The first day I met M.F. Bottomley was at his wedding. I don’t think we saw each other regularly for years after that. But, everytime I ran into this master of disguise he would recommend something (podcast, book, music) and everytime my world would change.
We have spent hours talking about life, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and giraffes. Being one of the smartest people I have ever come across, he is also one of the funniest and most generous. We once took a jaunt across the Brooklyn Bridge and ended up with farmer burns and a broader understanding of what makes the other tick (which I guess also makes him one of the whitest…)
M.F. runs a whimsical, deep and challenging website LSAT In The Art Of Zen where you can find life appliciable advice and wisdom whether or not you are lawyer bound. He once told me that he uses the test as a form of meditation because it makes so much sense and is able to calm him down. Don’t you wish that could happen for you? I do. Check out how you can be a better person at www.lsatmeditations.com.
When Michael heard about The Bridge he sent us lots of pictures he had taken and has been a huge support and friend to me as I travel through the world of writing. A photo of M.F.’s can be found within The Bridge as well as a poem or two in-which he plays an important role.
So follow me into a conversation with the great M.F. Bottomley and learn why If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…He Will Hate Elijah Wood.
J: If a book from your childhood (or one you have read recently that you wish had been around during your childhood) fell open and you were pulled by a big hand into its adventure, which would it be and why?
M: Ender’s Game. I think that that story—a piece of fiction for young adults—more than most shows people’s capacity to be utterly brilliant, despicable, deceitful, and compassionate. I’d love to meet a person like Ender—better yet…be Ender. Also it’s set in space. SPACE!
J: If you could spend a week in the company of any writer (dead or alive), who, what would you do, and which story/novel/comic/whatever would they be writing while you were there.
M: Alan Moore. I’d like to be there for Lost Girls and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? I’d like him to teach me a thing or two about voice and words.
J: If you have ever suffered from something; heartbreak, allergies, depression, lactose intolerance, etc. what made you feel better, what did you learn from it and what did you wear?
M: Unless a friend is around—and sometimes even when they are—very little makes me feel better. What does help is telling myself that whatever is bothering me will pass.
J: If you were to write a poem about your life so far, how would it go?
M: It would most certainly be something like ocean water, off shore, well beneath the waves.
J: If you could replace any actor and play their character; who, what, why and how would you bring something astonishing to the role?
M: Octavian from Rome. I don’t know what else I could bring to the role…but asking me why? Hm. Have you seen that show? Geez! Who wouldn’t want to play Octavian?
J: Being humans, we tend to be overly self-critical and spend great amounts of time saying terrible things to ourselves. What about you do you think is awesome? Go ahead. Go look at yourself in the mirror and find that zipper at the base of your skull, unzip and tell us a story about that one time when you… and found out you are…and DON’T tell me somebody once told you your eyes were pretty. Lame. And duh, anyone can see they are breathtaking. ( if you are the type of person who doesn’t happen to do this, please, give yourself a lovely pat on the knee and then write about how being nice to yourself has changed the way you treat others.)
M: I think I am generally awesome. Not in a douchey way—maybe. But in the same way that I think other people are awesome, with some notable exceptions…I’m looking at you Elijah Wood. You are NOT awesome.
J: Wow. Watch out Elijah Wood, here comes M.F. Bottomley.
J: What color does the word ‘Penelope’ make you think of and how long does it last?
M: Yellow. Doesn’t last more than an instant.
J: If you could get any artist in all of history to draw/paint/ take a photo portrait of you who would it be and what roll would you play in their lives?
M: Either Rene Magritte or Irving Penn. I don’t know about what role I’d play in their life. I’d just be interested to see how they see me.
J: When you fall in love, what does it smell like? If you have never fallen in love write about what you think it smells like.
M: That’s not something I can put into words.
J: In a perfect world I would be there with you, and we would have tea and cookies. Where would we meet, and after a lovely hug or warm hand-shake, what would we talk about.
M: Undoubtedly we would meet beneath a polar ice cap. We would talk about H.P. Lovecraft and about how amazing technology is nowadays that we could be here, under this polar ice cap, not dead, drinking warm beverages.
J: And tell incessant “That’s what she said” jokes. Because that is how we roll.
If you could write a book what would it be about, who is the person you would want to read it the most, and why?
M: I’d like to write something of importance, and I’d like the person who needs it most to read it.
J: Sometimes we do things we regret. Think of the person you feel like you have wronged the most and simply write down what you would say to them if one day you turned a corner and they were there.
M: Sorry about that. Did the stain come out? What about the swelling?
J: There are so many things that could be.
J:If you had a soundtrack to accompany the story of how you feel right now, what would it be made up of?
M: Lots of trip-hop with breaks of dark, laid-back reggae.
J: If you had a child what would be the most important thing you would want them to learn from you?
M: Patience, perspective, and humor.
J: If you could build a bridge to a different time and save your younger self from something scary, what would it be and how would you do it?
M: I wouldn’t save myself. I might offer some encouragement to little me to be brave, but I’d likely just watch to see how I handled it.
J: Give a title to the picture below.
J: One last thing….
What would make you happiest right now?
M: Enlightenment. But then, if I were enlightened, I don’t think I’d be happy. I’d simply know that happiness is on the same emotional spectrum of anger, sadness, and anxiety—and knowing wouldn’t stop the feelings from happening, it would just make me aware of their sameness and impermanence. So if I decided to be happy now, I must expect to be sad/angry/indifferent later. Sheesh. I don’t know.
I guess I’d like a soft, chocolate chip cookie—and 1% milk.
J: If you give a mouse a cookie…