Sophia Katz is a writer and musician from Toronto, and her debut collection, The Title Of This Book Is An Inside Joke, was just recently released by Metatron Press. What’s great about Sophia’s work and herself as an artist is that she’s so polarizing, whether through her writing, music, paintings, or just dipping crucifixes into jars of piss. Artists have to challenge to the masses and drag them into uncomfortable territories, and whether you enjoy her work or are among the haters, you have to admit she has this special, uncensored quality about herself. In a world that is as fast paced as ours, it’s especially difficult to escape the grip of passivity and to take notice of the problems, horrors, and beauty that surround us. If anything, Sophia has shown us that she can help others do just that — which is why we had her take our pop quiz. Check out her thoughts on literature, pop culture, and the other usual questions we barrage our featured writers with.
1. What was the last book you read? Did you like it or nah?
I’m reading multiple books right now but the last one I finished was T.A.Z (The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism) by Hakim Bey. I enjoyed it — so did William S. Burroughs apparently. I appreciated the combination of stream-of-consciousness style thought documentation, drawings, and poetry. I remember agreeing with him when he discussed the universe as almost a personality that wants to play and interact with the self.
2. Thoughts on David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen?
I have enjoyed most things I have read by David Foster Wallace. I began reading Infinite Jest most recently but haven’t completed it. I feel like if David Foster Wallace and I were to have a conversation over five minutes long we would agree on everything and bore each other… I have never read anything by Jonathan Franzen. Both seem like “buzz authors” maybe.
3. What are your writing habits?
I used to take a stimulant, usually adderall or vyvanse, and sit at my desk on my laptop for 4-5 hours writing non-stop, and then either stop when the drug wore off or continue writing into the early morning. Post being hospitalized I primarily write sober on the notes app on my iPhone while in transit, or while on some sort of sedative.
4. How do you party? How often?
Rarely. Almost every time I go to parties I feel disappointed in the outcome. The only time I go to a party now is if I estimate I will feel more lonely and depressed at home alone than in a room full of people staring at my phone.
5. Any writer you want to give a shout out to?
6. Last show you went to?
The last show I went to may have been one I played at with my project Simple Pleasures.
7. Band you’re currently obsessed with?
8. Last time you made a mixtape? Who was it for?
I probably made one for myself when I was 14. I can’t remember ever making one for someone else. I think I made my ex-boyfriend a lot of 8track playlists.
9. Unknown band you think everyone should know about?
Mister Heavenly, which is sort of a side project for Nicholas Thorburn of Islands and The Unicorns, Honus Honus of Man Man, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. Michael Cera played bass for them while touring I think.
10. As you get older, do you care more or less about discovering new music?
Probably less, but I feel guilty if I don’t attempt to remain up-to-date with new music so I actively try to some degree.
11. David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman?
12. If you could have one TV show be put on Netflix, what would it be?
I have Canadian Netflix so I’m not sure if it is already on American Netflix but Homicide: Life On The Street. It’s a ’90s police drama about the Baltimore homicide department that my dad had on VHS growing up; it’s really intense and good.
13. Can anyone compete with Kanye West? Can Kanye compete with Kanye?
It depends on what they are competing with him for. It seems like if Kanye was in something like a badminton or knitting competition he would lose to most people.
14. Last movie you saw? Did you like it or nah?
I went to see Chappie recently and am still unsure if I liked it because I appreciate Die Antwoord’s aesthetic or if it was actually an objectively “good” movie. Probably mostly the former but I still liked watching it.
15. Greatest film of all time?
Dr. Strangelove probably, but I feel uncomfortable/unsure answering this question.
16. Is it really worth it to be a writer? What would you rather do instead?
I never felt like I made an active decision to “be a writer” but instead just wrote often, without any expectations of myself, for many years. Sometimes now that I feel there are expectations of me with regards to writing, it seems less valuable or genuine maybe. If I wasn’t writing I would probably be pursuing some other “creative” venture. Maybe I would be focusing more on my Integrated Media major.
17. Which Internet friend are you most proud of?
This question seems egregiously fucked up/insane.
18. Any words for the haters?
19. Should every writer’s goal be, ‘be more like Stephen Dixon?’
It seems like if every writer had the same primary goal then writing as a pastime, career, or otherwise, wouldn’t exist, or would be some sort of meta cult-like performance art thing or something.
20. If the Internet were to shutdown tomorrow, forever, would life go on or would you be in a hopeless state of panic?
I would initially panic probably to some degree but in the end my life would be a lot “better” objectively. I think I would become less egotistical, more patient but also more bored, a better gardener, less sociable, less curious maybe? For some reason though I have this idea that if the Internet were to shut down completely all of the atomic bombs on earth would go off at the same time because in my mind they are all connected and can only be triggered by a remote web based button. I don’t know why I think this. I feel like I may have read this somewhere but I’m not sure. I imagine getting cut off from the internet would feel a lot like being suffocated with a pillow while on cocaine.
Interview by Trevor L. Sensor. You can follow him on Twitter @trevorsensor.