5 Questions: Writer Liz Mason

Liz Mason holding Caboose #11

Liz Mason has been self-publishing for over twenty years. Recent published works include Caboose #11 and Awesome Things #3. Her work has also been printed in such publications as The Chicago Tribune, Broken Pencil, Punk Planet, The Zine Yearbook, Third Coast Review and more. Currently, she is the manager of Quimby’s Bookstore, home of wild and weird reading material in Chicago, where she has worked since 2001. She once appeared on the reality show Starting Over to provide instruction on publishing zines, which NBC executives referred to as “pamphlets,” as if they were Marxist propaganda. More info at LizMasonIsAwesome.com

From Caboose #9 Masons on Masons: How to Start a Secret Society, collaboration with Joe Mason

1.What’s been keeping you up at night?
Drinking too much coffee and being excited about all the good things to read, while simultaneously worrying about all the projects I’m neglecting.

Awesome Things #3, Liz’s most recent zine

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but I guess it would have to be any of these things:

a. The book High Static Dead Lines: Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter
Book by Kristen Gallerneaux
(Strange Attractor Press). It’s a poetic, arty musing on sound as ley lines of a sort. Haunted fax machines,
archaeoacoustics, paranormal preposterousness — all of which I simultaneously love and make fun of.

b. The new albums from Honeyblood (“In Plain Sight”) and Sebadoh (“Act Surprised”). Melodic perfection on both accounts.

c. The podcast “Having Funlessness with Jen Kirkman”

She’s a working comediane and writer, so since this podcast is essentially her diary, we hear a lot about the behind-the-scenes of her career. But it’s filtered through her personal experiences, which I enjoy. Plus, we’re the same age so my opinions echo hers on a lot of things.

Back cover, Awesome Things #3, Liz’s most recent zine

From Cul-de-sac #7, produced by Liz Mason and Julie Halpern

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
In terms of the store at Quimby’s I’m excited about new books, zines and comics coming out and selling them to the public, but it’s not like I have any hand in the production of other people’s art. However, in terms of my own stuff I’m excited about working on the next issue of my zine Caboose. And I bit the bullet and made my zines available to order on-line somewhere besides quimbys.com — I finally made an Etsy shop for my stuff: etsy.com/shop/LizMasonZines

Liz at Quimby’s with Walt Park the dog!

And then I’m also excited about editing the recording my friend Sacha and I just made of the next episode of the podcast we do called The “Found *NSYNC Fan Fiction Radio Hour.” We read aloud pages of an anonymous author’s *NSYNC fan fiction, from a binder found at a thrift store. And it’s accompanied by music so it’s like a real radio drama. For real. Like this a real binder one of my friends found at a real thrift store, I swear I’m not making this up: rayofblight.podbean.com

Liz Mason at Quimby’s | Photo credit Ed Marszewski

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
Lucky for me, I’m choosing someone still alive. I know Patti Smith used to work in a bookstore. She’d be good to have as a bookseller who knows poetry well, since I feel like I have kind of a blindspot on that. I’m enjoying M Train as an audiobook right now. I like when she talks about books she read. In her 70s she still sits in cafes and reads, drinking coffee for hours. I know everybody says Just Kids was great but I think M Train is more my style; she talks about dreams with Pat Sajak and watching cable in hotel rooms.  Interestingly, I find her more compelling as a writer than a performer.

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
“Caffeine and Office Supplies”