Miranda July in conversation with host Lena Dunham

The First Bad ManFrom the moment Lena Dunham sat down to interview her friend, Miranda July, I knew it was going to be a wonderful evening at BAM. Lena decided to write her interview questions on Post-it® notes, which she would stick to the table between them once Miranda answered. If Miranda decided to pass on a question, the rule was that Lena would stick it on Miranda’s body (Lena, of course, choosing where to stick it.) You know, like a game! It wasn’t long before one Post-it® ended up on Miranda’s braless breast, and that was just the early part of the evening. The whole interview (or truly, I should say chat) was intimate, funny, vulnerable, wise and inspiring. At times it was a little uncomfortable because Miranda’s novel delves into some pretty disquieting topics. During the Q&A, an audience member who had studied psychiatry asked a reasonable question about the decision to have the main character pee in her therapist’s office. Miranda visibly squirmed as she bravely answered the question. The book is full of squirm-worthy scenes, and Miranda was clear in explaining her creative choices, while honestly admitting how uncomfortable it can feel to be on a book tour with a first novel that is as challenging as hers. That said, the positive energy on stage and in the room was infectious, and the admiration and fondness these two friends had for each other spread out into the audience. I admire these two mega-talented women, and now I have a decision to make: should I read Miranda July’s debut novel, The First Bad Man, knowing that I will cringe through large chunks of it (even though I know the writing will be excellent?) If I do, I’ll let you know what I think!

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