Last year, an anonymous writer took over the advice column Dear Sugar at The Rumpus. Soon, she’ll go public with her identity. Like many others, I’ve become obsessed with her advice. Her column isn’t about etiquette. Sugar writes about being jealous of other writers. She advises people to leave secure relationships because they just know they’re not happy. She tells about how she made it through the “thicket of shit” in her twenties. She writes about the absolute horror of grief. And it’s not about sex, either. Sugar is soooo over the idea that sex is the only way to connect emotionally or be fulfilled.
The interview gets into how Sugar’s anonymity has an impact on her advice. And we talk about Batman;
I think you should keep the mystique.
You think I should?
Well, I’m a romantic. I don’t doubt that if you do come out, everyone’s going to love it, and I don’t doubt that it’s going to be wonderful for everyone involved. But there is a kind of romance in…like, I love Batman. Batman is my favorite, and Batman and Bruce Wayne couldn’t exist without each other. They couldn’t. But the mystique about Batman is kept because he doesn’t tell anyone who he is. And there’s a great scene, it was on Youtube the other day, where Batman and Bruce Wayne have to have a conversation with each other in front of the commissioner. And there’s this sort of façade, but there’s this sort of beauty to it. Before this interview I was going to say, ‘I should give you some advice.’ And that would be it: Keep it private. But then there’s also, could you still make money if it were private? If I were in your position, I would claim it, I would say, ‘That’s me. Hello. I’m here. And let’s go for it.’ And I think that’s something that a lot of authors are scared to do, to claim their work.
Very proud of this. And thrilled to be working with editor Choire Sicha over there. Let me know what you think!
Update: Sugar followed up on our interview at TheRumpus. She said I “have the spark of life,” which is nice. But this is the bit I like:
I was trying to say that I think we ache for and deserve a different level of conversation when we talk about helping ourselves and transforming our lives: a greater complexity, a grittier acknowledgement of what it is we’re up against, even if that acknowledgement embarrasses us. I meant to say there is no cure except to live the hell out of our lives, to take it apart, to put it back together, to dig it all up, and then fill the hole. To help ourselves and one another to the best of our abilities. To believe everything entirely, while also calling bullshit for what it is.