THC: What is the defining moment of your arts career at Harvard?
MJC: I think the defining moment was going to a Brad Watson “Writers in the Parlor” reading when I was a junior. He talked about the different things that inspired him, kind of rubbed his writerly beard for a while, and then suddenly he started reading this really quiet, really slow, unbelievably moving and explosive story--it was about two sisters and a recovering addict who goes to rent their empty bedroom. Right after that I thought, I really want to write something half as good as this.
THC: Who are your greatest influences?
MJC: There’s that great line in “Midnight in Paris” where Ernest Hemingway’s character says something to the effect of, “If someone else writes something great, you hate that it’s great. And if they write something bad, you hate that it’s bad.” But actually I love when my friends write great stuff, just like I love when I write good stuff. It’s all just an additional amount of good stuff anyway, and all we’re trying to do is make more good stuff, right? I remember one fellow member of the Advocate wrote a story that had a gypsy reading in it. I loved it so much that I tried to incorporate one into a story of my own.
THC: Where do you see yourself in 30 years?
MJC: Hopefully employed. God let’s hope so.
THC: How do you think you’ll look back on your college work?
MJC: I’ll think: God, no wonder nobody hired that guy.