1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How does your day go?
I try to stay within the temporality of the writing life. This means I try to write everyday. Usually that happens in the morning, when I’m heavily drugged with caffeine. This makes me sound more industrious and disciplined than I perhaps am. I only very rarely write more than 3 hours a day. When I hear about writers who spend 8 hours or more scribbling, I am awed and not a little envious. And then the afternoons are spent reading—doing research—and I usually swim some laps after that. This would be an ideal day, though. I am also good at wasting time—city wandering, strolling about museums, daydreaming in parks.
2. What made you decide to write (or teach):
Writing is a means to realize the self, for me, a way of developing (like a photograph) what I think and feel. Also like a photograph, writing catches the moment in time. The writer can feel like she holds onto time, through and in the words on the page.
3. What do you do in your spare time? If you have any, that is?
I like to read trash, and I often go see Hollywood movies of the worst sort. Reading in different settings is also nice—on a park bench, in a local café, on a friend’s couch. I am also a fan of walking—anywhere and nowhere. It helps to live in the most fascinating city in the world, one of the best places for the flâneur. I’m also a collector of things from the past, especially strange Victoriana, like jewelry made out of human hair.
4. What is your favorite book? Movie? Sex toy?
My favorite writer is probably Roland Barthes or Marcel Proust. I can read their work over and over again and always feel freshly moved. I’ve lately been into “time loop” movies, ones that also play with a sense of permanent redemption, like La Jetee, Groundhog Day, Donnie Darko, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sacrifice, Don’t Look Now, and Silent Light. I had the great good fortune to work with Stan Brakhage for a time.
5. What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? The top thing on your personal bucket list?
I am one of those lucky few who is able to do what I most want to do, almost everyday of my life.
6. What’s your personal romantic (or erotic) fantasy?
Being an occasionally melancholy person—even when it comes to romance—I sometimes wish I could go back and redo and relive. I suppose many of my fantasies have to do with regret and failure, all of which might be redeemed. This makes me an oddly hopeful person, along with my sometimes gloominess.
7. What’s next for you?
I’m working on two books right now. One is about objects treasured by the Victorians because they belonged to someone who had died. I call them “secular relics.” The other is on women Spiritualists—ghost raisers—of the Victorian period.
My website: deborahlutz.com
And a great article in the NY Times on me, that came out a couple of weeks ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/realestate/24habi.html