It’s not just anyone that can slap a David Foster Wallace quote underneath a GIF of Tina Fey burying her head into Oprah’s chest and somehow make the combination meaningful. But Maris Kreizman can, and it’s made her Tumblr, Slaughterhouse 90210, a popular virtual hangout for over six years.
Today, this blend that has TV geeks and literary aficionados frequenting her page is now available in print — and this time, anything from pop culture is game. A sneak peek on her blog revealed that Slaughterhouse 90210: The Book , out today, even includes an entry on Donald Trump. In honor of the book’s release, Kreizman chatted with EW about what inspires her, how she runs her blog, and what she’s planning in the future.
How do you pair the literature with those images?
I have always been a reader, and I’ve always kind of seen the world through the lens of the books that I read. But I’m also really a huge TV fan, and so it’s impossible to not engage in both of those things so avidly and not see connections all over the place.
How does the process for building a post work? Like you’re watching Empire and you think, “Oh, that’s a really good scene; I want to use that?”
It works in both directions, because I have a Google document now that’s 300 pages, and it has a whole bunch of quotes on it — some that I’ve used, and some that I’m just saving. It’s like putting together a puzzle. I’m constantly trying to see what goes with what. So when I’m watching Empire, either I’m saying, “Oh, thank goodness, I’ve finally found a use for this Margaret Atwood quote I’ve been saving.” Or it’s like, “Oh, this one thing happened and it’s about power, and I don’t have the right quote for that, so I search by topic on Goodreads.”
Do you have any that you’re dying to use right now?
There are a couple of quotes that you think are so universal because it gets at some sort of truth that I’ve been trying to articulate, and yet when it comes to actually finding the right image, it can be a little difficult. I just read a book called The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick, and so I just pulled out a bunch of great quotes from there, and I’m waiting for the right moment. A lot of what she talks about are what makes a good conversation, what the important elements are. So I know something’s going to come along, because that’s the nature of television. Elena Ferrante is one of my favorites. I just finished the fourth book in her four-part series, the Neapolitan novels. And she’s got a ton of amazing quotes about friendship and class rage, and I’m waiting for the right moment to use those for sure.
Patrick deWitt just wrote this book called Undermajordomo Minor, it came out a couple of weeks ago, and there’s a quote about the conception of love that I’m waiting for the right image. I guess part of putting the blog together is making sure that it’s not too on the nose, that there’s some layer of complication to it I guess. So that what is being described in the book and what is being described on TV are not exactly the same thing. Something needs to be a little off.
What TV shows are you really into right now?
I just finished watching Mr. Robot and thought it was amazing. It’s really addictive and smart, but still really fun to watch. I’m very glad that Scandal and Empire are back on. I thought that this year has been the year for me of watching TV networks that I thought were completely irrelevant. So on Lifetime I watched UnReal, and on TV Land I watched Younger, and these were all things that I never thought — especially in the age of streaming and network TV—that TV Land would be a thing that would stick out at me, but it’s cool.
A lot of writers have turned their Tumblrs into books in recent years. What has that been like for you?
I tried to make it different enough so that it wasn’t just taking everything that you can find on my blog and slap it into print and be done with it. So part of the focus of the book is it goes beyond TV to movies and pop culture in general — music and sports and politics. So that was a change in scope for sure. And then the other part is a little less exciting, but definitely influenced the book, is that I had to get permission to use all of the images in the book. So you go from a real DIY, make screen caps and put them on the Internet kind of thing, to actually tracking down images that represent the shows that I want to use. So that made me refine my messages a lot more than I’d usually do.
Will there be any entries in the book that are posts from the blog?
A few, yeah. Some of the favorites.
When did you realize that your blog was getting so popular?
In the first year, my friend at the time had a friend who was working at BuzzFeed, and at the time it was like, “What is this? We already have Gawker or whatever it is.” And he sent a link to my blog along to her, and it started generating some buzz. And then book people started taking notice first, really, because that’s the community I come from, so those are the people I know. And once they started talking about it, it kind of fanned out. And Tumblr is so amazing, because it’s really easy to be a fan of specific topics on Tumblr, because you reblog an image or a post and make it your own and celebrate it, and become part of the conversation. I just started getting likes and reblogs on Tumblr, and I started to see a conversation coming up around what I did that didn’t involve me directly, and that’s when I felt like, “Oh, people are actually talking about this.”
Do you see any other books in your future?
Yeah. I am trying very hard to write some essays about pop culture and do some more real writing on the topic. My own words instead of letting someone else’s words speak for me.