Monique Daviau is the LAFF staffer who conducted all of the LAFF interviews on this here website. You can see her performing as an old lady with Battle-Axe, but mostly, she’s a big old writery writer. She’s off to the University of Michigan’s MFA creative writing program in the fall, and she helped to write the upcoming play 69 Love Scenes, which goes up in July at Salvage Vanguard. Julie Gillis wrote the interview questions because Mo would never interview herself. That’s just weird.
LAFF: If you had to chose between writing and performing which would it be and why? Who was your greatest influence as a writer?
Jules, what the hell is this Sophie’s Choice-ass dystopian universe you’re creating for me? Really? Okay: so, Austin goes all Republic of Gilead and I have to choose. I choose writing. Mostly because I’ve been writing since I was eight years old and it’s my #1 life’s obsession, and I think I’m pretty good at it. My entire reason for living is to someday hold my published novel in my hands and do a victory lap around my neighborhood. I love performing, too. I think both are complimentary. I perform a lot of what I write, and my writing has really improved over the years through my involvement with improv. But if your creepy bad-guy overlord shows up tomorrow and says I have to choose…well…screw it! I’m moving to Ann Arbor in a few months! You can enslave your creative people here all you want after I’m gone.
My greatest influences as a writer? Elinor Lipman, who was my writing teacher in college, writes novels that are the perfect balance between poignant and funny, as does Austin’s own Sarah Bird. I really can’t over-recommend the book How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely. He nailed everything on the head with that one, and I just love a novel that makes me laugh out loud. I really love whoever Dear Sugar is on The Rumpus. Sugar gives the greatest advice! I feel like Tina Fey is a really obvious choice as an influence, but Bossypants is like a textbook for women in comedy. She’s just brilliant. Go read it!
2) What feels different to you about Austin 2011 in terms of the artistic scene here and also LAFF?
I really love talking to the comedians from other cities who come to perform at LAFF. We are so welcoming and inclusive and full of love, and I feel really proud of the work we do, creating a space for women to develop their work and make friends and have a wonderful weekend in the amazing city of Austin. I’m really glad that LAFF spreads a little sunshine and creates a small, temporary utopia (I’m kind of fixated on utopias/dystopias at the moment–bear with me).
Austin has turned into the kind of place where so much fascinating creative stuff is happening all the time that you have absolutely no excuse for being bored or uninspired. This city is like a big Kindergarten with miles of butcher paper and fingerpaint.
I feel lucky to have found the Austin improv community when it was young and small. 2002, to be exact. I’ve really learned a lot from everyone here on how to rock it as an artist. I will be grateful to the Austin arts community for the rest of my life.
3) You and I have been eating lunch together since 2004. What the flippity flop am I gonna do when you are in Mitten Land? Skype over Thai?
Oh, sweetie! The last F in BFF stands for Forever! I may be going away, but I’ll never be gone. I’ve tried to leave Austin twice before, and I always come back. What can I say? Austin is a magnet and my heart is made of metal.