Interview with Julie Jackson, Sparky of Snarky Malarkey
Julie lives in Dallas, TX. She has mostly worked at home since 1996 as a freelance copywriter and editor. She started Subversive Cross Stitch about a year ago and has gotten major press from The Washington Post,Guardian,FHM,and ReadyMade to name a few. Julie is currently selling her cross stitch kits at Target.com’s Red Hot Shop and Urban Outfitters. Her blog site Snarky Malarkey is one of my favorite lunchtime-read sites: quick snippits of fun, strange and hilarious from the world-at-large.
When is your Blog Birthday?
November 26, 2001
Why do you blog?
When I first got online, I was so addicted to finding stuff that I wanted to share with friends that I sent out way too much email. Eventually I decided to throw everything on a site and just send people there if they were interested.
I used to send a lot of land mail pre-internet and I wrote a gossip column in my college newspaper, so I guess it’s kind of a natural progression. Plus, it’s kind of like Show and Tell for someone who has stage fright in real life. Or singing at home when you’d never, ever do karaoke. It’s much easier to hide behind the curtain and type.
What do you usually talk about?
Mostly, it’s links to things that caught my eye and stood out as ridiculous, insane or inspirational. Also some glimpses into my life, but I try not to do that very often. I try to post things that amaze me and I can’t wait to share. And on the web that’s pretty endless.
If “snarky” is loosely defined as smart-ass or irritable; and “malarkey” as exaggerated or foolish talk, then “smart-ass foolish talk” kinda sums it up.
What don’t you talk about? Why?
People I’d like to gripe about, particularly those related to me or bosses who were just ridiculous. But I try to control that urge. Also, I try not to get too rabid about politics, but that’s impossible lately. If I’ve said something particularly nasty about Ashcroft or Bush, sometimes I’ll remove it a few weeks later. Just in case more of our liberties disappear and they come after radical bloggers first. (Kidding, kind of).
What is the best experience regarding something you wrote in your blog?
The best experience is that sometimes I’ll be at a party and someone will tell me how much they enjoy reading the site – which is always amazing, because I never think about having an audience beyond a few close friends. The worst thing is that, after that happens, I can’t think of a single clever thing to say. I get really self-conscious and clam up. So that must be pretty disappointing. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Move along, nothing to see here.
Another great thing is the people I’ve met along the way, some of which have become contributors to the site. There’s Rhymer of rhymer.net, a British globetrotter who has his own travel site with scathingly funny commentary. Joseph of pthbbbt.com and his fabulous art mail projects. Matt of scrubbles.net and his great CD mixes. I love that it seems to feed my main obsession which is, ultimately, getting great stuff in the mail.
What is the best thing about living in Dallas?
The best thing about living in Dallas is that my husband and I are both native Dallasites, so our family and friends are here. And if you stay off the beaten path enough, Dallas is still a small community where you run into people you know at galleries and neighborhood bars. The worst thing is the summer heat, the football fans and the dumb guys in pickup trucks.
What do you drive?
A silver beetle.
What would you do if you were president of the US?
I’d have a panic attack and pass out. Then my staff would make up some stupid story about choking on a pretzel.
What actor would play you in the movie of your
No idea, but I hope that John Waters would direct it.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
El Rey 70% dark chocolate from Venezuela.
When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always had a fascination with Darrin’s advertising job on Bewitched — also Rob Petrie’s comedy writing job on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Though I never imagined office settings could be so awful in reality. I always knew I didn’t want to be a mom, but I also didn’t want to be a swingin’ single chick like That Girl. I think I’ve landed in a good place among all that.
What are your hobbies?
Anything computer-related. Mail art. Photography. Online shopping. Gardening. And then there’s my little cross stitch obsession…
What is Mail Art?*
Mail art, or art mail. There are different kinds. Sometimes people just decorate envelopes and use old stamps and doodle all over. Mostly I’m into Joseph’s project which is Mail is Neat. We send eachother boxes full of weird finds, it’s so much fun.
What do you hate?
Funerals. Taxes. Beheadings. Animal cruelty. Bullies. Government involvement in a woman’s right to choose. Religious fanatics who think God is in their pocket.
What do you love?
Siamese cats. Hanging out with our dogs all day. Laughing so hard my face hurts. Gorgeous weather. Big bunches of flowers. The west coast, particularly San Francisco. Alan Cumming. Busby Berkeley musicals. Plushophiles. Packages in the mail. London. The smell of pine trees in East Texas. Having a fourth-grade giggle attack in a business meeting and having to leave because I just can’t stop laughing at nothing at all. Lying in bed for conference calls while all those poor suckers are in their cubicles. The contagious enthusiasm and silliness of my parents. Patio fireplaces. My amazing husband.
What do you want to tell other bloggers?
Brevity is the soul of wit (feel free to remind me).
Astounding facts about you?
Maybe not exactly “astounding”, but…
I interned at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while at grad school in Pittsburgh. On the weekends I went to events dressed as Purple Panda and X the Owl. Sometimes I would wear the costume to my favorite bar just to freak people out. Also, I had a major crush on Bob Dog, who died a few years back (God rest his paws).
What was it like to work with Mr. Rogers?
Fred Rogers was SO sweet and so real. No airs at all, just a super-nice guy whose staff had all been there for years and years. He would lock his keys in his car and make microwave popcorn for everyone, just a regular guy. Also, he was a minister, so he had that kind of genteel good-guy thing about him. They were incredibly kind to me and I was just an intern. They gave me a lot of opportunities and let me answer fan mail. My boss was Mr. McFeely.
I met a lot of the characters from the show. I was there for the last season of production, so I’d hang around for lunch. They were all really a family – people say that about small productions, but it was really true for them because they’d been working together for decades.
Astounding Fact Two:
My parents are in one of the later frames of the Zapruder film, and my mom was about a month pregnant with me at the time. So, technically, I was at the JFK assassination (though it’s kind of a stretch, I know). Here is a link to my family’s recollection of what happened:Consider it Done.
I lived in Pittsburgh when Andy Warhol died, and I used to sit by his grave and talk to him. I’d tell him how great his funeral was and what people were saying about him in the press. He was a captive audience.
I have an unnatural fear of really large flags.
Anything you want to tell us that I didn’t ask you?
I’m in the final stages of a book deal for Subversive Cross Stitch (you heard it here first, I haven’t announced it officially yet). If all goes well, it should be out next fall.
Thank you, Julie!
*Here is more regarding Mail Art:
The Electronic Museum of Mail Art