About Arlaina Tibensky
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. teacher, grant writer, potter, usher, barista, editor for a yogi
Q. Favorite job
A. Writing is by far my favorite but I was pretty bliss-filled making pots and selling them at art shows.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Nazareth Academy for HS, University of Wisconsin, Madison for undergrad, and Columbia University in NY for an MFA in writing
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
Q. Favorite movie
A. Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Q. Favorite television show
A. Mad Men and True Blood are going to have to duke it out between themselves.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Sleepless, caffeinated, passionate, surprising, loving, an eternal mystery,
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. The only things you will regret are the things you didn't do'
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Everyone I love most in one big room eating and dancing and drinking and laughing with little kids running around with olives on their fingers and waiters walking around with flaming things, kebabs, flaming cheese, fondue.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. It is so terrifying to me that if I tell you I'm afraid it will come true.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Barcelona- with a table full of tapas awaiting my fork.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Frida Kahlo
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My mother. It's true.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I know!
Q. What do you regret most?
A. It's a long story but there was a time in Africa with my mom when I refused to go on a second day of gorilla tracking and sat in a hotel room in Kigali journaling and watching lizards walk across the walls. What was I thinking?
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To live and not need to sleep.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Stay tuned...
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I sometimes forget to listen to my wise, loving, fearless inner voices and only listen to the mean, undermining, and insecure ones.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. My sense of humor, of course!
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Eh- I don't want to be anybody I'm not.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My laugh. Completely charming or heartstabbingly annoying, depending on your overall perspective.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Olympia Binewski from Katherine Dunn's Geek Love
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Snow White's evil, vain, drop-dead beautiful stepmother who wants her heart "in this box!"
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Teddy Roosevelt. "Kiss me, you fool."
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. When children have dirty ears. Especially mine. Is that insane?
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Making and selling pottery. And face painting. Both really lucrative second careers.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I think this fiction writing thing's got me covered. Although I've always wanted to be an advertising creative and/or standup comedian, which are different versions of what I'm loving doing now.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Integrity. Honesty. Sense of freaking humor.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Authentic Mexican food of all kinds.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. What a cruel question. These are in no particular order: Hey, by The Pixes, The Money Song from Cabaret (the Alan Cumming version), Vicious by Lou Reed, Stand and Deliver by Adam Ant, and Blister in the Sun by The Violent Femmes. Each one of those songs makes me feel like the strongest version of myself that there is. They were all on the playlist for AND THEN THINGS FALL APART.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Jane Bowles, A.M. Homes, Issac Babel, Dorothy Parker, James Cain, Denis Johnson, J.D. Salinger, Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenedies...Stop me before I hurt someone.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. The Bell Jar (duh!)MiddlesexGeek LoveThe Safety of ObjectsThe Portable Dorothy ParkerThe Master and MargaritaThe extra one is a bonus and free of charge.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. I'm not a big re-reader. There are too many books. Too little time. That's a bumper sticker on some awesome librarian's car, I'm sure.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Don't give up, don't be scared, and don't forget to read.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. I'll let you know as soon as I know.