#CopingWith is CCM’s interview series run by managing editor Joanna C. Valente
Alexandra Naughton’s poetry collection, “American Mary,” came out on March 11, 2016 from CCM. Of the book, Carleen Tibbetts has said, “This story is one of brave endurance in the face of loneliness and mediocrity. Naughton ‘fail Mary’ weaves searing insights among instances of the depersonalization of being marketed as ‘a capitalist body.’” As such, we interviewed her about her book, although instead of asking her boring lit questions, our managing editor Joanna C. Valente asked her about everything else instead, like what her favorite meal and apocalypse plans are.
Here’s what she said:
Describe your favorite meal.
My favorite meal is probably breakfast, after noon, with black coffee or an almond milk latte, maybe a bagel and cream cheese, or maybe some kind of sandwich. I like sandwiches a lot, and diners. I wish the East bay or the bay area in general had more 24 hour diners. Is that an East coast thing? There’s so many all night diners in Philly. A 24 hour diner is great because you can take a late night bike ride to the art museum and then ride around Kelly drive and then head back to South Philly and get a patty melt and a milkshake before going back home to crash. And the endless coffee. And there is just something so pure and simple and pleasurable about sitting in a booth and looking out the window onto a parking lot or highway or back alley.
What music do often you write to, if at all?
Whatever album I’m currently obsessed with. The newest project I’ve been working on, I’ve been writing along to art angels by Grimes. I wrote a lot of American Mary while listening to the song born to die by Lana Del Rey on repeat. I love listening to songs and albums on loop while I’m working because then I get into a rhythm and I’m not thinking about the music but it’s a way to keep track of time. This is the best when I really feel like I’m on a roll in regard to generating work.
What are three books that you’ve always identified with?
“Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “The Egypt Game,” and “Jesus’s Son.”
What do you imagine the apocalypse is like? How would you want to die?
The apocalypse is like being crushed slowly without really knowing it’s happening and you’re still able to operate your limbs but everything takes longer than you think it should and your head always hurts and you’re always tired and people tell you that you’re having a good time and doing a good job but you feel like you’re not making any progress and everything you see around you is somewhat frustrating especially when you think about it for too long so you try to get out of your head and into nature just take long walks but you eventually have to return to the daily monotony and the pleasant times always feel shorter than they should and you think if you just keep moving your limbs or at least nodding your head or at least listening to what they say and doing the work they give you that eventually you can just check out and everything can feel like a long walk for the rest if you’re time but you just keep toiling and sinking further into debt that you can’t think about because it makes your stomach turn and your heart race.
In an ideal situation, I’d like to bleed out via vampire.
If you could only watch three films for the rest of your life, what would they be?
“The Birds,” “Clueless,” and “Body Double.”
How would you describe your social media persona/role?
Annoying girl. I don’t know why I’m here. I guess I’m just trying to have fun. Maybe I’m too vertical sometimes but I feel like I’m mostly just cracking jokes or hating on myself.
What’s your favorite animal and why?
My cat, Sookie. Or a sparrow.
What do you carry with you at all times?
Choose a gif that encompasses mornings for you.
Choose one painting that describes who you are. What is it?
“Prometheus Bound” by Peter Paul Reubens & “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey” by Paul Delaroche.
Alexandra Naughton is editor in chief of @baipress in California. Her first novel, American Mary, was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in March 2016 . She’s a Libra. Follow her on twitter: @thetsaritsa
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (ELJ Publications, 2016), & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, BUST, Pouch, and elsewhere. She also teaches workshops at Brooklyn Poets.