Friday, August 28, 2009

"Whoa, RayRay, slow down! Do the loopty loop, Sally!" [Molly Gaudry Takes A Test]

Name: Molly Gaudry

Date: August 27, 2009
Molly Gaudry/ We Take Me Apart 101

Directions: Read each question and answer accordingly. Please use complete sentences and proper handwriting techniques. Ergonomics is a plus. To receive full credit, all work must be shown (for the most part).


1. If a train is traveling north at a rate of 36 frames per second, and a duck is flying south at a rate of 14 quacks per beak, when will your novella, We Take Me Apart, be available?

As the crow flies over train quacks, December 2009.

2. If the current of a river is flowing at the same rate as the current of a stream, eastward—well, a little bit northward too, how long did it take to complete We Take Me Apart, from the first word or thought to the final draft?

If the river is the highway from Chicago to Philadelphia (it is not), and the title came to me on that drive (it did), and the current draft is the final draft (it is), then from start to finish it took six months exactly to complete (south by southwest).

3. If the sun's ray shines at 1,000 vectors/ latitude, and longitude didn't exist, and the equator consisted of pebbles, what were some of the difficult aspects of writing this novella?

In the beginning, the novella forgot to put on sunblock and its cover got burnt. This was before it had a cover. This was before it had a manuscript. This was when it was just a ten-page poem that thought it was too long to be a poem and too short to be anything else. Then, out of the vectors/latitude, swooped J. A. Tyler, who said, “Fear not. MLP is thinking of expanding and wants to read a full-length manuscript. Are you up for the challenge?” The novella answered, “Why, of course I am!” but for many weeks, possibly even months, it did nothing but eat peanut M&Ms (that resembled the equator in both size and shape) and obsess over how it would never become a full-length anything because everything that needed to be said had been said already in those ten pages. Approaching its first-draft deadline, the novella freaked out! The novella had a good cry and long bath and probably quite a few cigarettes (although it has since quit smoking), then deleted itself and started over! The novella made lists of words from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons and very quickly became a series of stand-alone, word-association poems. The novella was pleased with itself. The novella offered itself to MLP, and MLP said, “Yes.” The most difficult thing the novella had ever done was delete itself and start over, at the risk of losing its potential publisher. But the novella believed in itself. The novella now encourages all brave souls to delete and start over, to always delete and start over in difficult times, especially in lands without longitude.

4. If RayRay is riding his bike around the block at the rate of 44 spokes per liter, and Sally doesn't tie her shoelaces at the normal, average rate of 1.01 laces per sole, what were some books that you first read that really hooked your interest into reading and writing?

Whoa, RayRay, slow down! Do the loopty loop, Sally! Oh, let’s see. The Wind in the Willows, Heidi, The Secret Garden, and Little Women got me hooked; I absolutely wore out the covers on the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books; I devoured all the Molly books in the American Girl series, and everything by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike; probably the first handful of books that we would deem “serious literature” and that made me stop and go, “Whoa, kid, slow down!” would include Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land, and Richard Wright’s Black Boy and Native Son, which I read the summer before my senior year of high school. And then Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude solidified it all, when I was a sophomore in college. That was the book that made me get serious.

5. If DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and if RNA stands for Ribonucleic Acid, what do you stand for (if you're standing)?

I am sitting, but I stand for equality for all things having DNA and RNA, especially human beings who identify as LGBT and/or Q.

6. If 3X + 2N = 14, and X and N are really whole numbers, but they don't equal 2 or 6 (respectively), and this mathematical equation didn't exist in other worldly forms, what is your writing process—are you a morning writer, night writer, anytime writer?

At 3X in the morning, at 2N in the afternoon, and at 14 past the hour, I am either writing X or thinking about writing N in one way or another. When I have the luxury of setting my own schedule, I prefer to write through the night, to sleep when the sun comes up, to rise in the early afternoon, to edit through the evening, and to get back to the writing when the sun goes down. When I do not have this luxury, I am an anytime writer.

7. If the water from a waterfall falls at the standard rate of twenty-three (23) Celsius per gallon, are you working on anything else right now?

I love waterfalls! And, alas, I have not really been writing at all lately. It’s refreshing, though, much like I imagine twenty-three (23) Celsius per gallon is also refreshing. I don’t know. I have a few things in the works, but I’ve maybe thought them into an early grave. One of them, a collection of stories titled Rosalia details the women in a town called Rosalia, as they prepare for Rosalia, an annual feast. There are logistical things I haven’t quite figured out, which have perhaps indefinitely stalled the project. I’m not worried about it, though. Something will come. Soon enough.

8. If the earth is on its axis, and the axis is made out of platinum, and the earth rotates no more that a billion (1 and I forget how many zeros following the 1) watts per voltage, what classes do you teach and what classes would you like to teach?

As the world turns, these are the days of our lives, and as the earth on its platinum axis rotates, I teach freshman composition courses and Introduction to Literature. Not long ago, I worked for a non-profit literacy organization and taught the GED to post-incarcerated men and women living in a halfway house. In a perfect world, I will one day teach creative writing courses full-time, at the university level. We’ll see how that pans out, though. The competition is out there, and it is not playing around.

9. If Lorrie and Chauncey are jump roping at a rate of 8X kilometers/mile, in 15 words or less or more, what is writing, or what is writing like to you?

Lorrie (1) and (2) Chauncey (3) really (4) have (5) a (6) rhythm (7) going (8) there (9), don’t (10) they (11)! A (12) puzzle (13), put (14) together (15).

10. If Cassius Clay's pen name was Samuel Clemens, and Jaleel White met Billy Crystal on the Walk Of Fame and they talked to each other at the rate of a truck passing up a car on the right lane on a Saturday afternoon with the humidity at 94% (non-windy day), what are your favorites—movies, food, writers, books, drinks, directors, music, weather, writing medium (pen, pencil, computer), place to write, colors, sounds, and anything else you can think of?

Favorite alliteration: Cassius Clay. Favorite name / pen name: Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain. Favorite romantic comedy that doesn’t star Cameron Diaz or Drew Barrymore: When Billy Crystal Met Meg Ryan. Favorite kind of Saturday afternoon: one without 94% humidity, spent in jeans and a T-shirt, with chamomile tea and good stuff to read, raindrops splattering the windows. Favorite movies: Pixar. Favorite food: Do peanut M&Ms count? Favorite books: Oh boy. How about Lydia Millet’s My Happy Life, Kate Bernheimer’s The Complete Tales of Merry Gold, and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red. And I can’t wait for Claudia Smith’s Put Your Head in My Lap (Future Tense, 2009). Favorite directors: I have no idea. There’s a young animator named Aaron Quinn who is known for his short films. I’ve been keeping an eye on his work, as I especially enjoyed his interpretations of “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “Through the Looking Glass.” Favorite drinks: hands down, a dirty martini (vodka, though, not gin. I know. I know!) and if I’m in a beer mood, Newcastle or Red Stripe. I absolutely need my coffee in the morning (although, oddly, I never know the difference if I have decaf). Favorite music: I’ve been listening to a lot of Dirty Three. And I love that song “Wake Up” in the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are. I also just discovered, which is way better than Pandora, I think, and I love the “Jason Molina” station. (His dad was my 7th and 8th grade science teacher!) Favorite weather: storms. I love storms. And I love fall days. I love hay rides and hot cider. I love people just hanging out on cold autumn afternoons. Favorite writing medium: for journaling, pen and notebook; for writing, computer. Favorite place to write: in public, coffee shops; in private, my desk. Favorite colors: all of them, I think. Favorite sounds: water burbling over stones and air rustling leafy branches. Favorite adjective: gentle.

Extra Credit (Optional): If a kangaroo hops at a rate of 11 square feet per geometry, on level ground, and it's dark outside, but it's almost about to be morning, what draws you to writing and reading?

I love that moment, the dark-outside-and-about-to-be-morning moment. It is one of my favorite moments to enjoy, truly. Maybe it is this moment that draws me to writing, the quiet feeling that no one else is here but me, at least for now, until the birds and traffic and neighbors and everything else all start humming, saying, “Hey, we’re here too. Hello. Glad you could join us.” Additionally, I was never big on wild animals, so becoming a wilderness guide was out (sorry, kangaroos), and I was never any good at math (although I did enjoy geometry more than algebra), so instead I turned to words. The words I find myself turning to these days are those less interested in what they are saying than they are in how they’re being said. Give me form, and give me form I’ve never seen, form that defies being form, at that.

Did I pass the test?



  1. Awesome--thanks, Stackers. About to beat the rain to get a 'sippi (second one only).

  2. Thanks again, Shome! You're awesome.

  3. Thank you for answering the questions and making it really fun!