Smash Lits with Aaron Burch

I published Aaron Burch’s CNF The Idea of it All at this week at The Forge. I love how this tiny piece builds, how poignant it is. And I got to interview Aaron too.

1) What would your superhero power be?

So, I have this lesson plan built around this This American Life segment about flight vs. invisibility. I use it every semester, it’s one of my faves. I always start class that day by having my students do a 5 minute freewrite where they have to answer, If they could have one superpower—flight OR invisibility—which would it be? I’ve done it so many times, that my kneejerk response is to make your broad question an either/or one, in which case, I’d say flight.

2) What is your default pub drink?

Either beer or whiskey. IF the pub has a cheap beer + whiskey combo, I’ll get that, although very rarely will if they don’t specifically offer it as a combo, preferably with a bar specific word for it, like a “happy meal” or “beer and a bump” or “the regular.”

3) What was the last text you sent?


4) Your writing is music, what style is it?

Some kind of doom or death metal that is sometimes slow and melodic and instrumental and sometimes gets heavy with riffs and accompanying screaming? Maybe (ideally?) it’s the Jack Black hidden track on Dave Grohl’s heavy metal side project, Probot, where it’s a pretty heavy rock song but also laughy?

5) What is the oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe?

Probably one of my band shirts from high school?

6) Do you believe human beings can spontaneously combust?

No. Although I do believe that that makes me boring.

7) What sandwiches would you make for a picnic with Margaret Atwood?


8) What’s your favourite swear?

I wanna be creative here but it’s probably just “fuck.” it’s such a great all-purpose word.

9) If there was a TV show called The Masked Writer, what would your costume be?

Probably a buffalo, although that might give me away.

10) Who is your favourite TV detective?

Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames on Bored to Death.

11) What is your favourite smell?

This last week it has been a freshly sharpened pencil.

12) What was your first concert?

MC Hammer.

13) What is your phone screensaver?

This skull I painted.

14) What is your favourite cheese?


15) Who is your favourite Sesame Street character?


16) What colour is Tuesday? 


17) Have you ever had a nickname?

Not really? A couple of my friends call me Hobart. My invisible friend when I was little was “Leafy” and sometimes my best friend will break that out.

18) Do you have a favourite pen?

Pilot G-2s, and though I believe myself to be in the wrong in this, I go back and forth between preferring the 05 and 07. I actually like each for different purposes.

19) Have you chosen your funeral song?

No. I’ll be dead, I don’t care.

20) Write me a question for the next Smash List interview I do.

What two emoji smashed together best encapsulate you?

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