3AM: In your book Drugs are Nice, I noticed a lot of people after reading your work write letters to you saying they want to spend time with you and sometimes have sex with you. After reading it I kind of feel like that too. Do people still write you a lot of letters expressing their want to spend time with you and to have sex with you? Do you still meet people because of their letters? Got any weird ones lately?
LC: Actually my boyfriend now, he sent me a letter on September 23, 2005, and by the end of October had completely broken up my marriage of six years. It surprises and pleases me that strangers still want to have sex with me, because I have two children and am 37 and am completely out of the closet as a mental wreck. Out of anyone they could want to fuck, how feminist of them to choose me. I'm glad when people just want to meet me vertically as well, since I am a specialist and it's not like I can easily find friends in my hometown, no matter what town I'm in. I always fall in love (including friendship crushes) with people I've never met. For the most part, electronic relationships translate fine for me into the flesh, but not vice versa (I don't know if I COULD fall in love with someone I met first in person). Maybe everybody is a specialist, given the opportunity. And my career has always given me tons of opportunity. So, uh, perhaps you could explain your reaction a bit more in detail, Noah.
3AM: I think what seems attractive about you is that you seem impulsive, dangerous, and unpredictable. Since where the book leaves off, has any of that changed?
LC: : I used to find that attractive about me too! It's not very attractive to your kids, though. Kids want you to master your impulses, keep them safe, make life predictable. My father was such a daredevil. One time a federal officer, I think it was, got in the van with my father and tried to make him drive to give himself up, and instead my father went to go drive us all (I was in the back) over a cliff rather than go back to prison. At the last minute he changed his mind. There were a million more minor similar incidents, all of which convinced me that my own life isn't what's important -- life is. And it's no life if you're not risking it. I still pretty much believe this philosophy, yet I try to temper it so that my kids don't grow up like me, and like my father which is basically suicidal (but apparently VERY LUCKY, as we're both still alive).
Are you impulsive, dangerous, unpredictable?
3AM: I know this girl who is on coke and has a son. She beats him randomly, sometimes it is for something bad, but sometimes it is just his look. The kid has no concept of what he should be doing to get certain rewards. Or like she is poor. And one day he does something good and gets something. And another day he does the same thing. But she has no money. And because she has no money that day she will just write it off as if nothing happened. So the kid is just confused.
And to the predictable question: No, I'm very quiet. I think people think what I say is unpredictable. But that is all. I don't do any actions that could be called impulsive, dangerous, or unpredictable. I'm that person in the corner of the room sitting quietly just watching. Not talking to anybody. My lady-friend is like that too. We sit quietly and watch. We don't have interest in drama or controversy. Our lives are tough as it is, we don't need more problems. I don't like to start a ruckus because I don't want to be bothered. Like at work I do a good job, not because I care about the company. But because then the manager will not bother me. I like to sit peacefully and talk to a person. If they start to get up in my shit, then I just leave the room.
At the end of chapter 11 you talk about the people of your generation kind of living in a television/movie dream state. I haven't read Chaon, but I've read Easton Ellis and he shows that in some of his books. And I can see that with a lot young people these days, that people cloak their worldviews with movie scenes, instead of seeking an authentic experience. They seek the perfect movie moment. Can you elaborate on what you were talking about there? And about how you view the people in their twenties nowadays and their movie daydreams?
LC: Hmmm. I don't view people in their twenties, generally. I view people in their thirties. I don't want to be like Anais Nin and have all these young sailor boys all around, and I give them my computer and go to costume parties with them all night long with my boobies hanging out.
3AM: I'm a swinger also. What is the weirdest thing someone ever did that came over to have sex? One time, my girl and I had a female come over, and she kept putting her finger in her own asshole and licking it. And it wasn't to turn us on: my girl and I would be fucking. And we would look over and she would be sticking her finger in her asshole and then plopping it in her mouth like a lollipop.
LC: You know, I have never thought that anything that happened to me in sex was weird, and I was about to say there IS no weirdness in sex, until I read the rest of your question! Ew! That's unhygienic. I suppose the weirdest thing for me was in this sex club I went to, this guy had his ear up to a wall listening to his girlfriend do it with a midget! It's called ectoism or echo-ism or something like that. He was explaining it to us. He likes to hear but not see his gal doin' it. I think the fact that the other guy was a midget was just a coincidence, not part of the plan.
3AM: What motivated you to write a memoir?
LC: Memoir is what I write. Been doing it since I was six. I'm like Kiss, I always do the same thing.
3AM: Were there any parts of the book that you cried while writing?
LC: I cried for pretty much the entire middle. I had to drink every day.
3AM: Can you give us an update on your relationships with Jean Louis Costes and Bill Callahan?
LC: I adore Jean Louis and always will. I want to take the kids and stay at his half-the-year home in the jungle in French Guyana. He may tour with us in England, playing himself in my skits -- IF he's not "too famous" by then, he says! As for Bill Callahan, I admire him too, but from a distance. He wouldn't speak to me for years. In fact, the first I heard from him in like a decade was when someone told him there was a picture of him getting a blowjob in my book. He was horrified. I assured him that his friend was only torturing him, there is no such picture. Smog music and videos just get better and better. Costes's music and performances... I don't know if "better" is a word that can apply to such things. I suppose one could say they are "more and more Costes."
3AM: What other memoirs do you enjoy?
LC: All of them. Even the most boring. In fact probably I enjoy the mundane ones most of all. The woman who had three children and their father was at war, the end.
3AM: What part of the book embarrasses you the most? What made you think, "I can't believe I'm telling the world this"?
LC: Describing the abortion. The only thing worse was remembering it, and the only thing worse than that was having it. It was a Sophie's Choice kind of deal. I killed one baby to save the other. The other being Wolfgang. That changed who I am as a human being. Just as the baby will never get its life back, I'll never get that piece of my soul back. I had to drink and cry every day that I wrote that part. And since I only wrote like one sentence a day, it's lucky it's not too long a section. I can see how so many writers turn into alcoholics!
3AM: If we went back in time and handed 18 year old Lisa Carver a copy of Drugs Are Nice, how do you think she would have responded, that she would end up being a famous writer?
LC: She would not have been at all surprised that she ended up a famous writer. I completely expected to be known for exactly what I am known for ... as some sort of persona, doing a lot of different things not exactly well, but with spirit, and loudly. Eighteen-year-old Lisa would have been horrified, though, at the control, dignity, and... what's it called when you can hold back a bit? Timing? Cadence? In Drugs Are Nice, I wanted only explosions back then, and jokes, and shock. I felt that conclusions and patience both were death.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Noah Cicero lives in Youngstown, Ohio and is a Co-Editor at 3:AM. The author of two novels and a frequent short story writer, his blog is here.