Adam Gnade, fiction writer, only drinks when the work is over — and tells The Pitch Questionnaire that the work is ‘rarely over’

Instagram handle: @adamgnade. I don’t post often but I try to kick ass and take names when I do.

Hometown: San Diego, California, though I’m a long time gone.

Current neighborhood: The towns I live nearest are Lansing and Leavenworth, but I’m not within the limits of either. I live out in the country, on a farm. Unincorporated land.

What I do (in 140 characters or less): I write a series of books and what I call “talking songs,” with connected plots and characters. It’s fiction as much as anything can be when you write about real life. My stuff comes out on Three One G and Pioneers Press.

What’s your addiction? Solitude

What’s your game? Pretty OK at dominoes when the mood strikes.

What’s your drink? Three shots of whiskey in a glass, and not often. My rule is, only drink when the work is over, and the work is rarely over.

Where’s dinner? Columbus Park Ramen

What’s on your KC postcard? A huge bowl of ramen and a side of the daily pickle from Columbus Park Ramen.

Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …” When it let Garozzo’s set up shop. That place is a golden sun amongst burnt-out stars.

“Kansas City screwed up when …” When it was planning out the freeways. Years later and I still get lost.

“Kansas City needs …” I love Pancho’s, but more all-night places to eat. And Wonder Fair in Lawrence needs to open a satellite location.

“As a kid, I wanted to be …” A pop star

“In five years, I’ll be …” Hopefully following the news coverage of Trump’s fifth year in prison.

“I always laugh at …” Yesterday I watched the neighbor’s bull chase a chicken across the field. The chicken wasn’t bothered.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …” Snowy days. Stick me in front of a window with a glass of whiskey and I’m good until dark.

“I can’t stop listening to …” I love old country records and weird experimental noise stuff. Whenever country meets noise (like Ohioan or Jackie O Motherfucker), I’m good. Oh, and Phosphorescent.

“My dream concert lineup is …” All-star lineup of old dead country stars or Peace in the Valley–era Black Dice. Or both on one stage. Psych-country ghost blaze-out.

“I just read …” The Fall 2016 Paris Review and The Round House by Native American author Louise Erdrich.

What’s your hidden talent? I can do farm chores in a minute 30 if pressed.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? You’d have to get a warrant for that.

The best advice I ever got: “Don’t associate with people who gossip, because they probably gossip about you, too.” Thanks, Mom.

Worst advice? “That left cowboy boot might feel a little small in the toe, but it’ll stretch.”

My sidekick? My sweetheart

Who is your hero? My 4- and 6-year-old godsons, who have decided they’re “rock ’n’ roll scientist cowboys.” Hope for the future right there.

Who (or what) is your nemesis? Donald J. Trump. I feel like I should spit on the ground when I say his name.

What’s your greatest struggle right now? Figuring out what it means to be an activist when all you’ve ever done is write fiction and hide out on a farm.

My favorite toy as a child: I had a baby blanket I named Iya Canonibe. At some point I found scissors and cut Iya into about 60 pieces so he could “have friends.”

My brush with fame: John Denver once gave my family a bag of oranges, a jug of water and $40 when we were broken down and hitchhiking through the Arizona desert. He didn’t have room in his car, but he still did us a solid. I think I was 4.

My soapbox: Is used so often these days I’ve forgotten it once held soap.

What was the last thing you had to apologize for? Blind ambition

Who’s sorry now? America

My recent triumph: I’m still standing and enjoying life thoroughly despite the slings and arrows. 

Categories: Questionnaire