NiteTalk: Sloane Crosley Has Got Our Number

The foibles of New Yorkers have always made for good fodder, even when said city slickers came from elsewhere (as most do). In the '80s the Literary Brat Pack made much mint of their minutiae. In the '90s it was all about the sweet little "nothings" of Seinfeld and friends. Among the brightest of those working their day-to-day at the end of the Oughts was Sloane Crosley, whose I Was Told There'd Be Cake harked back to the age of the Algonquin Round Table (another crowd who wasn't shy about sharing). Crosley's second slate of essays, How Did You Get This Number, keenly echoed the timbre -- and the success -- of her debut. Now that it's out in paperback and she's coming back to town, Niteside decided to shoot her a few Qs.

If someone were to call you "the voice of your generation," how would you respond? It's difficult to answer that without imagining myself first sucking a bunch of helium balloons. I would say -- and you'll have to hear this in a high-pitched cartoon voice then -- that I don't set out to be the voice of my generation and I'm not even sure exactly what defines my generation. But I do know that's a huge compliment so I suppose I'd thank them.

Your press kit calls you an "unfailingly hilarious young Everywoman," is that more apropos? I often fail at being hilarious. Sometimes I'm merely moderately amusing.  Often times a bit melancholy. Post-30 years old, I'm happy to have the "young" tossed in there.

It takes some gumption to put one's life out there for the world, at risk of sounding rude, what gave you the notion it would be good to share yours with the world? When you write narrative nonfiction in the first person, it's easy to see why people are quick to group it into "memoir." But, strange as this may sound, I don't think of either I Was Told There'd Be Cake or How Did You Get This Number as memoir. I agree -- I think it takes some serious brass pens to write one of those. It helps that, when writing these essays, I feel like I am looking out, not in.

Well, it's working fabulously. Did you have any idea that your essays would strike such a wonderful chord with the world when you first started putting them to paper? Not really. And thank you. And again: not really.  That's not humility, that's realism. It's hard to get read as a first-time author and, in a way, even harder as a second-time author.

Speaking of which, you've ditched your publishing gig and currently column for The Independent (congrats!). How'd that come about? It was extremely difficult to leave Vintage Books, largely because I liked my day job. But I just couldn't keep doing justice to both. It felt like leading a double life and not in the cool, glamorous way but in the nail-biting way.

Is it hard to wrangle-up a worthy subject every week? On occasion. Mostly it's not that hard but that comes with its own kind of guilt because if I draw a blank, it becomes a kind of column of tempest-in-a-teapot complaints.

Sloane Crosley reads from How Did You Get This Number on Thursday May 5th, 8pm at Books and Books 265 Aragon Ave Coral Gables For more information call 305-443-4408 or log on here.

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