My interaction with Daphne Gottleib's 15 Ways To Stay Alive was the most excruciating, and took me the longest amount of time, so far, to write. And it's severely edited down.
Daphne is very talented at taking other people's words and creating conversations across texts. She does this masterfully in "what it means to be young in new orleans" where she mashes up news stories about the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster with Charles Bukowski's poem "Young in New Orleans". As well as in "the unauthorized biography of black beauty" where she takes twenty different sources and creates a DJ Earworm level masterpiece.
For some reason, I decided to mash up "Thirty-Six Questions That Lead To Love", a list of questions that a 1997 study claimed would, well....lead to love, with random quotes from Donald Trump. I didn't take into account how easily fatigued I would be reading Donald Trump quotes. Thus, I wrote this in eight different nights. Switching out answers, losing faith in humanity, wishing either Trump would grow mute and illiterate or that I would eventually give up and start entering more logical, cohesive quotes, like those from the Teletubbies.
Anyhow, here is all I can stand to post right now from this endeavor.
Donald Trump Answers 36 Questions That Lead To Love
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
And you know, another great guy is Mark Cuban. And I think, you know, he’s been talking about maybe doing this himself. And I think he’d do a great job. We don’t have the exact same feelings about where we’re going, but that’s OK. But Mark was great. You know, he called me, like, literally a few days ago, and he said, “you know if you want to use the arena” — which by the way is a beautiful arena, this a great arena — and Dirk is a fantastic player, he’s just a wonderful player — and the Mavericks have been fantastic and it’s just a great team — but he said, “you know if you want to use the arena.” And I said, “Mark, when?” He said “how ’bout Monday night?” It’s like, that was like in four days. And you had a big holiday in between. And he said, “they really like you in Dallas, they really like you in Texas, maybe you can get a lot of people.” Because we were coming here, and we thought maybe we’d get a thousand people, but we never get a thousand anymore, it’s always, like, the same thing. You know, we went to Alabama. We started off with a 500 person ballroom. And after about 2 minutes — look at all these guys — paparazzi, look at this…we’ve got everybody here. We started off, by the way, with a 500 person ballroom, and after about 2 minutes the hotel called up begging for mercy. “We can’t do it!” They were inundated, so we went to convention center, and that was 10,000 and that was wiped out in about an hour. So we went to a stadium, we had 31 thousand people, which is by far the largest, they say, like, ever, for an early primary, and that’s probably true.
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I don't like walking down the street and having people waving. I just don't really. It's not for me. To be perfectly honest, it's not for me, and I don't enjoy it.
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
I like being off the cuff. You know I've been in 11 debates, I never debated before. My whole life is a debate. But I've never debated before. And I really enjoyed the debates. I guess I did well in the debates based on all of those polls that they did after the debates.
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
I think it’s gotta be up to the individual. I think it depends on the individual. It also depends on what’s available. There may be a better alternative, then there may not. If there’s not a better alternative, then you stay. But it could be there’s a better alternative where you’re taken care of better. But some people don’t like staying in an atmosphere that was so hostile. You understand that?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
You used to call me on your cell phone.
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Look at those hands. I guarantee you there's no problem.I guarantee.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
I'm a very efficient guy. Now I could also do it verbally, which is fine ... I want it short. There's no reason to do hundreds of pages because I know exactly what it is... because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Some people say it was staged. You know that?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you're a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right — who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I have the world's greatest memory. It's one thing everyone agrees on.
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That's where the fun is.
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Look, we can bring the American Dream back. That I will tell you. We're bringing it back. Okay? And I understand what you're saying. And I get that from so many people. 'Is The American Dream dead?' They are asking me the question, 'Is the American Dream dead?' And the American Dream is in trouble. That I can tell you. Okay ? It's in trouble. But we're going to get it back.
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
When I think I’m right, nothing bothers me
16.. What do you value most in a friendship?
I mean, I think I have a lot of friends, but they're not friends like perhaps other people have friends, where they're together all the time and they go out to dinner all the time.
17. What is your most treasured memory?
Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world, I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, "Can you believe what I am getting?"
18. What is your most terrible memory?
Did I say I have a great memory or one of the best in the world? I don't remember saying that. As good as my memory is, I don't remember that, but I have a good memory. I don't remember that. I remember you telling me, but I don't know that I said it.
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
When we go into church — and when I drink my little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and have my little cracker — I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness. I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed, OK?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
If we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, “Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.” I would prefer that we be able to continue.
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
Nobody cares about the talent [in beauty pageants]. There’s only one talent you care about, and that’s the look talent. You don’t give a shit if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …”
We must be smart
We must have a wall
We’ve taken the lighthouse, which is a very, very important building in Florida — I mean in Scotland — and we’ve taken that building and made it something really special. It has incredible suites… golfers will stop and they’ll have something to eat.
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …”
I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
The point is, you can never be too greedy
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down.
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
Beauty and elegance, whether in a woman, a building, or a work of art, is not just superficial or something pretty to see.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
I don't like mosquitoes. I never did.
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure; it's not your fault.
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else. The other is the calculating woman who refuses to sign the prenuptial agreement because she is expecting to take advantage of the poor, unsuspecting sucker she’s got in her grasp. There is also the woman who will openly and quickly sign a prenuptial agreement in order to make a quick hit and take the money given to her.
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
My marriage, it seemed, was the only area of my life in which I was willing to accept something less than perfection.
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
Statistically, my children have a very bad shot. Children of successful people are generally very, very troubled, not successful. They don’t have the right shtick. You never know until they’re tested. But I do well with my children. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.