The Write Stuff: Chris Cole on Improvisation Without the Jazz Hands

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

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Rachel Maier
Chris Cole was born in Los Angeles before the Internet and now lives in Northern California. He is a board member of the S.F. lit series Quiet Lightning (full disclosure: founded by the author), and has been published in several anthologies, magazines, journals, websites and bathroom walls. He runs the West Coast office for a killer user experience agency called EffectiveUI and he coaches West Marin Little League games like nobody's business. And, he is nice to animals.

Chris is also co-founder of Pints and Prose, the Fairfax-based reading series founded by the Tuesday Night Writers. He writes daily verse and prose under the name Disembodied Poetics. Such Great Heights is his first novel.


When people ask what do you do, you tell them ... ?
Depends what time of the day it is.

What's your biggest struggle -- work or otherwise?
Otherwise.

If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
It won't work, you can only do what you do. Anything less, and they'll be able to see right through you.

Do you consider yourself successful? Why?
Kids mostly. They say people are 98 percent water or whatever. Well parents are 98 percent kids.

When you're sad/grumpy/pissed off, what YouTube video makes you feel better?
Between Two Ferns:


Do you have a favorite ancestor? What is his/her story?
I have a bunch of firemen in my family (Grandfather, Uncle, etc.). My earliest memories and pictures are from the inside of firehouses.

Who did you admire when you were 10 years old? What did you want to be?
I think I wanted to be Hal Asby. I had been through a run of his movies and pretty much knew I either wanted to make or watch movies for a living.

Would you ever perform a striptease? Describe some of your moves. Feel free to set the mood.
As far as mood, all the lights are off. That is key. Then I pretty much just improv. No jazz hands, though. You'd think they'd be good, but no.

How much money do you have in your checking account?
Barely enough.

What's wrong with society today?
Nothing a little literature and turpentine couldn't cure.

What is your fondest memory?
I'm sure it's one I can't even remember.

How many times do you fall in love each day?
5-7 +/- 1

When you have sex, what are some of the things you like to do?
I'm usually pretty occupied with the act itself to consider other activities as well. But if I had to pick, maybe jet-skiing.

What are you working on right now?
A proposal for a conceptual design of a futuristic banking model.

What kind of work would you like to do? Or: what kind of writing do you most admire?
I'd like to write for TV. When it's done well, it's very satisfying, and there's a lot of good stuff in that medium right now. Relatively speaking.

If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
More effective public transportation from the North Bay.

A night on the town: What does that mean to you?
Friends. Walks. Conversations that take time out of mind.

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?
I saw some pretty strange things in a mirror once living in Venice Beach when I was 19.

What can you do with 50 words? 50 dollars?
Not much these days. Inflation has set in everywhere. We're down to 140 characters per thought and up to $5 per gallon.

What are some of your favorite smells?
There's a plant that I can never figure out the name of, a California shrub/plant that smells like a pool looks in summer when you're 5. Whenever I smell it I instantly regress to a wonderful place that I can almost picture. It's one of those things that's genuine magic.

If you got an all-expenses-paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
A journey through my past.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. This interview conducted by Evan Karp. Follow Litseen at @Litseen.


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