THE LARB END-OF-YEAR EDITOR INTERVIEWS: Medaya Ocher

Editor’s Note: This is the second interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, their work depends on the generous support of everyday readers who keep LARB going;  we hope you’ll consider giving this month for our winter fund drive. 

Meet Medaya Ocher, Deputy Fiction Managing Editor.

What do you do and why? 

I’m one of the fiction editors here at LARB. Why? How far back should I go? I really love fiction, I’ve worked on it for quite some time academically, but I wanted to bridge that divide that sometimes exists between academia and the rest of the world. I also wanted a literary community in Los Angeles, and I found one at LARB.

What is your favorite place to write/edit outside of your home? 

I rent a desk in an all-women’s work space near my house. There’s a huge cart full of tea and some very intelligent, cool women work there. It’s also very fun to tell men that they’re just categorically unwelcome. It really upsets them.

What is your favorite thing to drink while writing/editing

Sparkling water, because it feels very indulgent.

NASA asks you to select one piece of art/literature/music/film to send into space that will explain our civilization to aliens. What do you choose and why? 

What sort of question is this? Why would NASA ask me to do this? Just to make me miserable? No thank you NASA, go trick someone else.

Share a cultural moment/experience you had in 2015 that you really enjoyed.

I loved Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. I read it on the plane, in the middle seat, and I was crying by the end, which was embarrassing. I wanted to hide my face but also just pass it down and tearily wave my hands, and make everybody read it.

Share a cultural moment/experience you had in 2015 that you really didn’t enjoy. 

I somehow found myself watching the MTV VMAs this past September and let me tell you, that was just awful. Somehow I sat through the whole thing, but I was just bewildered the entire time. What is anger? What are tears? Did Miley Cyrus just call Snoop her “Mammy”? It was just a series of events and emotions and performances that I could not understand at all.

What is the one question you always wish people would ask in interviews? Now answer it!

I wish people would ask about personal ghost stories. It would take too long for me to answer that here, but I’m happy to do it in person, always.

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