About Buzzy Jackson
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. Frozen yogurt jockey; Tennis hostess; HR flack; NATO headquarters tour guide; waitress (2 wks); FM radio DJ; Professor of History; Museum docent; Newsstand op; Literary agency assistant; NBC Sports gopher; NCAA study hall monitor.
Q. Favorite job
A. Researching and writing books. I love the smell of the library in the morning.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Proud graduate of Truckee-Tahoe High School (CA), UCLA, and UC Berkeley.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. Tom Waits or Nick Cave; whoever wins the arm-wrestling contest. Also: Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Prince, and Bach.
Q. Favorite movie
A. Paris, Texas. It helped me appreciate the American West of my childhood.
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Wire; Arrested Development; Grey's Anatomy; The Twilight Zone; America's Test Kitchen; Ren and Stimpy; NOVA.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. A serendipitous quest for wisdom and strong coffee.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. - Carl Sagan
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I can't describe it, but if you listen to Bill Evans you'll know what it sounds like.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. The public docks at Donner Lake, in my hometown of Truckee, California.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Walt Whitman - not because I'm anything like him, but I love the way he understood the universe.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Anyone who stands up for justice.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Friends tell me I say "basically" a lot, so I'm trying to work in "fundamentally" more often now.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Wasting time on regret.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Virtuosic guitar skills. For some reason the only instrument I ever learned to play was trombone. Bass trombone. And my trombone skills were not virtuosic by any standard, though I did win Rookie of the Year.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Quitting a dreadful job as a cocktail waitress in mid-shift may not have been my greatest achievement, but it was certainly a great day for me. Very little feels as good as slamming down a plastic tray full of overpriced Long Island Iced Teas and stepping out into the freedom of a warm summer's day.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I've never won an Oscar, for starters.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Modestly, obviously.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. A giant redwood tree in a protected grove, somewhere on the coast of Northern California.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. Modestly, obviously.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Captain Haddock, Jane Eyre, and Krazy Kat.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Hal 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Jack Torrance (The Shining).
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Samuel Beckett, who once said: "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness." So I would settle for (silently) buying him a drink.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Casual cruelty.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Imagining the perfect unwritten book.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Paramedic or wildlife biologist. Or geneticist. Or astronomer. Or...
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Sense of humor, kindness, and a grasp of basic grammar.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Ripe summer peaches from Colorado's Western Slope.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. The entire soundtrack to "Paris, Texas," by Ry Cooder; "Peace Piece," by Bill Evans; "Re: Stacks," by Bon Iver; "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis," by Tom Waits; "Mannish Boy," by Muddy Waters.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Ursula LeGuinSamuel BeckettJorge Luis BorgesP.G. WodehouseWalt WhitmanIan FrazierMargaret AtwoodTerry SouthernGreil MarcusJohn Lanchester
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuinFicciones by Jorge Luis BorgesCloud Atlas by David MitchellLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. There are writers who inspire, and then there are writers who both inspire and intimidate. When you sit down to write, focus on the former.