Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Poet, Professor, and Wildly Inappropriate Individual Daniel Nester

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Daniel Nester

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales/publicity/production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Daniel Nester is the author of How to Be Inappropriate, a collection of humorous nonfiction. His first two books, God Save My Queen and God Save My Queen II, are collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen. His work has appeared in a variety of places, such as, The Morning News, McSweeney’s, The Daily Beast, Time Out New York, and Bookslut, and has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2003, The Best Creative Nonfiction, and Now Write! Nonfiction. He is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. He is managing editor of the group culture-slash-literature blog We Who Are About To Die.

Daniel's Links:

How to Be Inappropriate
Daniel's Books
Personal Website
We Who Are About To Die

I am someone who tries, in vain most of the time, always to have an epiphany.

I am known to take notes so I’m ready for said epiphany.

I do this often in the middle of the night or the middle a poetry reading.

I do this because, well, sometimes, one needs take notes in the middle of the night or to get through a poetry reading.

I do this when I should be at home reading and listening to Schon and Hammer records.

The way I do this is I sit on my sun porch perch, direct the light on my lap, and read.

At his/her core, a Writer is someone who puts his or her ass in a chair and types.

As opposed to an Author, who is a construct of a writer, not a person at all, a persona or ghost or double-agent.

A Writer is responsible for typing well, marking for grammar (when needed or applicable), choosing what the sentences will look like, getting said ass in chair.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for absolutely nothing.

At its core, Publishing is a way by which a writer gets one’s work out to the public; the definitions of “way” and “public,” it should be pointed out, are changing as we speak.

As opposed to Editing, which is part of the writer’s job, part of the editor’s job, to keep the id-spirit of the author faithful to the story/poem/drama/incantation.

A Publisher should always think of new and more fun ways to exploit an author for fun and profit.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always wear glasses.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is one that has the right sentences in the right order, has been burning up the writer’s word processor for just a little bit more than the required about of time, and has been worked on by a team of collaborators, conspirators, and loved ones.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is a mere object, a vessel, an aura of the manuscript.

A Manuscript should always have a running header with one’s last name and page number on it.

As opposed to a Book, which should always reflect the author’s and publisher’s touch, a slight spanking before it’s sent out into the world.

At its core, Bookselling is moving to the digital realm.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is increasingly a one-on-one affair between friends and acquaintances.

The smallest unit of narrative is a subject and verb.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is it’s coming at you whether you want it to or not.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is how people will try to keep it from happening.

In the future we will all read electronic books and no one will cry.

At his/her core, a Reader is someone who experiences an Author’s work---listens, reads, watches.

However, the ideal Reader is the Author’s partner in epiphanies.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page