Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nosy Interview: Zachary Watterson

Zachary in Another Tail for Comet Garradd, © Olivier Sedan

I'm fairly certain the first meal I ever shared with Zachary was at The Wildrose, but my first memory of him is imagined, stolen from my husband, who became friends with Zachary in graduate school. They made this dinner date on a city bus, to introduce their respective girlfriends to one another--Zachary disembarking the bus, L still seated--and so, when I picture the start of our friendship, I always call up this lovely pilfered image of Zachary working out dinner plans from the sidewalk, probably holding a basketball and a book, and L calling out from the window. It's romantic like a parting train, but with a happy ending because everybody at dinner got on smashingly, and many more meals were shared.  

Please visit Zachary's web site to read his fiction and essays, and find out where you can read more. 

What do you smell like? 
It depends. If I've been working at my job as a landscaper, and if it's the sort of day when I'm swinging a sledge hammer and breaking apart concrete slab, then I smell like broken stone and gravel, sand, cement and water. If at my job I've been moving, cutting and setting flagstones for a patio, then I smell like stone dust--the nonmetallic mineral scent of rock. Sometimes when I've been working particularly hard, steam rises from my head when I remove my wool cap, and the steam smells salty and pungent. Other days, when I've ripped two-by-tens for a fence, I've smelled like cedar. Knotty untreated cedar, to be sure. Still other days, tilling the earth in the backyards of residences in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, I've smelled like the soil I've tilled and raked, which is made of sawdust, compost and mulch. If I'm driving my 1987 pickup truck, I smell faintly of gasoline, oil and grease. The man I bought the truck from, a Hungarian immigrant who moved to America only a couple of years before the Berlin wall fell, was covered in grease, and oil, from his life's work as a mechanic, and my truck has the penetrating smell of that viscous liquid derived from petroleum. I also love the fragrance of cherry blossoms opening and the almost cloying smell of honeysuckle. Honeysuckle used to grow beside one of the playgrounds where I used to shoot hoops when I was a teenager and living in New Jersey. I also love the smell of a recently waxed basketball gym floor, and the leathery smell of a basketball.

What do you like to smell?
I like the smell of pecan pie, soap and warm water, my shaving cream and my after shave lotion. I like the smell of the redwoods in northern California. I like the smell of the spruce and balsam forests in the Adirondack Mountains, where I worked for six seasons. I like the smell of a rock hitting another rock, that acrid scent of granite dust in the air. I nearly always prefer to drive with the window open or partway open, so that I can feel the air whipping in to the truck and I can smell whatever scents reach my nose from the city around me. I love the smell of green chiles roasting in the fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I lived for a couple of years and worked as a landscaper and as a high school teacher. I like the smell of pine needles. In the pine groves I walked through in the Adirondacks, no undergrowth lived under the giant pines and my clothes held the scent of those trees. I love the smell of roasting chestnuts in the winter in New York City. When I think of growing up in Manhattan, I remember how I could not get enough of the intoxicating smell of those chestnuts roasting on the push-carts venders parked on street corners. I love the mildly noxious smell of the subways under the city that you breathe in when you walk over a grate that gives a partial view of the trains moving underneath the sidewalk.


Preets said...

Hello, Zach!!! I, too, love the smell of roasting chestnuts. I also love eating the roasted chestnuts.

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Cozy feelings reading this.

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