Interview with CAROL SISKIND
Carol started her standup career in New York. She then moved on to Los Angeles and after that Las Vegas. Her television credits include numerous appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, HBO, Showtime, as well as many Network comedy sitcom and talk shows. She has worked clubs and theatres throughout the United States, England, and South Africa. In Las Vegas Carol performed in every Strip hotel and casino, including a full year opening for George Wallace at The Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Carol has been featured in People Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Mademoiselle Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Times SundayMagazine (where she was on the cover), The New York Post, the Sunday Times of London, as well as many other publications. She was nominated by the American Comedy Awards as “Best Female Comedian.”
What are you reading right now?
Right now I'm reading Michael Connelly's thriller THE SCARECROW.
What first sparked your interest in writing?
What sparked my interest in writing is what inspired my stand-up, drawing, and painting: the need to express myself. I knew at an early age, when I could make my family laugh, that I was an extrovert in this way. My mother was an artist so self-expression was a way of life I saw intimately.
What do you love the most about writing? The least?
What I like most about writing, when I give in to doing it, is the escape from ego it affords me: to get out of myself and my neurotic, obsessive thoughts.
What I like least about writing is the judgment and criticism I give into, too readily. I either overestimate or underestimate the value of what I have to say, and at times, it's paralyzing.
Tell us a little about your writing process.
My writing “process” varies. With stand-up, I'll write down any current idea or observation, and either hone it then or later for the stage. On rare occasions, the nugget comes to me fully formed. Usually it needs extensive rewording and reworking.
Writing essays or scripts requires a time devoted to the project, like “I will sit this morning and do it.” It requires more discipline for me and is more challenging.
What are your passions?
My passions are family, friends, laughter, beauty in all forms, good food, great wine, the Yankees, and my dog, now gone.
Did you know without a doubt what you would write about in your NO KIDDING essay or did you have a few topics from which you narrowed it down?
When I wrote the essay for NO KIDDING I just wrote, without any forethought as to where is would go. The finished product surprised me, because I didn't judge it. I just wrote.
Was it difficult writing about something so personal?
It's never difficult for me to be personal in my writing. From all years doing stand-up, I've learned that the most personal is the most universal. We're all more alike than not. So I'm not at all shy or modest about sharing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If I have any advice, it's just to do it. Write crap. Don't judge. Just pick yourself up, and with as little self-flagellation as possible. Then rewrite. Do you best to stay out of the result.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I keep this quote from T.S. Eliot on my desk: "There is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”