Keith Snyder
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5 Questions

Five Questions from Kenny.

1) How is biking analogous to the rest of life?

If you don't pedal, you can't go uphill.

2) What existing book do you wish you had written instead of its current author?

I don't get that feeling. What I get are "Wow, that's amazing..." and "Wow... I have to improve."

- The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevsky. If any book has illuminated for me the difference between novels and movies, this is it. The depth and detail in which you come to know the characters just can't be achieved with visuals and dialogue.

- Picasso at the Lapine Agile - Steve Martin (a play, not a book). I went to see it twice in L.A. when I really couldn't afford even once. It was just so funny and agile... both times, I drove home half-depressed and half-elated.

- If On A Winter's Night A Traveler - Italo Calvino. Although it's known best for its "postmodernism," what I loved about it was the way its structure was so largely responsible for its emotional effect. I also loved how it continually hooked me over and over with first chapters--after all, first chapters are often the most fun part of a book. So I got to read the most fun parts and not worry about following plots or having to digest exposition.

Those are the three that come immediately to mind. I may append more later...

3) You are captured by aliens, they want to know the top 5 mental/personality traits that define the quintessential human.

What I'd tell them:

  1. Our single defining trait is our ability to destroy nosy aliens with one flick of our mighty brains, so don't piss me off, buster.

What I really think is that we have tensions between our preferences for:

  1. Fear and curiosity
  2. Expertise and aspiration
  3. Comfort and excitement
  4. Certainty and truth

These four each consist of one element that's static vs. another that's dynamic. They all boil down to the known vs. the unknown.

  1. The self-constructive instinct and the self-destructive instinct.

This isn't static vs. dynamic. What's hard about this one is that I think it's easy for some people to get confused about which is which.

4) What was your biggest childhood fear and if you've gotten over it, how?

I'm not sure I remember my biggest one... but: Loud noises, initiating conversation with strangers... I'm not sure what else. All the things I'm most pleased with having accomplished as an adult are things that were most frightening before I did them. I wasn't sure I could write a novel; then I wasn't sure I could write a better one; and so on. It's gotten to where if I'm not viscerally afraid of it, it's not worth doing.

5) What's the invention of the 21st Century that has helped you the most as a writer?

The credit card. Everything else, you can do with a pen, notepad, and library.

This was fun, Kenny. Thanks! (And is there a way for me to have an OL list start with item #5?)

1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.
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