We recently published E. Kristin Anderson’s clever “Ted Cruz Injures His Hand at a Party at the Governor’s Mansion.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) This story is part of a series on Ted Cruz — what made you pick him in particular for these pieces?
I’m trying very hard to remember exactly where this came from but all of my best and also weirdest ideas happen somewhere between 1am and 4am and I don’t know why this project happened but I did find this text to myself from last summer in which I decided I was going to write this project last summer and planned on pitching it to Nicci Mechler at Porkbelly Press (she published my Prince chap in 2015). I’ve since joined the Porkbelly Press staff so I never did pitch Nicci. But I have since written fifteen or so of these little Cruzies. I have them in a file called SAD TROMBONE FOR TED CRUZ. I think his is my way of coping with the fact that this guy not only exists but purportedly represents my interests in the United States Senate. So maybe if I can give him a very fictional bad day, maybe it will help. Sometimes I tweet him, just to be like hey, what’s up Ted, EKA here, what the actual fuck are you doing? But in the case of Cruz, probably writing fiction is more productive. Though there have been two unfortunate side effects.1: Twitter keeps suggesting that I follow Sean Hannity and Paul Ryan and really nobody needs that shit. 2: All of my writer friends—in and outside of Texas—have begun to associate me with Ted Cruz and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this. Mostly I feel weird, I guess. Still, I have a list going of more Cruzies to write. It’s a thing now. You’re welcome, Democracy.

2) You manage the great trick of making the character relatable, yet detestable. How hard is it to pull off that balancing act, to make someone so hated/hateful come across as sympathetic?

I feel like what makes this work is how the Ted Cruz that you see on TV is very much all there is to Ted Cruz. Like I sort of assumed that this was true, but after a couple of these pieces hit the web, I learned that a friend of a friend of a friend apparently was his college room mate and was like yeah the dude is really that weird and evil. So I think the actual absurdity of Ted Cruz’ personality and beliefs and actions feed right into what makes the mundane bullshit that I’m writing somehow entertaining. Like I never wrote the Stevie Nicks piece from the original text I sent myself. I ended up writing about him being in a feud with a possum and tripping over his kid’s science project and having gross, wet socks after stepping in a huge puddle because it’s so plausible. And enjoyable. I should say that the last thing I want is to humanize Ted Cruz. He’s a 100% revolting human being who is too gross for even Satan to claim. He has an actual history of DOING MIME! That is real! I didn’t make that up! And former Speaker of the House and purported nice guy John Boehner—yes, a republican—once said, “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” So basically Teddy is so incredibly unlikeable and ridiculous that the only way to make him interesting is to give readers a reason to maybe feel bad for him. But not that bad. That pity/schadenfreude balance only works because the human filth vortex that is my junior senator is next-level uncharming. So for me, having him be a completely insecure menace to his own personal wellbeing is more interesting and believable than the Stevie Nicks thing. Anyway, I know way too many things about Ted Cruz now, even for a constituent. Like he’s a Sagittarius. And as a Sag myself, I really need to know his time of birth so I can do his full chart. For democracy. Or art. Whichever.