Anna Pulley helped create this series with Evan 1,000 years ago when she was the arts and culture editor at SF Weekly. She is THRILLED to finally be answering these questions. She is also the author of the recently released Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!). In previous lives, she’s been a hot dog slinger, shoe salesman, PE teacher, and a waitress at a retirement home before she figured out the best way to degrade herself was as a writer. When she’s not attempting to lead a haiku revival, she also writes advice columns and exploits her life experiences for money (or, as we call it in academic circles, creative nonfiction). One time Amanda Palmer asked her out on Twitter, with Neil Gaiman’s blessing. She may have promised to take Palmer to a bar with Russian cyclopses. If anyone knows of one in San Francisco, drop her a line.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?
Writer. If I am trying to make out with them, then I might say, “I help people have better sex and relationships….
Do you want to make out?”
What’s your biggest struggle—work or otherwise?
I’m half-deaf, which makes just about every aspect of my life harder. It also makes me even more awkward than I already am at parties. Here’s an example of a recent conversation I had.
Acquaintance: “You remember Mark, my fiance?”
If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
Do it. Don’t agonize or pussyfoot around endlessly. Fear is boring. Write, make friends with writers, and buy drinks for editors. Promote the works of others you admire. And be patient. Pursuing a creative life doesn’t just happen, like a rash or a Saw movie.
Do you consider yourself successful? Why?
Yes, for whole moments at a time even! I get to do what I love and (mostly) get paid for it. It could be so much worse, and I am grateful that it is not.
When you’re sad/grumpy/pissed off, what YouTube video makes you feel better?
“What the effin’ crap / that angel guy just felt me up.”
Describe your week in the wilderness. It doesn’t have to be ideal.
I spend an agonizing 15 minutes in the wilderness before I am airlifted out by my best friends, Tilda Swinton and Stevie Nicks, whose helicopter also includes a portable jacuzzi. We enjoy some Nutella sandwiches and recount what a close call that “week in the woods” almost was. Then we attend a full moon ritual and gherkin party, which we all think is a euphemism, but turns out to be actual gherkins. Each of us tells a cucumber joke the other has never heard before and we throw our heads back and laugh until Tilda pees her pants a little, and that sets us all off laughing again, until we are a puddle of howls and tears and absolutely zero life regrets.
Would you ever perform a striptease? Describe some of your moves.
This, but set to Mariah Carey.
How many times do you fall in love each day?
I would say a few times a week. It has decreased now that I’m older and have learned a lot of things the hard way. Recuerdame, Salma Hayek!
What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?
See “wilderness” question above.
When you have sex, what are some of the things you like to do?
If you’ve never tried the Anxious Manatee, you simply haven’t lived.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished a gay history of San Francisco in haiku for San Francisco magazine that I’m excited about. I also wrote an essay about being deaf that I am quite proud of, and have yet to shop around. Otherwise, focused on selling this weird little book. Do you want to write about lesbian haikus or cats? If so, holla at me: email@example.com.
What kind of work would you like to do? What kind of writing do you admire?
This is, I realize, poorly phrased, but in general, “weird sex stuff.” BDSM and paganism? Yes please. A years-long affair with a married woman? Uh huh. Being awkward at sex parties? You bet.
I admire writing that’s vulnerable or funny or teaches me something—anything—about the world. If I know nothing about the topic, all the better.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
The fact that so many cool people are being forced to leave.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
My ex is a dominatrix. One time I was paid $50 to watch her humiliate and peg an older gentleman with a foot fetish and a love of golden showers. After it was over, we walked to the door of the dungeon, and the client left me with these parting words: “Be safe. There’s a lot of kooks out there.”
Photo by Kelsey Beyer