Interview with Mimi Smartypants
Mimi Smartypants, verbal purger* on the subjects of crazy bus people and odd people in general, is skeletally sound, nothing like Bridget Jones, read by people far and wide, mother of Nora, married to LT and still very much Punk Rock even thought she accepted a book deal and the new and old covers both have an image of shoes.
*Not a real word
September 23, 1999. On my calendar it’s referred to as my “Dork Anniversary.”
Why do you blog?
I don’t really consider myself a “blogger” (god I hate that word), because I hardly provide timely news or commentary—I just blab about myself so I call it an “online diary.” I’ve been an obsessive diary-keeper since childhood, and published a personal zine in high school, and that just naturally led to starting to put the whole mess online when the opportunity presented itself (ie, crummy little never-redesigned free subdomain on Diaryland. And I’m STILL THERE!)
What do you talk about?
Mostly it’s the “what I did today” kind of entries, with frequent digressions into stuff I’ve been thinking about or odd things I’ve noticed.
What don’t you talk about? Why?
I don’t talk about work, for obvious reasons, and I don’t talk about my marriage too much because that’s just not fair.
Best experience re: something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?
Everyone’s probably expecting me to say that having part of my diary published in book form was my best experience, but no freaking way. It’s been surreal, but not particularly good or bad. I’ve met some real-life friends through online writing, and I’ve had opportunities to do “readings” and whatnot that I’ve really enjoyed. Despite my pseudonym and lack of photographs, I don’t mind appearing in public all that much, especially if it’s a local thing.
Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?
Chicago kicks so much ass in so many ways: great cheap bars, great cheap food, great old houses/apartments, great transit system with the perfect amount of ranting crazy people to keep me entertained. And it has seasons—I’m a big fan of seasons. Although that’s probably the worst part too—100 degrees in the summer, super freezy and snowy in the winter. Only
the strong survive here.
If you were president of the US:
I would insist on a really cool Secret Service code name.
What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
Why would there ever be a movie of my life?
Best and worst thing about being you:
I’m excessively able to see other people’s points of view, even if I don’t agree, and to see a problem/idea from a zillion different angles. This is one of the worst things too, because my brain can get so busy being fair and judicious that I can forget what *I* actually believe.
Black, unless I’m not allowed to say black; in that case, purple.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Writer, editor, and radio host. I still have some cassette tapes of my fake “shows,” and they are unbelievably funny in that cringeworthy embarrassing way.
What are your hobbies?
I mostly just read and write. And I try to start bar fights sometimes, but it never really works out.
What do you hate?
People who take themselves seriously. And beets.
What do you love?
People who don’t. And Earl Grey tea.
What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything? Do you hate that question?
I think I hate that question.
Astounding facts about you:
I don’t know if it’s “astounding,” but I’ve never broken a bone or had a cavity. I have a good skeleton.
Are you Windows or Mac? Why?
Windows. No reason, except that LT is a database programmer so that’s what we have around the house.
Who are your heroes?
I don’t know about heroes, but I’ve often thought about putting together a Justice League, for ass-kicking and general justice-dispensing: Nora would be on it, and NFL referee Ed Hochuli, and maybe Queen Latifah.
How would your husband describe you? And your daughter?
My husband says “kind,” “organized,” and “skinny,” which is not true but he can say it all he wants. My daughter says “funny Mommy,” but she’s a pretty easy audience.
Why did your book first come out in the UK and not the USA?
There’s no real reason behind that except that HarperCollins UK got interested in it first, and then sold the rights to HarperCollins US. The UK was fine to work with—they spell everything funny, and for a while they wanted me to explain the “El” and “O’Hare” but when I said “Piss off you provincial gits” they relented. (Note: I did not actually say that.)
The cover and your reaction to it have been talked about and talked about so I’m not going to ask you anything about it except: if you had to assign the whole book-cover experience the name of a beer, what would it be?
Ugh. Something overpriced and middle-of-the-road like Heineken.
Your book comes out in the US the first part of next year, yes? Is there anything different about it besides the cover?
I think it came out shortly after New Year’s—there’s a few extra entries, some less-funny stuff taken out, and some copy editing (although I’ve found errors—grrrr!), but it’s pretty much the same book.
Are you doing a parenting book?
Oh please. There’s a slight possibility of another book that’s just more diary about life with Nora, but mostly I feel like I’ve overstayed my welcome already.
Your blog gets linked to all over the net. You don’t have sidebar links but do you link to other bloggers in your entries or anywhere else? Who do you read?
Sometimes I link to people, but it’s rare. I read Finslippy, Bad News Hughes, and a few others pretty regularly. I like anyone who can tell a mundane story in a funny way. To tell the truth, I’m a bad “blog” citizen, and I don’t really participate in the whole linky circle-jerk thing very much.
One interview I read said: “We warn you, get ready to duck from the tart tongue of Mimi Smartypants.” Dude. That not only sounds dumb but it’s harsh. The guy from the station that canceled the night before with his ‘don’t blame me – I just work here’ shoulder shruggin attitude = loser. I’ve forgotten to phrase as a question. Leahpeah = loser.
I had so much fun dissing him online about that. I had no idea they were going to make it part of the story, but that only made it funnier.
Has having the book experience happen changed the way you blog?