This is Day Four of our Tao Lin Week, to celebrate the publication of his new poetry collection Cognitive-Behavorial Therapy. We ask Tao some “probing” questions; here are his answers:
What is your earliest memory?
Reading Richard Yates’ collected stories in my brother’s studio apartment on 29th street when I was 22, listening to the wind outside on the streets, blowing against taxi cabs, small children, squirrels.
When were you happiest?
When I googled myself and saw that someone had called me a “careerist.”
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I hate myself for feeling sad and hating myself and for hating things when I don’t want to hate anything. I think that’s a paradox, “thus” reinforcing my existential worldview and strengthening my philosophy, making it more consistent and believable in the minds of people who read my blog and interviews.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
Someone told me something about a fasting method that uses maple syrup.
What is your most treasured possession?
My first, automatic, and sarcastic thought was “my penis.” I think probably my brain stem, I really don’t want to be paralyzed. My spine, brain stem, and brain. I also value my gmail account. I just looked around my room and I don’t see anything that I “treasure” really. I see many “piles of shit” that I want to sell on eBay.
Which living person do you most admire? Why?
I admire some skateboarders I saw on Vice TV because it looked fun what they were doing. I’m not sure if it’s okay to admire someone for that reason. I don’t think I admire anyone. I feel like I admire freshly juiced organic mixed-vegetable juice, coconut water, and songs that don’t repeat themselves.
What is your favourite smell?
A baby blue whale’s breathe early in the morning when the arctic sun is low in the sky and a polar bear is in the distance with a seal in its mouth and I just ate steamed kale in my igloo, went outside for something to do, and kneeled on a glacier toward the blue whale’s blow-hole.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
I was listening to self-help tapes through earphones in a staircase high in a building and I had a very emotional moment where I thought about killing myself.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Rubbing organic virgin oil de coco creme on my face and parts of my body.
Tell me a secret.
In a voice-activated “compartment” underneath the intersection of 6th avenue and 3rd street, by the IFC film center, above the lava flows of inner earth, and in between Houston street and 4th street in Manhattan, New York there lays a runic scroll. Written upon this scroll in 98% USDA-certified organic hamster blood (obtained in a vegan manner, from self-inflicted wounds due to depression) is an epic poem Proustian in scope and Kafkaesque in mood that is actually ultimately “held-back” a lot by its self-righteous, political tone supported in content by referencing the election a lot and repeatedly mentioning being opposed to TV and hating “superficial people.”
First posted: Thursday, May 22nd, 2008.