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The DX Diabetes Dish: Kurt Andersen

The DX regularly features The DX Diabetes Dish, a profile about life and life with diabetes. This month, we dish with best-selling author, writer, editor, and radio host Kurt Andersen, whose latest novel, True Believers features a protagonist with type 1 diabetes – which Andersen was diagnosed with as an adult. Here, he dishes on laughter, loyalty, and how living with diabetes may have made him a better person.

What is your state of mind today?

My state of mind is good. Slightly anxious about the flurry of obligations (deadlines, talks, travel) during the next month, but on the upside, my mood is more and more tied to the weather – and right now it’s a cloudless day in New York, in the high 60s.

What three words would you use to describe who you are?

Writer. Father. Omnivore.

How does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?

It makes me more conscious of my state of mind and of my mortality, and more responsible for both. In those ways and others, I think it makes me a slightly better person than I might otherwise be.

If you could take away one aspect of diabetes, what would it be?

The possibility of complications. Duh.

What inspires you to do what you do?

As my friend Joan Didion has famously said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means.”

What do you appreciate most in your friends?

A sense that they’re having fun when we’re together. Loyalty’s good, too.

What would you pack for your favorite vacation?

Jeans, t-shirt, sweater, sneakers, e-book reader.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Yogurt, carrots, home-made seltzer, milk, half-and-half, mustard, mayo, bacon, various greens, cheeses, lots of bottles of hot sauce. And tons more.

What is your favorite way to relieve stress?

Walking.

What is your idea of happiness?

Having finished a piece of good work; my daughters and wife nearby, one or more of us laughing; a sunny day in the 60s.

What do you most dislike?

Ideologues.

What’s your favorite diabetes advice?

Neither hide nor flaunt your diabetes.

What words do you try to live by?

Tell the truth and be kind to the deserving. Words which are, of course, in perpetual tension.

What is your greatest fear?

Anything really bad happening to one of my children.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Living in New York City. Travel. And the Australian lavender cream I use on my hair.

On what occasion do you lie?

To make people feel better.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

It’s lame, but honestly: nothing.

Who are your heroes in real life?

There are many people whose work and/or lives I hugely admire – off the top of my head, Jonathan Miller, Joan Didion, Lawrence Wright, Warren Buffett, Maira Kalman – but I don’t think of them as “heroes,” exactly. Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi are heroic, but I’m reluctant to call them my heroes, because that would suggest that I conduct my life in any meaningful way inspired by their examples.

What would you choose for your last meal?

Something fried and fatty, followed by something cinnamon-sugary.

All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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