’d probably have cooler shit.

Haven’t you done enough?

When I was a sixteen-year-old kid, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime. One of those things was to climb Mount Everest. I must have been on acid or something. Why the fuck would I ever want to climb Mount Everest? It’s fucking cold and your skin rots and turns black up there. I’ve discovered two things about myself regarding that list: First, that I was an ignorant dumbass when I was a kid; and second, that anywhere in life worth going to has a bar and nice hotels with room service and you wake up with the same number of toes as you had when you went to sleep.

Okay, maybe I have discovered three things about myself regarding that list. The third thing is this: If my sixteen-year-old ignorant dumbass self could hold that list up as a manner of yardstick by which to measure my present life, I have accomplished absolutely none of my goals at all except for the one involving virginity.

What a complete failure.



About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

3 Comments on "Hostile Questions: Andrew Smith"

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  1. I can think of no author I’d rather read not-interviewing Andrew Smith than Daniel Kraus. If life is the best k-hole you’ve never fallen into, then I think I just peaked.

  2.' Liz Szabla says:

    I want Smith and Kraus on a panel, just them, discussing and then taking questions about fiction and writing and publishing. Yeah, taking questions. Heh-heh. Would be seriously enlightening. C’mon ALA, let’s make it happen!

  3.' :paula says:

    Liz Szabla I think they were both on the Guys Read panel in Anaheim – and neither one was as scary as Michael Grant or as lewd as Daniel Handler. It was a hell of a night, but Jon Scieszka looked like he’d swallowed a live grenade by the end of it.

    This has got to be the ne plus ultra of Hostile Questions. You boys absolutely deserve each other and I hope you’ll be very happy together for many years!

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