The Hazlitt Offensive: Elizabeth Hay

By Hazlitt

Giller-winner Elizabeth Hay is the author of A Student of Weather (2000), Late Nights on Air (2007), and most recently, Alone in the Classroom (2011).

What are three words you associate with your first relationship?
You mean sexual relationship? Delighted, pressured, resentful.

What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
From the ages of 11 to 17, I cleaned house for my mother every Saturday morning, from nine till noon, and she paid me exactly one dollar.

What is your least favourite song?
Paul Anka’s “She’s Havin’ My Baby.”

What is your favourite song?
“My Funny Valentine.”

What’d you have for breakfast this morning?
Breakfast this morning was coffee, muesli pita, then, an hour later, pancakes with yogurt and stewed cranberries.

How do you feel about Joni Mitchell?
Joni? I’d take a case of her.

How did you learn what sex was?
Learned about sex next to Harley’s hedge in Mitchell, Ontario. Eleven years old? Girls my age telling me the brutal basics and saying, “So your mother and father must have done it four times!”

Where do you imagine all our lost T-shirts go?
Lost T-shirts live in rag bags like mine in the basement.

Who do you consider the funniest person in the world—that we would know?
Funniest? P. G. Wodehouse

What’s the worst insult you’ve ever said?
Worst insult I’ve delivered? A terrible memory is sometimes a wonderful thing. All that comes to mind at the moment, and it’s enough, is telling my husband he was so ineffective.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been called?
Worst thing I’ve been called? That first boyfriend said that in my jeans and big shirt I looked as sexy as a senile rhinoceros.

What’s a dealbreaker for someone you’re in a relationship or in love with?
Dealbreaker? Deliberate cruelty.

What’s something you do every night before bed?
Every night before bed I floss every one of my big beaver teeth.

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