Mary Miller's short story collection, Big World, was published by Short Flight/Long Drive Books in February. Her stories have been published in Black Clock, Mississippi Review, Oxford American, New Stories from the South, 2008 and McSweeney's Quarterly (forthcoming). She is an associate editor at Quick Fiction.
SP: when you are in public and it feels like everyone is staring at you, how do you imagine your body disappearing? does it like, turn to water then sink into the ground? does it explode? do tell.
MM: I never imagine disappearing. If I’m walking, which I usually am, and fast, I handle it by shaking my ass, which is sort of fun until a seven-year-old asks why you’re walking like that and then you feel like an idiot. I think about doing inappropriate things like spitting or picking my nose but I’m too vain and timid.
SP: one time i saw a middle aged woman at the mall wearing christmas socks and the christmas socks made me horny. what is an article of clothing that can make you horny?
MM: One time this boy came over to my house while there was a monsoon outside and he was soaking wet so I had to find him something to wear and he ended up in my junior high basketball t-shirt that used to hang down to my knees and a little swimsuit cover-up type skirt with a flower on it. It was pretty hot. He doesn’t like me anymore, though, so I can’t call him, like, right now to come over, which is sad. Thanks a lot, Sam.
SP: if you took a picture of yourself and then wrote a caption, what would the caption be?
MM: It depends on what the picture looked like. Is it a good picture, a bad picture, or an okay picture? No girl would have asked this question.
SP: what is your ideal halloween costume?
MM: I never, ever dress up for Halloween because I am lazy and the only way I would have a costume is if someone put me in one. A few times someone has and it was always terrible, like the time I had to be the ugliest Spice Girl.
SP: what are some titles for books you would like to write?
MM: I’m no good at titles.
SP: what is your favorite season and can you describe a birthday party that that season would throw for itself?
MM: I like fall a lot because it’s not too hot and not too cold but I also like spring because there are a lot of thunderstorms, like now. I like to lie in my bed in the dark with my window open and watch the lightning (does this make you want to love me?) The birthday party bit is completely outside the realm of my imagination.
SP: how come my roommate never says "thank you" when i cook extra food?
MM: Your roommate is a boy, right?
SP: if i built a big maze by connecting a bunch of refrigerator boxes, what are some rules i should put in place?
MM: For me to navigate your maze, or are you talking about before that, like how should you construct it? That’s your business. I think you should be telling me what the rules are here. Do you always seek input when making up rules?
SP: if i were trying to get you to love me, what would i have to do? is it possible to love someone after he or she pushes you to the ground and laughs at it? how do you repair a relationship in which one member has pushed the other member to the ground and laughed?
MM: Did you just call me “it?” For starters, don’t do that. You would have to not do drugs every day and not be a drunk and have some ambition of some sort, I don’t really care which kind. Also, the pushing and laughing wouldn’t work because I’m sort of uptight and sensitive, you know? I think this would probably knock you out of the running.
SP: describe a really good hug?
MM: Who’s hugging me here? Is it my uncle, the weird one, or is it the boy in my basketball t-shirt? Either way, it would probably be pretty short.
SP: what is one or more behavior(s) that people do that make you quietly think "we have nothing in common"?
MM: Probably when they get really drunk and start playing beer pong and the straight girls start making out with each other on a night when I’m trying to be good and sober, sitting in front of a 60 inch tv watching someone play Mario Kart.
SP: what is you favorite "ERNEST" movie and why?
MM: I vaguely remember Ernest Goes to Camp, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it.
SP: do you like me and if so, can we be friends?
MM: You’re pretty cute.