June 17, 2011 by polishsnausage
She writes to annoy you, and is unapologetic about it. This is why Jules Archer is a hero amongst men.
HeartOnSleeve Review: Hello, and welcome to my Q&A, not to be confused with T&A. Julia “Jules” Archer. Did you ever get called “Family Jules” growing up?
Jules Archer: Never have been called that. Although, now that you mention it that name would make a pretty amazing platinum mouth grill. Yet my family was not lacking in the nickname department. I have been (and still am) known around Montana as: Ju, Ju Bits, and JuJu (not nearly as tasty as the candy). My favorite is Ju because when my sister hollers it out in public places I like to scream at her, “What’s with that ethnic slur?”
HOSR: One of my favorite activities is changing the word “you” to “Jew” in songs. Try it. It’s fun on a lot of levels. So, I like to think of you as having super powers, and like a super hero, you fight crime, aka write at night and have a regular Joe job. What is it exactly that you do? And do you own a pair of thigh high boots?
JA: I work in Marketing for a restaurant company. I am adept at editing menus (and other fanciful duties) and drooling while doing so. I can now tell the difference between a Crimini Mushroom and a Shiitake. Next to writing, it pretty much rocks.
Sadly, I do not own a pair of thigh high boots. But I do own a coon cap.
HOSR: “The Black Angus sirloin steak has a cow-like flavor, with undertones of beef, and a bit of well, beef.” Speaking of beef, you have a weird obsession with Rob Lowe. Why? Describe this obsession, and when it first came to fruition.
JA: I can recall this moment with perfect clarity. Please bear with me while I breathe heavily…ahem, so I was at my grandmother’s house, watching The Outsiders, when on the TV screen this fine young man stepped out of the shower, scantily clad, glistening abs. Ever since that moment, I have been fascinated with a circa-1982 looking Rob Lowe. I don’t know what it is (ok, I do) and I certainly don’t want to gush (but I will). He is just simply beautiful. Hell, he’s more attractive than me and has a better ass. And strangely, that turns me on.
HOSR: I guess I cannot begrudge your odd obsession; I used to have a thing for “The Fugitive” era Tommy Lee Jones. For prosperity’s sake, tell me, do you prefer boxers or briefs?
JA: Can I say speedos? On Rob Lowe?
HOSR: …you worry me, Jules. Let’s get off of Rob Lowe, please, and I mean that in every context of the phrase. I demand you describe your perfect day. Be graphic.
JA: This is tough. And as a disclaimer I’m going to assume this question means a perfect realistic “real-life” day. Because if it was fantasy it would definitely involve a time machine and Woodstock.
My perfect day is from childhood. It’s summer in Montana. Dad goes to work; sister and I are home alone, sleeping in until about 10am. My cousin comes over shortly after we wake and we change into swimsuits and head down our condo’s pool. We spend about three hours there and stagger home, drunk from too much sun. We throw on jean shorts and tanks and walk to the nearest video store where we spend way too long mocking the videos and finally end up picking three movies to take home. From there we go to McDonald’s and buy bags of burgers and fries and ice cream sundaes. At home we gorge ourselves on the food and watch movies until the day ends and my dad comes home.
That is my perfect day. Wow. Re-reading it, it sounds really boring but I’d give anything to relive it.
HOSR: Actually, that sounds pretty fantastic to me, especially the gorging on fast food. Okay, because I love this question, do you ever write in the nude?
JA: I do not. But I never wear a bra. Does that help?
HOSR: Oddly, yes that does help. Thank you. And Jules? Turkey’s done. My goodness, this is taking a turn for the absurd reeeeaaaal quick. Let’s reel it back in with a writing question: What is your favorite prose to write? You kind of run the gambit between all sorts of genres. I like that.
JA: Thank you, sweet cheeks. I like flash. It’s immediate gratification when for so long I had been writing longer pieces and getting nowhere. Maybe I’m better at flash. Or maybe I’m just lazy.
HOSR: I’ll agree with you; you are quite the flasher. In fact, one of my favorite pieces you’ve done is “Burn, Baby, Burn.” Have you ever wanted to barbecue anyone in real life?
JA: No. Now this is not to say I’ve never wanted to seek revenge. I just wouldn’t use flame to do it.
HOSR: But you could have been all Jessica Tandy in “Fried Green Tomatoes” and served your tormentor to your restaurant guests! Oh well. Jules, why write? Why not knitting or cave spelunking?
JA: I think it’s the one true and real thing I’m really passionate about and have never given up on. I’ll admit it; I’m lazy and I’m a quitter. This is one thing I won’t quit.
HOSR: Well, I’m certainly glad for that, you lazy bum. Next question: have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
(Totally a Batman reference, by the by)
JA: I hate Batman. Just kidding. I knew that would get you clutching your heart.
If I have ever danced with the devil, he’s never told me that sly little…well, devil.
HOSR: Methinks you should not make your interviewer want to slap your face for speaking ill of The Bat, young lady. Just for that, answer this–when did you start writing?
JA: This is weird. Because I never considered myself a “writer” or writing as a hobby until about five years ago. I was fresh out of college, unemployed, uninsured, going through some sort of existential, esoteric what-the-hell-am-i-gonna-do-now? crisis when I started writing. And I thought, “hey, I really like this” and then I remembered I had always written. It was like a flashback I never recalled for some odd reason. I took writing workshops when I was 8, I wrote a short story in 7th grade that the teacher accused me of plagiarizing because I used the word subcutaneous. So I guess I always wrote, I just recognized it five years ago and I don’t even think I got semi-good until about six months ago.
HOSR: A seventh grader using the word “subcutaneous” is proof positive you were born for this shit, baby. I’m fairly certain we were star-crossed loves in a past life. Agree or disagree? And please explain your answer.
JA: I agree. I think somewhere in the past we were carnies in a freak show or something. That seems to fit us. But we weren’t the freaks…we were like the people who pimped the freaks and shouted sweet nothings at passerby. I can see us being annoying like that. And then one sad day one of us got left behind when the wagons rolled off and the dust settled. I like to think it was me because I can’t run very fast.
But yes. To answer your question, yes. You understand every whacked out thing I say. If we ever meet in real life, people better run.
HOSR: I couldn’t have been a carnie because I don’t have small hands, nor do I smell of cabbage. Speaking of whacked out, what do you want on your tombstone? This can mean either pizza or your actual burial marker.
JA: Pizza: Canadian Bacon and Pineapple.
Tombstone: I’m right behind you.
HOSR: Jules, do ya want my body, and do ya think I’m sexy? C’mon, sugar, let me know.
JA: Great, now I’ll have this song in my head all day.
And yes, you know it.
HOSR: Wait…that’s a song? I gotta get out more…since we’re on the subject, what is your favorite song to karaoke to?
JA: Ah, you throw a hard one at me. So I’m totally going to elaborate on this question because you know how much I love karaoke. My favorite song to sing solo is Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” , the solo song I’m the best at is Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”, my favorite duet is “Love Shack” with someone who can do it right.
HOSR: I sing a mean “Old Man” by Neil Young, personally. And I volunteer to sing “Love Shack” with you, but only if I get to be Fred Schneider. Julia, please give me five words that describe you.
JA: Hyper, odd, dark, fickle, mischievous.
HOSR: Dark? Really? That one surprises me. The others, yes with a capital Y-E-S. Random: please name as many state capitals as you can WITHOUT the aid of search engines.
JA: Does my brain count as a search engine?
HOSR: Smart ass. Just name the damn capitals already.
JA: Indianapolis, Baton Rouge, Columbus, Montgomery, Helena, Denver, Boise, Austin, Boston, Albany, Topeka, Minnesota, Juneau, Lincoln, Raleigh, Madison, Olympia, Phoenix, Lansing, Honolulu, Springfield, Columbia, Sacramento, Jackson, Annapolis, Cheyenne, Salt Lake, Atlanta, Bismarck, Trenton, Jefferson, Richmond, Pierre, Harrisburg, Augusta, Providence, Dover…
That’s all I got.
HOSR: Apparently, there are only thirty-seven states in the United States of Archer…public schooled? I tease. I only remember Lincoln, because I freakin’ live here. The rest…not so much. Hey, are you ever jealous of other writers?
JA: Oh god yes. Sometimes I can’t even read an author’s piece unless I build myself up for it. I have to wait. Days. Weeks. Because I know it will be so amazingly great that it will be painful for me to read. I die a little inside each time. But then I read it and it’s a good thing. It gives me something to build up to. Not meaning that I want to be like other writers; I just want to be as good as them.
HOSR: I’m the same way. I’ll read a story, and think, “by golly, I should have come up with that! That’s brilliant!” and then I will sit in a dimly lit room, slumped down in a huge, over-stuffed chair, and brood for days. Follow up question for $500: who is your favorite author?
JA: Stephen King.
HOSR: Now HE is the writer I’m jealous of. To have that kind of talent, and to crap out stories as quickly as he does? Grant it, some of them aren’t my favorite, but still. He’s a freaking word machine. This next question has nothing to do with anything, but if you and I were to be any famous characters in the past, real or otherwise, who would we be?
JA:Um, hello. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Only we would have a waaaay better sense of humor.
HOSR: Sweet Valley High for life! I don’t remember where I read this, but I saw that you have a beef with John Steinbeck. Elaborate, please.
JA: It’s nothing personal. But if I met John Steinbeck today I’d grab him by his bony shoulders and shake him. “Get to the point, man!” I cannot read an entire page about a tree branch blowing in the wind. Some people can. Not me. I need the basics. It has to be damn good writing, engaging but basic. Tell me…or better yet, show me what I need to know and get on with it.
HOSR: I don’t like Ernest Hemingway. There. I said it. Why? “Old Man and the Sea,” that’s why. I read that book, and the entire time, I was dumbfounded by it. I didn’t like it, I thought it was boring, and I suppose there’s metaphors and symbolism and all tha other happy crappy in it, but I just thought it was a terrible, poorly written story, and I have never read anything by him ever again. Good story. While we’re kind of on the same subject, where do you draw your inspiration for writing?
JA: I spy. I listen to conversations, read random articles, remember my dreams, think of “what-ifs”. That’s a big one – the “what-ifs”. Then I sit and just write. I feel comfortable writing my oddest thoughts down as words. I’ll never say them but I’ll sure write them. Which I guess is worse than saying them because they’re actually recorded.
HOSR: You didn’t really think that through, did you? Alright, last question: if you committed a murder, how would you do it?
JA: With a steady hand and a clean conscience.
C’mon, I can’t tell you how I’d really do it.
HOSR: Jules, I thank you for your time. I’m going to leave before you murder me.
Jules Archer currently resides somewhere in the southwest, where she spends her time shredding her guns, getting her Patrick Swayze dance moves perfected, and plotting to overthrow the government. If you adore her as much as I do, do yourself a favor and visit her website at http://julesjustwrite.wordpress.com.