Ask The Author: Anya Groner

In the October issue is the wonderful “One Man Ponzi” by Anya Groner. All these question responses are brilliant, we really like them, they feel like exactly what we need.

1. You have a budget of $5 to create a viable Ponzi scheme. What would you create and how would you pull it off?

A viable Ponzi scheme? Isn’t that an oxymoron? I’d give the $5 to a child and tell him to use it as start up capital for a lemonade stand. Child labor is the root of many multi-million dollar business ventures.

2. What strangers do you call by their first name?

Sometimes I refer to authors I like by first name. Just this morning, Flannery told me that she divides people into two classes, the Irksome and the Non-Irksome, with the sub-categories of Medium Irksome and Rare Irksome. Calling authors by their first names helps me believe that my feelings of closeness aren’t based solely on the one-sided admiration that grows out of reading. I can pretend that I don’t fit into the Irksome category and we’re actually friends.

Also, I watch the occasional yoga video and I’m on a first name basis with a few of the instructors.  “Happy baby, again,” I sometimes scold. “WTF, Rodney! We did that yesterday. Change it up why don’t you.” It’s less relaxing, but more fun, to talk back to the video.

3. How is worrying for prudes?

Worrying prevents us anxious types from engaging in all sorts of delightful, reckless behavior.

4. When was the last time you drunk dialed anyone? What did you say?

If I could remember, it wouldn’t be a drunk dial, now would it? I’ve sent my share of drunken text messages and, when I read them later, they’re full of affectionate clichés.

5. Which is more practical: a one man Ponzi scheme or a one-armed scissor?

This is a trick question.

6. How did you create “One Man Ponzi”?

The same day last April that tornadoes wiped out portions of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, my friend Ryan and I, rather foolishly, drove around Oxford, Mississippi watching trees bend and floodwaters run uphill. On the radio, a college DJ commanded his listeners to seek shelter. “This one’s for real,” he kept saying, voice trembling. Ryan had just put his small house on the market. A couple was viewing it that morning, and we had a few hours with nowhere in particular to be. When we realized how dangerous the weather was, we couldn’t find shelter. Every local business was closed. As we drove through the storm, I pointed out all the newly formed creeks that crossed our neighbor’s yards. Later we returned to Ryan’s house to discover a massive oak tree had fallen on it, destroying his porch and some of
the roof. Ryan was devastated and there was little I could do to console him. To make matters worse, the same couple that visited the house during the storm, made a bid on his property that afternoon. They had no idea that between visiting the house and making an offer, the porch had splintered and tree limbs had ripped down the gutters. “One Man Ponzi” is a poem about all the stupid, useless advice I gave Ryan that day. It’s about the desire to run away from responsibility and the false hope that it’s possible to escape adulthood. I called it “One Man Ponzi” because, like any ponzi scheme, every word of consolation I gave Ryan felt doomed from the get go.