Beth Lisick is a writer and performer from the USA. Her books include the New York Times bestselling comic memoir Everybody Into the Pool and the gonzo self-help manifesto Helping Me Help Myself. Lisick has toured the U.S. and Europe as a solo spoken word performer, front person for the band the Beth Lisick Ordeal, and member of the groundbreaking queer roadshow Sister Spit. Her other projects include comedic performance for the stage and screen with Tara Jepsen, curating the monthly Porchlight Storytelling Series with Arline Klatte, and teaching creative writing to young adults. Find out more about her here.
1. What was your first phone?
The first phone I remember was a red phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen of my house when I was about five. It had a very long cord so my mom could make dinner while she was talking.
2. Who/What inspired you to write?
I was inspired to write by the many people I met when doing open mics in San Francisco. They were like a band of crazy, charismatic pirates.
3. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
Not until after I had been onstage reading my work a few times. I realized I loved the direct feedback from a live audience, but I also loved the time spent sitting alone.
4. What is your writing routine?
I take my son to school and then go to my office in downtown Oakland. I used to be a nighttime writer, but being a mom, I learned to go to bed earlier and get stuff done during the day.
5. Have you ever suffered writer’s block? What did you do to overcome it?
Not really. There’s always something to write about. I may not be happy with what I’ve written, but I’m not usually at a loss for what to write about.
6. What’s your advice to writers (especially up & coming ones)?
Writing can be really hard and frustrating sometimes, but one of the greatest feelings imaginable is being happy about something you’ve written. And if you don’t like to sit by yourself for hours at a time, you probably shouldn’t become a writer.
7. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into?
Sales. Just kidding. I love to think about a parallel universe where I am a dancer.
8. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
I’d love to meet my dad’s biological mother. He was put up for adoption as a baby and we don’t know a single thing about his side of the family. It would be fun to chip away at that mystery a bit.
9. What is the longest you have gone without a shower?
I think it was a backpacking trip in the late ‘80s. Approximately 10 days!
10. If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would I find?
Right now there is apricot jam, chocolate sauce, parsley, chard, a rotting cantaloupe, cream cheese, parmesan, milk, half and half, whipping cream. Lots of dairy because we were making ice cream! Beets, fennel, pickles, ten different kind of hot sauce.
11. Of the all places you’ve been to, which one is the most beautiful? Why?
I just got back from the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Absolutely gorgeous and full of gigantic sea turtles to swim with.
12. What is your favourite book & movie?
I love Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From and Short Cuts, the film Robert Altman made based on them.
13. What are you currently reading?
The Descendents by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
14. If you were deserted on an abandoned island what 5 things would you want to have?
- A sharp knife
- The New York Public Library
15. If you were a car, which one would you like to be? Why?
I love those souped-up 1960s Dodge Vans that look like they’re smiling at you.
16. From a very general perspective, how do you handle change?
It’s safe to say I’m a pretty easy-going person. Generally.
17. If you had a superpower, what would you like it to be?
Flying please! I love to fly in my dreams.
18. What is the latest track you’ve downloaded on your iPod?
My comedy partner and I were doing an interpretive dance as two of our characters, a foxy gay couple named Phil and Don, and I downloaded Sting’s We Work the Black Seam for obvious reasons.
19. When was the last time you cried?
A couple weeks ago I was standing on the side of the stage at a big music festival in San Francisco watching Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards play. Watching the crowd react so wildly to her was completely overwhelming and I got all choked up.
20. When were you happiest?
With absolutely no shame whatsoever for being cliché, the birth of my son.
21. Who should we follow on Twitter?
I love @humblebrag. He retweets people’s brags that they try to pretend aren’t really brags but so obviously are. “I can’t believe how many people think I’m Angelina Jolie even though I have a huge zit on my nose.”
I was inspired to write by the many people I met when doing open mics in San Francisco. They were like a band of crazy, charismatic pirates.7. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into?