Geoff Dyer, the author behind Out of Sheer Rage, recently visited the KQED studios to record an episode of The Writers' Block (listen to Geoff's episode). Get to know him a little better with this Q+A, in which he talks about his favorite San Francisco spots and shares his personal five rules to live by.
You recently wrote ten rules for writing fiction for The Guardian. If you had to list five rules to live by, what would they be?
Geoff Dyer: Be polite.
Be on time.
I know that you once lived a few doors down from KQED studios in San Francisco. When did you live here, what was your experience of this city, and where were your personal haunts?
GD: We were there from mid-August 2001 to the end of the year. I loved it, of course. Atlas Café for breakfast, Cell Space, the Taqueria Cancun, the tennis courts at Mission Dolores Park and, somewhat less conveniently, Green Apple Books.
Having traveled quite extensively, what destination holds the best memories and which holds the worst?
GD: There are so many great places but I think I'll go for Dead Vlei in Namibia because it's so fantastic and so unlikely that I'll ever be there again (so it will only be a memory). The most recent of many bad memories is Svalbard in Norway, this January, something like 40 below, perpetual night, and no sign of the fabled Northern Lights.
In your last novel, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, one of your characters travels to India and gets violently ill. Is that inspired by true events? Give us the gory, embarrassing details!
GD: It's almost impossible to go to Varanasi without getting sick. I got violently but only briefly ill and then extrapolated from there. Also, unlike the narrator, I retained my mental health.
Which young or up-and-coming writer has you all excited?
GD: Joshua Ferris.
What was your first concert?
GD: Family, in Oxford, circa 1973.
What's the last album you fell in love with?
GD: Silverwater by the Necks.
If your life was adapted to film, who would play you?
GD: Rupert Everett.
If you could live inside one movie, which would it be?
GD: Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.
If you could invite 3 people (dead/alive/fictional) to your dinner party, who would they be and why?
GD: D.H. Lawrence, Don Cherry, Charlotte Gainsbourg.
If you could visit any other time period and place in history, which would it be and what would you do there?