King of the caption Raven Smith speaks to COMMAS about what luxury truly is...
Congratulations on Trivial Pursuits! The stream of consciousness prose is so striking – can you talk us through the process of it becoming a book? Did it start as little notes?
Ah, the book was locked up tight for a century of lonely voice notes. We’re bombarded with information every day now, and I tried to catch on paper every thought crossing my mind to sit back and examine. I think you can feel that rapid fire mind-frenzy in the text.
What was the most fun part and the biggest challenge of putting it together?
There’s a sweet spot as a writer, when you hit a slalom of producing text and it’s pouring out of you like diarrhoea after a dodgy oyster. It feels great, but takes a certain environment to hit that critical point. For me, I had to disassociate for all distractions—my phone, my loved ones, my house—and be completely and purely in the moment with the text. The biggest challenge since finishing has been regrouping on all the relationships that suffered because I went one-track mind on the project.
I also loved the chapter all about love and marriage – I read it twice! What three pieces of relationship advice would you give to readers?
Live, laugh, love? I don’t think I have the key to a great, long-lasting romance. I’m just honest about how it feels right now after 10 years with my husband. It’s a 12-part Netflix doc and you just sit back and watch.
What are your three favourite books/websites/reading sources?
Everybody loves the New York Times right? Especially T magazine. My relationship with my editors at Style is relentlessly fruitful. They made me a better writer, more focussed, more probing rather than one-linery. I’m renovating and leafing through World of Interiors in the living room rubble. My New Yorker subscription was a burden as the unread magazines piled up in my toilet, but now it’s lapsed I miss it terribly.
What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve been given on the book so far? What’s been the bit where most people are like “I feel seen!”?
The first chapter, The Fear, is a hypothetical forecast of how tits up it could all go but it’s not coming true just yet. The feedback’s been good. I’m struck by how relatable my idiosyncrasies are. I think we’re all reacting to the din of information we’re served in the attention economy. We’re all consumers in a capitalist society trying to offset the narcissism alongside the carbon footprint.