But, I lived in Europe for the second part of that year, and there’s almost nothing about that experience. It’s just all about my interior ongoing problems and worries and anxieties. It’s just boring. It’s repetitive, I guess. It doesn’t make for very good reading. It’s very uninteresting.

ES: In The Two Kinds of Decay you talk about an anxiety you had about having lost time — feeling that you had lost time as a result of your illness. Are you still anxious about time in that way?


SM: No. The feeling that I was writing about in The Two Kinds of Decay was that I was 21 and instead of having all these elemental, early adult experiences I was in the hospital that year, and the four years following, off and on. That’s not something that I really worry about anymore. I mean, I think I hadn’t yet shed that delusion that experiences are what make a person. It’s really the digestion of experiences that make a person. The most mundane experiences digested by the most interesting mind can make for very compelling writing and a compelling person, whereas cosmetically or apparently interesting experiences digested by a not very attentive or interesting mind can just make for a lot of boring stuff.


ES: Lastly, who’s your favorite wag — a joker or wit, alive or dead — and why?


SM: Oh, I don’t do favorites. But, let’s see. Who do I laugh the hardest at? Well, for the last decade at least, I have enjoyed just about every recorded utterance that Jack Black has produced. So I should probably say him. But, I feel sort of mildly devastated every time I have to declare a favorite. Oh, god. I just always know it’s wrong. As soon as I say it, I just know it’s wrong. But, Jack Black is funny. I think I’ll get over your having forced my hand.