Interview with Christopher Monks / Utter Wonder
Mr. CMonks has written wonderful stories all over the place. He’s married with kids, cares about his complexion and is in a post-school teacher place in his life. He might also be involved with a foreign woman named Trinka and quite possibly with her half-sisters as well. It’s been rumored that he’s actually Val Kilmer. But more likely is that he’s a super talented and very funny writer that is in infatuated with Star Jones. You can find his work at McSweeney’s, The Morning News and here and here and here. You can also buy his reasonably priced schtick here.
September 17, 2002.
Why do you blog?
I started when I was a stay-at-home dad. It gave me something to do when I wasn’t changing diapers and attending toddler sing at the library. I’ve kept at it ever since, mainly because most of the feedback I get provides a good ego boost. (I’m a very fragile man.)
What do you talk about?
What don’t you talk about? Why?
My real life. Most of my content is fictional. For instance, the past few months I’ve been writing about living in rural Denmark with my new lover Trinka and her three half-sisters, Dagmar, Salka, and Pietta. Despite it being written with heartbreaking poignancy, none of it is true. Every once in a while I’ll write about a real event, but I usually grossly exaggerate the details. My real life is only interesting to me, so I spare the world the boring particulars.
Worst/best experience regarding something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?
The best experience is probably when little Levon, a leukemia patient from South Carolina, requested a lunch date with me for his Make-A-Wish wish. I was touched. Who knew my writing could touch the life of a little cancer boy? I mean, I knew, but others weren’t so sure, so this like totally showed them. Jerks. Plus the roast beef sandwich I ordered was fantastic.
The worst experience is detailed here. I also hate when I have glaring typos and/or grammatical errors. Thats an neverending problemm.
Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?
My favorite thing about where we live is that our house is on a private, dead end street that’s difficult for my stalkers to find me.
The worst thing about where we live is that our house is on a private, dead end street that’s difficult for my stalkers to find me.
If you were president of the US:
I’d finally get to the bottom of the whole Bigfoot thing. It’s gone on for far too long. Pisses me off.
How did the letters to Star Jones start?
There’s no great story. I just thought the idea of a bored, stay-at-home dad asking her mundane questions would be funny. But then I fell in love and everything changed.
What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
I don’t know, but whoever does will have to be extremely muscular and adept at magic.
Do you miss teaching?
I miss working with children and the camaraderie I had with colleagues. But I don’t miss the administrative/bureaucratic aspects of the job. I also don’t miss having to put fires out after lunch and recess.
Tell me about the Hall of Fame. How do you find them?
The way you phrase the question implies you think I go out and scour the streets for transients to sucker into joining my blog’s Hall of Fame. It’s not like that all. I have an unpaid intern who scours the streets for me. His name is Luke and he kind of looks like an otter.
Actually, the UWHOF started because somebody took objection to me using their photograph on my site and demanded I remove it. So I decided to honor those people who weren’t afraid of showing themselves on Utter Wonder. Over forty people have been brave and courageous and intestinal fortitudinal enough to do it. Most of them just see it as an opportunity to promote their own blog or writing career, but whatever, I can live with that; as long as it makes me look like a successful and popular blogger, I’m happy.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a baseball player in the daytime and a private investigator at night. Thus far I’m 0 for 2.
What do you hate?
All of society’s ills: racism, homophobia, poverty, sexism, Joe Theismann.
What do you love?
Do you cook?
What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?
Why haven’t you linked to me yet? I don’t understand it. I’ve sent you glowing email after glowing email telling you how funny and/or important your blogs are, yet still there is no link to Utter Wonder (http://www.utterwonder.com). I’ll link back to you. Promise.
Oh, and follow your dreams.
Astounding facts about you:
1. I enjoy television.
2. I have never lost a fistfight.
3. I once swapped a pair of black penny loafers for Ben Affleck‘s pair of maroon penny loafers. I was eighteen and it was one of the worst mistakes of my life. His shoes were a size bigger than mine. This made me feel inadequate in more ways than you can fathom.
Are you Windows or Mac? Why?
Windows. Too many anti-Microsoft people confuse being anti-Microsoft with saving the world. I find that annoying. I like Macs, though, too.
How would your wife describe you?
Beautiful. Gifted. Powerful. Unemployed. Mediocre-at-best vacuumer.
How would your new lover Trinka‘s three half-sister’s describe you?
Same as above, but substitute “Mediocre-at-best vacuumer” for “above-average vacuumer.”
What are you working on right now?
Various writing projects that I won’t go into any detail about for fear of jinxing them.
What will you being doing next year?
Hating myself for jinxing all those failed writing projects I was working on the previous year.
Is C even your first name or are you really Val Kilmer?
The first letter of my name is C. Other letters follow it, but there are a lot of them, so in the interest of equity I won’t mention each by name. As for the Val Kilmer rumors, they’re just that: rumors. I don’t know how they started, but once they did it was like wildfire, and before you could say “severe self-esteem issues” I was telling everyone I was Val Kilmer. It was cool at first because Val Kilmer has great hair and he’s slept with Cher. But after a while it got kind of old. Plus I couldn’t handle all the weight fluctuation. Regardless, no matter what anybody tells you, I am not Val Kilmer. I am C (followed by some other letters) Monks and nobody else. And should we meet by chance at a party or international dog show and I try to convince you that I am Val Kilmer, simply stay calm and call for help. Things will get sorted out shortly thereafter.
Tell me a secret?
What do you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?
“Why are you crying?”
Thanks, Mr. Monks!