Guest Q&A: Molly Lewis
YouTube sensation Molly Lewis is a singer and songwriter known for her ukulele playing. Her albums include I Made You a CD, But I Eated It, The Same Old Songs, But Live, and the recently released Thanksgiving Verses Christmas. The talented musician, who will be performing live at 3 p.m. during this year’s festival, is also a prolific questionnaire responder, as evidenced below:
What is your greatest fear?
That science will discover the secret to immortality, right after I’ve kicked the bucket myself. (I wanna see how stuff pans out!)
On what occasion do you lie?
When people say “you should write a song about [x]” and I say “ha ha, maybe someday!” I also have this exchange a lot:
In the middle of a conversation, Friend hesitates mid-thought and says to me, “Have you seen [e.g. The Goonies]?” in a way that (1) seems to assume that I have seen it, and (2) suggests they’re about to briefly detour the conversation to drop a reference to [The Goonies] that innocuously relates to whatever we were talking about.
I say “Hmm, it’s been a while” or “I watched it on TV, so I might not have caught the whole thing?”
Friend makes their reference, usually starting with “You know the part where [events transpire]? [Seemingly pertinent connection to our conversation]!”
“Right, yeah!” I say. Friend is happy, the conversation loses no momentum and clips forward, but I have never seen [The Goonies].
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I was better at starting up conversation. Well, truthfully I wish I could just cut straight to the part where I know what I have in common with someone, but I’m terrible at volleying back questions during idle chit-chat — I really should just keep a list of standby questions:
“So how is YOUR day going?”
“Do you have any pets?”
“Who’s your favorite Beatle?”
“Have you seen The Goonies?”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I graduated from college. Full stop. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it for a while there.
When I was a sophomore, my musical career began to gain some serious traction, and while my professors were understanding and patient about my periodically leaving to play a run of shows out of state, the university was less than supportive about me pursuing a career track outside of their jurisdiction. I argued that this was my career field of choice, and that when I went off to do these shows what I was really doing was job-shadowing, trading unpaid time for work experience, making industry connections, and all the other things the university would advise me to do in one of their career tracks; they were not moved by this reasoning, and wanted me to devote my full time & attention to my studies. (This, of course, only deepened my conviction to my music.)
I tried to fly under the radar for the remainder of my degree program, but I often thought about dropping out or taking a gap year so that I could pursue music full-time. Even so, I knew that if I took any time off from either career, I would lose my momentum and probably never get back on the horse. Fortunately (and with the guidance and cooperation of my exceedingly patient professors), I was able to resist that temptation, maintain my momentum, and complete my degree on time.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I just know that when I type the word “brunch,” my phone has learned to autocorrect it to “BRÜNCH.”
What is your most treasured possession?
It’s a boring answer, but here it goes: my smartphone.
I love my phone. Not even the one piece of hardware with my phone number in it that I specifically own — I just love the idea of smartphones, and the possibilities they contain. Anywhere I go, I can buy anything, I can listen to any song, I can find the answer to any question, I can reach out to anyone. It has my audiobooks, it remembers birthdays and appointments for me, it has videos of my cat being clumsy and adorable (which I recorded directly into it)… It keeps me on top of and connected to the many disparate moving parts of my life.
I get tweets on a regular basis from people who are ukulele shopping, asking for advice on how to buy a decent uke on a budget. My mom sends me selfies she takes when she’s having a good hair day. There’s someone on the ISS right now who is taking pictures of the earth out his window and posting them to Instagram. These are just some of the things that my smartphone makes available to me.
And what’s more, it’s all so immediate. There’s so much stuff happening all over the planet, all the time, and you find yourself connected to so much of it, in real time. Sussing out new ways we can connect to each other is just my favorite thing about living in this century.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their understanding and their patience. I can be brusque and awkward, but they choose to hang out with me anyway.
The quality you most admire in a person?
The discretion to know that just because one can buy/say/do something does not always mean that one should.
What supernatural gift would you most like to possess?
Temporal manipulation, especially being able to pause time – somewhere between Quicksilver and Hiro. When I was in school I used to fantasize about being able to freeze time so I could take a nap in class / take a restroom break / finish my assignment in the moment it was due, without my classmates or teacher noticing any interruption.
What is your favorite food?
Mul naengmyun (Korean cold buckwheat noodle soup). My Ahabian quest for it is unending.
What is your favorite color?
I’ve been a fan of Crayola’s “blue violet” crayon since I was about 4 years old.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Jed Bartlett (for president 2016 please).
Who is your favorite artist?
I assume we’re talking visual artists – Bill Watterson? John Singer Sargent? Mary Blair?
Who are your favorite writers?
Douglas Adams, Chuck Klosterman, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom and her parents are the reason I got through college in one piece.
My partner Ben, who supports me, and reminds me to eat when I’m in a lyric-writing fugue state.
DC, Marvel, Lovecraft, or Whedon Universe?
None of the above – Disney (feature animation and theme parks especially).
What is your present state of mind?
That feeling when you put your phone down and you know it’s in this room somewhere but you can’t seem to spot it — that feeling, but for the answers to these questions.
What is your motto?
Uteruses before duderuses.