VH: If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
FSG: My seven-year-old self was planning all kinds of books to write because I'd been a big hit with my first book, "The Platypuses of Platypus Desert," so I'd tell myself, "Don't stop" and "Don't listen to other people: You can do this!" and "This is who you are, you can't change that." I don't know what advantage this would give me other than time. I've always been rejected, and I've never felt like I fit in or that I was accepted by other writers, and knowing this is who I am wouldn't make me feel like less of a monster, but this may encourage me not to give up, as I have too many times in my life, because I'd know at least weird time traveling Future Me believed in me.
VH: When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
FSG: Nine years ago I had a ruptured diverticulum that would've killed me except for some remarkable chance occurrences. I had to have three feet of intestines removed, and the doctor said I came very close to dying. I've had many opportunities to feel really alive after that, but they're not always the sort of beauty you see in greeting cards. I was in graduate school at the time, and once on campus, soon after my surgery, I found myself suddenly surrounded by a hundred screaming cheerleaders, and I realized life was this sort of terrible ululation, from the screaming of babies for food or love to the rasping old age scream need of death beds.
VH: What is the one thing, good or bad, you wish you could have said to a former boyfriend/girlfriend? Why didn’t you? Don’t worry he/she probably won’t read this.
FSG: The first girl I ever kissed went missing, and I didn't see her again until thirteen years later. It was a complicated family situation involving custody and foster care, but I was led to believe, because I did not have her to ask, that she had tried to kill herself with valium and was put into a mental institution. One of the many things I regretted when she went missing is that, despite the many times she told me she loved me, I never told her I loved her back. When I saw her again thirteen years later, I got to say many things I had wanted to say, but I couldn't tell her I loved her. I was married by that time, so I had to let it go unsaid.
VH: That's too bad. However being married, you probably made the right decision. Interestingly enough I am on the other side of the coin. I have an "I love you" I would like to take back.
Thank you F. Simon Grant. I wish you the best health and a long life. One filled with minimal regret and maximum well-being.