Interview With Emma Straub, Author of the Novel, “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures”

by Leah on December 19, 2012

Each week, we post short interviews with interesting people about their thoughts and feelings on women and drinking. There is such a wide array of perspectives about this topic, and we are excited to gain insight into as many as possible and to share them with you. 

Emma Straub is from New York City. She is the author of the novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures and the story collection Other People We Married. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vogue, and many other journals, and she is a staff writer for Rookie.

Drinking Diaries: How old were you when you had your first drink and what was it?

Emma Straub: My first drink was almost certainly wine at home, with my parents. They took a rather French approach to alcohol, and made it a regular part of life, instead of something contraband.

How do you approach alcohol in your every day life?

The more bubbles, the better.

Have you ever had a phase in your life when you drank more or less?

In high school, I drank an awful lot of malt liquor, emphasis on the word ‘awful.’ In college, more beer, but less of it in gigantic containers. And one wonders why everyone gains so much weight in those years!

What’s your drink of choice? Why?

I’m afraid I’m terribly boring in this regard. I like a glass of wine, or, on a very rare occasion, a whiskey. These new-fangled old-fashioned cocktail bars with elaborate menus give me the willies. I like to keep things simple.

Can you tell us about the best time you ever had drinking?

I think only reformed alcoholics classify things this way, equating “the best time” with “the wildest time.” I think lots of my best times have been drinking, but with the drinking as only a tiny part of the landscape. To play along, though, I will say that there are some situations that are made immeasurably better with alcohol: conferences of any kind, bad hotels, bad parties, holidays. The list is very, very long.

Has drinking ever affected—either negatively or positively—a relationship of yours?

My in-laws are significantly more conservative than my parents or I am, and dear sweet alcohol has done much to narrow that great divide.

Do you have a favorite book, song, or movie about drinking? 

My friends The Magnetic Fields have lots of good songs about drinking– “Too Drunk to Dream” is a fave. But thinking about music and drinking just makes me think about the Pogues and other wonderfully shambling messes.

If you could be any drink, what would it be? Why?

A glass of champagne, simple and perfect. A sign of a good time in progress, a sign of hope and celebration.

Author Photo by Sarah Shatz

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