Patricia Lockwood found fame by the unlikeliest of routes: poetry. Her poem, “Rape Joke,” went wildly viral when it was first published at The Awl. (“The rape joke is if you write a poem called Rape Joke,” she writes, “you’re asking for it to become the only thing people remember about you.”) Lockwood followed it with the widely (and justly) praised collection, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. Priestdaddy is her first book of prose, a delirious and often meditative memoir about moving, with her husband, in with her parents. The twist, made explicit in the jokey title, is that Lockwood’s parents live… in a rectory: her father is a Catholic priest. Extra Crispy talked to Lockwood about her book and about breakfast. “This may be the most provocative interview I give!” she told us. “Gotta keep people on their toes.”
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Patricia Lockwood: DEATH TO BREAKFAST
Is that a normal breakfast for you?
Yes, it is normal for me, to wish death to breakfast as my only breakfast.
Are there any breakfast-relevant moments in your new book?
Actually, my favorite breakfast moment in the book is one I didn't even witness. My husband was at First Watch with my mother, because she needs First Watch every morning in order to live, and she leaned over her egg-white omelet and told him that rats in big cities are, quote, getting aggressive from eating too many cigarette butts. "They're addicted to nicotine, and they want more."
What was the most difficult challenge you faced writing this book?
One of my greatest challenges was coming to terms with the fact that, as far as memory goes, I'm the human equivalent of a trash bag filled with wind. I kept having to call up my mom when I was writing and be like, "What state did we live in when this happened?" and she would bark, "Hold on!" and then I would hear a huge crash as she yanked out the appropriate photo album in order to check.
This is not a question, I just wanted to say that I grew really very fond of the seminarian.
We love the seminarian. My dad used to make him eat these enormous sausage and bacon breakfasts when he was wildly hung over from drinking with us, and he had to sit there forking up these huge plates of sizzled pig while making sincere yummy noises or else my dad's feelings would be hurt! If you peeked into the dining room while this was happening you would see him slumped over sideways in his chair, literally green, begging you for help with his eyes. It was the best.