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First Person

The Experience Questionnaire: Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo is the New York Times No. 1 bestselling author of the book Three Women,” a journalistic look at the sex lives of three American women. Follow her here.  

Where do you come up with your best ideas?  
Driving. Watching movies. I’m never actually present in the moment, which works out well for thinking of new ideas. 

What is the best non-material gift you’ve received? 
My father telling me I could do anything, and being able to pass along the same to my daughter.  

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? 
The death of my parents, living through it.  

If you had to choose a different profession, what would you do? 
Dogsledder/caretaker for the dogs before and after their runs.  

Nutella sandwiches are cool. Or maybe they aren’t, but they should be. 

What is the most useful mistake you’ve made?  
Writing whole novels that I wouldn’t show anyone. 

What’s the strangest experience you’ve had? 
Inhaling too much [prescription] ketamine for depression/anxiety, and being home alone with my daughter while experiencing dizziness/hallucinations. I hugged her to my chest until it passed.  

What opportunity do you regret passing up? 
Going to South America with my best friend for a month, shortly after my mother’s death. Instead, I chose to get MRIs and try to treat physical ailments that were mostly in my head.  

How do you relax? 
I don’t.  

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? 

What is your most indelible childhood memory? 
My father making me Wizard of Oz ruby slippers overnight. Gluing glitter onto a pair of Mary Janes. Not being able to fit my foot into them because they were so starched/hard with glue. Pretending I could so he wouldn’t think it had been for nothing.  

What’s the most valuable thing you learned in school? 
Getting made fun of for eating Nutella sandwiches. Years later, being ahead of the curve. Nutella sandwiches are cool. Or maybe they aren’t, but they should be. In school I learned that being different — or being ok with being different — is almost always good.  

When you’re stuck how do you get unstuck? 
I write something different. Fiction instead of nonfiction. Short story instead of novel. Or I eat.  

What is your proudest moment? 
[Retired pro soccer player] Abby Wambach —  who is Three Women subject Maggie Wilken’s hero — calling Maggie Wilken her hero. Partly because of my book, which helped tell Maggie’s story to readers.  

What would you like to experience before you die?  
Being present in a moment. Peace.  

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Photo by Christopher Lane/Contour by Getty Images

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