Dear Writer: I’d Like to Interview You For a *Major* Magazine by Aizlyn B




Prose


 


"Consulting the Oracle," by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas. 1884. Credit: Christie's.
“Consulting the Oracle,” by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas. 1884. Credit: Christie’s.

 

Hi! I’d like to interview you for a major magazine and am sending along these few questions for you. Please respond at your earliest convenience.

Thank you!

Aizlyn

PS: I read your latest book and it is amazing!

First things first: do you like dogs? I have two. Do you have any? Corollary: are you a dog person or a cat person or neither?

You are a teacher. Do you think writing can be taught? Or is it kind of guiding process? I am an economics professor and believe that the ideas, or mechanics, of economics (yields, macro scales, production curves, rates of employment) can be taught. But to apply them [e.g. Why is this all happening (i.e. like applying socioeconomic theory and “stepping out there” instead of hiding behind numbers and statistical mumbo jumbo)?], one kind of needs to think for oneself. One needs to do. I am sure the mechanics of writing can be taught, but is there a correlation between mechanics and application? Additionally, what makes “good” writing. As opposed to mechanically efficient writing?

Choose: Warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett? Are you an oracle or a parrothead? Have you ever been to Omaha or Margaritaville? Just asking as you may have read my recent paper, “Buffett on Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha through the lens of the Oracle of Margaritaville, or, why Warren is a Parrothead.”

Do you use email a lot? I’m a big email person. Do you always use an email signature or sign off with your name? I recently read a Forbes article saying that email sign-offs are now gauche. Where do you stand on this?

If you are an email person, do you send or receive many ecards? This is a pretty selfish question on my part, as I am gauging ecard adoption versus printed cards, and am teaching a course on some of this over the summer: the production value and economics of free e-cards. Syllabus topics include: labor pricing as a function of workplace internet use devoted to sending free e-cards, LIBOR rate fluctuations due to one’s despair at not receiving an e-card when everyone else in the office is receiving one or being forwarded something quite funny (or, conversely, getting an e-card, only to realize that it is a joke e-card poking fun at your despair), and commodities futures speculation based on upwardly trending most popular e-cards.

I think it’s rather vulgar to refer to oneself in the third person. I rarely say my name aloud. And I rarely say anyone’s name when addressing them, usually just stating something or saying, “Hey, uh, statement xyz.”  Do you do that?

What are you working on now, if you can say or give a hint?

Read any good books lately? Anything to share?

Any plans for the summer? Are you teaching? Any books on the syllabus that you want to point out? Or any assignments for our readers to take on?

Do you have any words of advice for a budding writer who needs a push to go forward with their dream?

Are you a famous writer? Or just a human who reads occasionally? Email your responses to: AizlynB

***

Aizlyn B is a professor of economics. She is currently writing a book about the Art of the Interview. Aizlyn has also interviewed some very famous people. Of note: Gary H. Stern (not Gary Stern of Stern Pinball, Inc.), Abhijit Banerjee (!), Kaushik Basu, and Marianne Bertrand.