Nancy Rommelmann, formerly of Los Angeles, now of Portland, writes frequently about food, life, loss, and love. Her compassion for her subjects never cloys; her probing of their foibles never crosses the line into cruel exploitation. And thus, she kindly answered our probing, exploitative questions.
1. What’s the first thing(s) you read in the morning?
Currently: War and Peace, the new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation.
Eternally: The New York Times
2. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure website? Dlisted
3. What job do you fantasize about having? Novelist
4. Last movie you saw? Beowolf, about ten minutes ago
5. Last book you read?
Steve Almond’s Rants, Exploits and Obsessions (Not That You Asked)
6. Best show legendary biz/movie star encounter. At age fifteen, I stopped Paul Newman on Madison Avenue, knowing full well it was him behind his mirrored shades, and asked, sweetly, “Can you tell me what time it is?” At which he took a two-second pause, drank in my long, bare, mini-skirted legs, and slowly pulled off his glasses.
7. Proudest media moment? Winning AAN and LA Press Club awards back-to-back was pretty good, but really, it’s every story I’m working on where I sense the greatness and just keep chipping away.
8. Ever had a brush with the law? Describe. Busted, again at fifteen, for shoplifting at Bloomingdale’s. In the mugshot, I am smiling with a pair of sunglasses pushing back my hair. It was a good thing they did not realize these, too, were stolen, as they would have put my take at over $200 and landed me in juvvie. As it was, the security guard riffled through my purse, found my mother’s charge plates, and, I think out of sheer disgust, let us go.
9. If you got a unicorn what would you name it? Go Away.
10. What does your TiVo think about you? I don’t have TiVo.
11. Character of fiction you most resemble? Helen of Troy, a persona bestowed on me by a secret society at Wesleyan. Made more sense, then.
12. Who plays you in your bio-pic?
13. What’s your ringtone? It used to sound like the theme song to a 70s cop show, but my new phone has an atrocious selection, so now it just sounds like a 70s phone.
14. Favorite electronic device? iPod shuffle. Also, my only electronic device.
15. What do your friends say is your best quality? Caring.
16. What do your enemies say is your worst? Muckraking.
17.What natural talent do you wish you had? I’m not sure I believe in natural talent, but I would like to be very fierce, the sort of person who can survive anything by her wits, skill, smarts and cunning.
18. What’s your theme song? A few songs — or rather, snippets of songs — have taken up residency in my head, playing at all times and at various levels, including this, this and this.
19. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes.
20. When’s the last time you volunteered? Where?
Helped a seventh grader once a week last year with his homework; Beaumont Middle School, Portland, Oregon.