What? Last time I looked it was only like 9:30 pm.
So, what have you been up to all night?
Obviously I’ve been watching YouTube videos about the reptile humanoids that rule the world.
Your boyfriend must be out of town again.
So you’re unsupervised. Which means you’ve been doing other bad things, doesn’t it?
Who do you think you’re fooling? I know you. Confess.
I ate In-n-Out.
I looked up pictures of gruesome crime scenes for a few hours.
What? After you ate all those things?
What the hell is the matter with you?
I don’t know! Don’t look at me!
You just love morbidity. There’s some morbidity in your novel, Stupid Children, isn’t there?
Yeah, but I’d say it’s light morbidity. My narrator, Jane, doesn’t really feel comfortable highlighting the sordid. She really fought me on that one.
Good. Why did you decide to write a book about a cult?
Um, why wouldn’t I write a book about a cult? Cults are really, really interesting. Or at least I think so. And when I sit down to write, I try to make it a story I’d want to read, because I really don’t know what it is that other people want. The good news is that I always find that the things that fascinate me are highly available in Google searches, and that means there’s an audience out there that will presumably love me.
What did you name the cult in your book?
They’re called The Second Day Believers. They worship the innards of farm animals. Which is basically what I do because I really love to eat offal. So I based an important element of the Second Day belief system on my food preferences.
What part of the book do people who’ve read it bring up with you most often?
There’s a rebirthing scene. That one is popular. But people mention a chapter where I talk about tattooing more than anything else.
Have you written anything about tattoos that you can copy and paste here?
Sure. A while ago, Gary Socquet, who writes for TNB (I’m a big fan of his), asked me why I thought people get tattoos. I wrote this to him:
“All of my tattoos have been, in one way or another, impulse buys. But I can tell you that my psychological interpretation of tattoos is as follows: people who feel that they are unacceptable and inadequate in some way have the conscious desire to be the opposite of what they fear; acceptable and adequate. Their fear of being inadequate, however, causes them to want to make more of themselves, to decorate themselves. “Perhaps if I adorn my body with what I find beautiful, others will find me beautiful as well, and therefore no longer inadequate.” This is unconscious, of course. The other unconscious event here is that, in embellishing one’s skin with the designs of a tattoo, he is literally covering himself, hiding from the exposure he feels. The tattoo serves as a safety blanket. “Notice my tattoo, not me beneath it.” The irony of tattooing is that the tattooed person, so secretly afraid of his inadequacies, actually invites increased scrutiny by tattooing himself. He has now opened up the floodgates for people to express to him that they do not like or approve of his tattoo, for whatever reasons they may have. This, in effect, has proven to the terribly insecure man that he is so, rightly. And so, in an effort to escape from what is now a proven characteristic of inadequacy, he garnishes himself further, hiding his skin with another tattoo, and another, and another.
When this gets really bad, you see people begin to transform themselves into non-human animals.
“Don’t blame me for all of my flaws…I’m just a kitty!”
And so on and so forth.”
What is your spirit animal?
I want to say that I am a fennec fox, because they are my favorite animal and I love them. And I do think I have a lot in common with the fennec fox, but I think I am more likely a far more pedestrian pest, the raccoon. I can be skittish at times and I have always had very dark circles underneath my eyes. When I was young, people would ask me how I got my black eyes. “From my father,” I would answer, and I’m sure at least some of the people who received this answer had the impression that he hit me, though I meant that I’d inherited this particular unattractive trait from his genetic line.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
I’m going to assume that I am only allowed to wish for selfish things because no one wants to listen to me talk about world peace and shit. I’d wish for unquestionable, earned critical and financial success. That’s my first wish. Then I’d wish that everyone in the world could have a meaningful, analgesic experience with lost loved ones. People or pets. And I’d save that third wish for an emergency. It’s a smart thing to do, and no one ever thinks to do it. People don’t plan ahead.
What are you working on now?
I’m glad you asked! I’m working on three major projects. Two of those projects are television pilots, both comedies. They’re hilarious and new and different and awesome. The third project is my new novel, which is shaping up to be a psychological thriller, but I’m writing it, so it’s not like anything out there. If you’re in the television world or the book world and you’re interested in any of those things, you should contact me!
Lenore Zion is the author of the novel, Stupid Children (Emergency Press, 2013). Her first book, My Dead Pets are Interesting, was published by TNB Books in 2011, and she was an original contributor to The Nervous Breakdown. Zion has a doctorate in clinical psychology, a degree which spawned her interest in psychological abnormalities. Her specialty is the treatment of sexual pathology, and her dissertation focused on the paraphilias—sexual impulse disorders that include exhibitionism, pedophilia, fetishism, sadism, masochism, and frotteurism, among others. She lives in Los Angeles.