Enjoy getting to know, Warren Alexander:
Thank you for joining me today. Tell us in three words how you would best describe your writing.
Funny, clever, nettlesome.
Your book, Cousin’s Club, was released in April 2017. Share a passage that you’d like for us to enjoy.
“Look! Here’s an envelope from Flora,” my mother said, “but it’s empty.”
“What’s the postmark?”
“Los Alamos, New Mexico.”
“Isn’t that where Davy Crockett died?”
You’ve been presented with the opportunity to be a best-selling author, but can never write again, or write forever, but never have a bestseller. Which scenario sounds more tempting?
I write, so I can write some more. I would be shocked if any novel of mine became a best-seller. In any event, I would refuse any Faustian arrangement.
If you could live on a college campus and never leave, or live in a small town but be able to travel, which one would you choose?
If you chose either Princeton, NJ or Berkeley, CA then you could have both.
Okay, how about in an amusement park or in an airport?
I found neither amusing nor comfortable.
And how about Ireland or Germany?
Very narrow and arbitrary choices. The Irish literary tradition is incalculable, especially when you consider their small population.
Who is your favorite 90’s band (I’m thinking Counting Crows, Blink 182, Hootie & the Blowfish)?
I am an old guy and like the oxymoronic category Classic Rock. So, in the same vein, I would take REM.
Are there any good bands out there today that we’ll talk about in 50 years?
Is there a group called “I Haven’t A Clue.”
And what about your favorite comedy on TV (My favorite is still The Office)?
This is a subject I could actually speak about for days and never bore myself. Others surely, myself, no. I like comedies with an edge, wit, and with a large dash of irreverence. Of today’s lot, I like Larry David and Veep with Julia-Louise Dreyfus.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
I am working on a satiric novel about business. It is my revenge after 45 years of working. I am also working on a short story about a saxophone player and a changing neighborhood.
Who is your favorite author and if you could ask him/her one question, what would it be?
Laurence Sterne. This is no one magic question or answer. And if you think there is, you will miss the last 50 years of your life.
Ocean or mountains?
If I am on skis, the mountains, in a boat well…..
Yogurt or ice cream?
When you start to hear kids scream after a ball game, “We want yogurt,” it is time to move to a cave.
Chocolate or Sour Candy?
When was the last time someone said that they could not live without sour candy? Can you imagine bringing giving sour candies on Valentine’s Day? Now, there’s a guy who will be lonely for a while.
Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert?
Colbert, Fallon is Late Night Lite.
Happy or sad ending to a novel?
I hate happy endings but sad endings must make sense.
Beer or wine?
Flying or driving?
Don’t own a car or a plane.
Hemingway or Twain?
Twain. Wit and insight. Hemingway always gets in his own way with his macho BS. As time passes Hemingway will become more of a historical curiosity than a literary lion.
You’re stranded on a desert island, and you can take two things with you, as well as two people. What and who are you bringing?
Something better than a volleyball. I would take my wife and someone who would know better than to recommend a diet of seaweed.
You’re able to sit down with any leader in world history. Who would you choose, what would you talk about, and would you rather have him/her over to your house, or meet at their place of royalty?
Nebuchadnezzar so I can ask him what his friends called him, but at his place because I doubt he would he would bring the right cookies. I would choose either Václav Havel or Nelson Mandela and ask the differences between being a dissident and the leader of the same nation.
You can wish for one thing and one thing only (not world peace and no more wishes). What’s it gonna be?
An appreciation of others.
Warren Alexander was born, raised, and still lives in New York City. He was identified as a cynic by his kindergarten teacher, and he honed this quality under the tutelage of Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, and E. L. Doctorow at NYU, where he received his MA in creative writing. He recently came in second in Cutthroat’s fiction contest, judged by Michael Matrone. He is also a decorated photographer.