Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nosy Interview: Ariel Djanikian

Ariel In the Center of the Lagoon Nebula, © A. Caulet (ST-ECF, ESA), NASA
Ariel and I were classmates at the University of Michigan, where I quickly learned that she is the sort of person you delight in having on your end of the table, whether it's in workshop or at dinner. Her debut novel, The Office of Mercy, comes out this Thursday. While you're waiting to get your hands on it, visit Ariel's web site and follow her on Twitter

What do you smell like?
I smell like the coffee shops I frequent on a daily basis. Boots. High Efficiency Tide. Sharpie pens. My hair will net any ambient scent in its clutches: in the morning, that’s soap, but by night I’m frizzed out with the smell of pasta sauce and grilled whatever. Scrubbed clean, I think I smell like the high altitude air around the Caucasus Mountains touched with the verdant woodlands of Pennsylvania. 

What do you like to smell?
Baby spit up, the lingering scent of baby shampoo, the warm baby smell beneath folds of baby fat rolls, the ripe ambrosias of a soiled diaper, detected at close range through terrycloth pajamas. Old guitar strings. (Not that I play.) The stairwell in gyms. (Not that I go.) Decrepit rubber keys on an ancient Casio calculator. Yoda figurines. I like the smell of my house: dusty carpeting and tomatoes. Swimsuits drying on a bathroom hook. Bus exhaust, like from the school buses that used to line up beside our high school every afternoon. Plus the usual: onions frying, garlic roasting, pretzels from street vendors, masking tape, the sweetness of a heavy July afternoon just as it’s beginning to rain, poppies, kindling, acetone.