Courtesy of Mary Gaitskill
Late last year, you wrote a piece for New York magazine from the perspective of Ashley Dupré. The story features a number of famous jilted political wives who turn up doing each other’s nails. How did it come about? Actually, I was torn between writing about Ashley Dupré and Dick Cheney. I was thinking of doing a satire of the Annie Proulx story — which I liked by the way — “Tits Up in a Ditch,” which would have been called “Tits Up in Hog Heaven.” I wanted to write something humorous in which I could bend the rules of reality. I had a quicker affinity with Ashley Dupré than with Dick Cheney, though I tried to work him in; I had a version where he was writing her letters, too, but it was too long so I had to cut it. Also, I was fascinated by this phenomenon. I’m just tired of the wives being put down and acting like they’re humiliated and victimized. It’s bullshit. I’m tired of it. Look, Lilith and Eve have been playing tag team for centuries. If I were Silda [Spitzer, the former governor’s now ex-wife] I wouldn’t break up my marriage over that. She’s a prostitute for god’s sake; it wasn’t threatening her marriage.
Why do you think vampires are so prevalent in popular literature right now? What does it say about our desires? I think they are perennially popular. They’re very sexual. I think people have a fear and fascination with sex as a form of devouring, especially psychic devouring. There’s also a feeling of people starving for deeper life, like blood. The feel empty and they want to find something to suck. Vampires express out need for substance, closeness, and intimacy.
Nabokov is one of your favorite writers, and his unfinished The Original of Laura was published in November 2009, despite his wishes it be destroyed after his death. What do you want to do with your papers and unfinished work after you are gone? If I really don’t want something published, I’ll destroy it. I think that’s the only way to avoid. I actually haven’t thought too much about that, but maybe I should; I’ve written plenty of embarrassing things, certainly. I don’t think work should be published if an author doesn’t want it to be. I haven’t read The Original of Laura, but it’s a travesty to have published it. Nabokov was a perfectionist. I don’t even want to read it, frankly.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Probably working somewhere in a menial job. I’d do any work I could get. I’m a terrible worker. I’d probably be on disability. I’d probably be unemployed.