Meghan Daum, Los Angeles Times columnist and author of The Quality of Life Report and My Misspent Youth, joined Zócalo backstage at the Harmony Gold Theatre after moderating the October 14th evening with Philippe Claudel. Combining journalistic insight with the energy of a high school track star, Daum is the sharpest wit to come out of New Jersey since Philip Roth.
Q. What do you wake up to?
A. I used to wake up to Howard Stern, but now I wake up to Adam Carolla – not in person, on the radio.
Q. What inspires you?
A. Deadlines – very inspiring.
Q. What comforts you?
A. Very cheap wine.
Q. How would you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
A. I’m an equal opportunity judge.
Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?
A. We lived in Austin, TX until I was nine and we had green onions growing in the yard. We used to pick them and sell them door-to-door, as if they were girl scout cookies.
Q. What is your most prized material possession?
A. My house!
Q. What’s your favorite season? Why?
A. Fall but we don’t have it here – it’s called fire.
Q. What do you consider beautiful?
A. The light in Los Angeles – I think it’s beautiful here between 4 and 7pm.
Q. When are you most creative?
A. I do pretty well in the mornings. Again, before a deadline, I’m really creative.
Q. If you could take only one more journey in your life, where would you go?
A. Lapland, now I’m inspired because Philippe [Claudel] wrote his screenplay there.
Q. What would you like to be in your next life?
A. I would like to do something with animals – I still might. I would like to be the kind of person in the wild who could pet a bear – like Timothy Treadwell only without being eaten by a bear.
Q. What teacher or professor, if any, changed your life?
A. Changed my life? Changed my grade! I had many math teachers who changed my life by making me go to summer school.
Q. Who is the one person, living or dead, that you’d love to have a beer with?
A. I’d like to meet the person who built my house. It was built in the 1920s so I assume that person is dead. I’d ask why he designed the living room so that there’s nowhere to put a couch without covering up the heat register or blocking the door. I’d also like to know why there’s a light switch in the shower.
Q. Who would you say is your favorite Beatle?
A. Definitely George.
*Photo by Aaron Salcido.