Date of Interview: June 14, 2017
Name: Alexander Detellio
Location: Chicago, IL
How often do you bathe or shower?
Normally, I’m a once a day person. But when it’s really gross out I sometimes shower twice a day [laughter]. Mainly showers. Although, when I’m depressed, I take baths. This is one of the most un-depressing baths I’ve had in a very long time [laughter].
If you were an underwater creature what would it be?
I’ve always been obsessed with giant squids. That’s from reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” growing up. So I guess I would be that [laughter].
Do your books play a major role in your life?
Yeah. My life revolves around literature, not just my everyday life but specifically my hopes and dreams for life. It’s very influenced by all sorts of stories.
What are you passionate about?
Well, literature, obviously but I think in a more general sense, storytelling is something that I feel has a moral force. So I’ve developed a passion for stories, but it doesn’t have to just be fiction or books. Even the best philosophy, which is something else that I’m passionate about, can also tell a story- even if it’s veiled in philosophical jargon. This is something I’m discovering about myself recently: being an outcast growing up, I retreated to stories and it was something that gave me a release and then as I got older and studied stories, I don’t know, I was able to figure out how stories can affect people more generally. So I guess a combination of my experience growing up and then wanting to help other people in finding out that stories can do that.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
In life in general? I guess probably writing my undergraduate thesis [laughter]. Well, because part one is an academic essay and part two is a short story. The short story was just a bit longer than the essay and actually helped me work on a lot of questions I have about the world. And also doing it in such a way that gave it a formal merit. I felt super accomplished by writing this short story that other people who read it thought was pretty decent.
What is something you still struggle with?
Something I struggle with. I guess probably overcoming kind of depressive states that– I don’t even know how to put this– that I force on myself to an extent. Like wallowing in that sort of thing. And I think that probably stems from my experiences when I was younger. I mean, high school’s a fucking terrible place and I was definitely an overweight kind of nerdy kid and the jocks loved picking on me for that. So that was that sort of thing. And then there’s other stuff I guess. Parents [inaudible] divorce when I was 12 or 13. That affected it as well. But it turns out that that was for the better so in hindsight yeah [laughter].
What do you think of relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?
Oh, well. Humans are relational creatures obviously. It’s how we function. So I value relationships pretty heavily, although I’m the type of person where, at different points of my life, I’ve had different types of relationships as you know. So in some cases, I’ve had lots of friends and only a few really close friends. And in other cases, it’s gone the other way. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I think I value quality relationships. That being said, sexual relationships have probably been more quantity than quality over the years. But I think that’s because I’m narcissistic or something [laughter]. There’s some truth for you [laughter].
What does the word relationship mean to you?
What sense of the word relationship do you mean? I don’t know. I guess it’s like there’s different types of love, right? Different Greek words for love. And this is from me studying religious things but [inaudible]. There’s romantic love, there’s familial love, friendship love, and the one that may or may not be there: God love. And I guess, I– that fits it pretty well. And we don’t have English words for that. So the Greek words work pretty well. I don’t know. I guess I follow that pretty closely.