Tuesday August 10th, 2010

Up In a Tree with John Waters

johnwatersCaitlin Roper interviews John Waters at the Paris Review blog. You learn, among other things, that when he was 17 he lived in Provincetown for two weeks, in a tree fort:

A guy named Prescott Townsend owned it. The first gay radical I had ever met. He was from a wealthy family from Cambridge and he seemed completely insane, in a great way. Part of the tree fort was a submarine. He had to like you to let you live there and it was free and he gave you free hot dogs and eventually the town burned it and then they cut the tree down.

And that when he says “cut and paste,” he means cut and paste:

My other ritual is that I write in longhand. On this one kind of legal pad called AMPAD Evidence. I like BIC pens, the clear black ones. And I have to use an exact kind of scotch tape when I cut things up—Scotch Magic Finish Tape. And I have to use the same style scissors.

So you use the scissors and the tape to take what you’ve written in longhand and rearrange it?

Yes. When I’m re-writing rather than copy the whole thing over and over, I’ll cut out three sentences and put ’em in. It’s a word processor, old fashioned, by hand. Then, when I get it back from my assistant typed, I cut it up again. Then there’s less and less writing the closer and closer it is until we start copyediting and proofreading and all that.

Read the whole entertaining thing.