20 Questions is a Q&A interview series with musicians, authors, and everyone in between, celebrating experiences both shared and individual in the messy game of being human.
“Telling our stories and hearing those of others helps us connect and feel less alone. If we didn’t have our stories, we wouldn’t have much reason to do anything, would we?” courtney marie (intentional lowercase, they/them) is a writer and artist based in Denton, Texas. They are the author of don’t get your hopes up (2018, Thoughtcrime Press) and songs we used to dance to (2022, Goliad Media). Their work has appeared in Nat Brut, The Boiler, Thimble Literary Magazine, and beyond. They enjoy making weird and sentimental art with/for their community, exploring the world, and playing pinball. They live with three cats, cry all the time, and are forever writing letters and sending snail mail in a desperate attempt to connect with the outside world. They are also the co-founder and director of the artist collective Spiderweb Salon.
I got speak with courtney for the latest edition of 20 Questions about her artistry and creativity, songs we used to dance to, the universal importance of storytelling, and more.
What is the earliest memory you have of wanting to be a writer, and specifically of poetry?
I remember making little books of poetry and stories in elementary school, so I suppose that’s when it all started.
What time of day are you most inspired?
Usually in the evening.
Favorite book of all-time?
This is a hard one. Probably The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector or the diaries of Anaïs Nin, which I am yet to finish (there’s a lot of volumes!)
What’s one vice you wish you could give up?
I quit smoking a year ago — that was the one.
One movie that will always make you cry?
Everything is Illuminated.
What’s the most challenging part of writing for you?
E d i t i n g.
The best book you’ve read in the last year?
The Crying Book by Heather Christle.
How would you characterize your new collection of poetry songs we used to dance to?
A cautionary tale of the end of the world with a dash of hope sprinkled in meets bipolar memoir.
The last series you binge-watched?
Our Flag Means Death — gay pirates, it’s great.
Pens or pencils?
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Learn how to be alone.”
If you could have one writer, dead or alive, to compose your obituary, who would it be and why?
Miranda July — I think she would compose something insightful, sentimental, and humorous.
One song that you will never be sick of?
“God Bless Our Dead Marines” by Silver Mt. Zion.
How would you describe the importance of storytelling, especially in an age of social isolation?
Telling our stories and hearing those of others helps us connect and feel less alone. If we didn’t have our stories, we wouldn’t have much reason to do anything, would we?
What’s your current read?
I’m always reading multiple books at once. Right now it’s Concrete by Anne Garreta; The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich; Girl, Cow & Monk by Kate Wyer; and Winter Recipes From the Collective by Louise Glück.
You’re stuck on a long flight. Which world-famous musician would you want sitting next to you and why?
Björk. I think we’d have fun.
Favorite quote of all-time?
Joy Harjo: “You must make your own map.”
One thing that’s been keeping you sane during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Favorite board game?
What can we expect to see next from you?
Probably a bunch of zines.
Follow courtney marie on Twitter and find her new poetry collection songs we used to dance to wherever books are sold.