MD: Coffee if it’s ice cream, but I prefer gelato — in which case I like a mix of dark chocolate and pistachio.
KLC: Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled to and what was so cool about it?
MD: I guess the place(s) I’ve loved the most have been in the countryside, where it still gets dark at night, things still howl, the stars are bright, and I can feel how very small I am — how insignificant — and there is a comfort to that. In the city, where everything is manmade, we mistakenly think we are too significant, that we have built cities and so we must be gods. We are not gods.
KLC: Name one movie you can quote and then quote it.
MD: LOST BOYS: “Death by stereo!”
KLC: Pick one: Eleanor Roosevelt, Angela Davis, or Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
MD: Eleanor Roosevelt. I feel like this is a trick question and I’m not supposed to choose the only white woman, which is probably why I did just that.
KLC: The United States electoral process is _______________________.
MD: …better than many places in the world, but not yet good enough. I think voting should be a requirement, and all election days should be holidays.
KLC: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done to get someone’s attention?
MD: I have no idea. I once yelled at someone across a shopping mall for littering. I guess I was trying to get their attention…?
KLC: If you had the opportunity to patent a brand new product, what might that be?
MD: I’ve always had this idea for make-up remover that was a stick. But now that I’ve told you, someone will steal the idea — sigh — there go my millions of dollars.
KLC: Which of the following is least likely to ever exist: bigfoot, elves, or government regulation on Wall Street?
MD: First of all, elves do exist — they were here but then they left on a boat with Gandolff, it was in the third movie. I’ve always had big feet — and I’ve seen even bigger — so I know many Bigfoots exist. Regulation on Wall Street on the other hand, I don’t know… Wall Street might have to cease being Wall Street before it’s regulated. Maybe when it becomes Fair Street or Open Street.
KLC: Wild card question! If you have a signature dish that no one makes better than you, tell us what is and tell us the secret ingredient. (Hint: you may lie.)
MD: A cheesecake, and the secret ingredient is a little bit of white chocolate.
KLC: Have you ever won a medal, trophy, ribbon, etc. at something that had absolutely nothing to do with writing? What was it??
MD: The trophy I’m most proud of in my entire life was the MVP award I got senior year of high school when I was the goalie for the varsity soccer team. Let’s just say we didn’t win a lot of games, so I got a lot of action down by the goal. I got kicked in the head at least once, and kicked other places many other times. One game I had 32 saves, which is unheard of in soccer — and I probably got scored on 8 or 9 times that game. What means the most about the award is that the whole team voted anonymously and I got all but two votes, and I know I didn’t vote for myself. That’s always meant a lot to me.
KLC: Can you share something about yourself that no one has ever asked you about in an interview before?
MD: I have been with my partner for more than 15 years. It was through her that I learned to like country music. I now like country music so much that one of my dreams is to write country songs some day.
Can you send me a photo and a 100-200 word bio (in Word or email body) please? And include a website if you have one!
Mashuq Mushtaq Deen. Fellowships/Writing Groups/Awards include: New Dramatists Company Member, MacDowell Colony Fellow, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, NYTW 2050 Fellow, P73 Interstate, NYFA, Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Jerome Fellowship Finalist, O’Neal Semifinalist, James Baldwin Award, Weissberger Award nomination. He is currently part of the Literary Committee at Queens Theatre in the Park. His full-length plays THE SHAKING EARTH, DRAW THE CIRCLE (dir. Chay Yew), TANK & HORSE, and SHUT UP! have been produced/developed by InterAct Theatre, Public Theater, Dixon Place, Berkshire Fringe, NYTW, Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, Passage Theatre, and Queens Theatre, Hampshire College, PACE University, Brooklyn BEAT Festival, Berkshire Fringe Festival, Ma-Yi, Page73, Hemispheric Institute.
Deen is also a working group member for the global Indian advocacy group Sampoorna*, and works for transgender inclusion and advocacy both in NYC and in collaboration with national and international organizations. He teaches writing workshops and trains community support group facilitators. He has a number of hobbies, which include baking bread, birthing stuffed monsters, and woodworking, and studying classical guitar.