Hexes+Numbers is a new interview series where all the questions are randomly generated hex color codes (#000000), and randomly generated numbers without any context provided. It’s up for the interviewee to interpret the questions and answer them however they want.
For this installment I invited Mairead Case.
The Hexes+Numbers graphic is designed and credited to Alex Saunders.
Andrew Byrds: 12?
Mairead Case: Twelve is a heavy number for Eurocentric intellectual and social traditions: twelve hours in a day, twelve months in a year, twelve apostles. Twelve people on a jury, twelve Olympic gods. To remind myself that there are other kinds of balance and justice, I touch my own twelve ribs and always keep a dozen eggs in the fridge. My favorite way to eat eggs is on toast, on a pale blue plate with chile crisp and a big pickle.
MC: I love this color. It’s elegant, and alive, and slightly poisonous. Possibly expensive. It is satin. Everyone who wears this color in Alice In Wonderland is powerful, either because they wield it (the scepter, the teacups, the drugs) or they just don’t care. If I played professional basketball, my shoes would be this color.
MC: “Love 🡪 Building on Fire” is a song on Talking Heads ’77, and I think it’s romantic. They’re standing together, and they could be one person or two, or fifteen. They know something is real when they’re in it, but when they’re not, they can’t even define it. I think this is wiser, and more hopeful, than deciding whatever-it-is just must not exist anymore. The arrow (do you pronounce the arrow?) reminds me of Paul Celan’s poem, where each arrow carries its own target. One target for everyone is violence. Right now, I think “Love 🡪 Building on Fire” is about learning to hold something with someone else, together in time. This can get complicated. In a love song, it’s dreamy.
MC: A gentle color. Paired with frost blue, it reminds me of the late 90s, and laced in neon, it reminds me of the early 2000s. In high school, I had a skirt that was this color with one big red off-center stripe, and I thought it was the most elegant thing. The word I have for this color is fawn, which can mean caring so much for someone that they never have to change at all. This can help people heal or it can be a trap.
MC: My favorite cover of “One Is the Loneliest Number” is Aimee Mann’s, which reminds me of the Magnolia trailer. I remember being so excited about that movie because it was long, and adult, and everyone in it had their own story, and my dad was going to see it with me. One also makes me think of foam hands and stadiums, and the fact that any shared value is almost always a compromise.
MC: A sweet red. It’s candy. The apple. My least favorite Otter Pop.
MC: When I was 26, I broke my ankle and had pins and a plate put into it. I had a really hard time not being self-sufficient for a few months, and I was lucky that I did not actually have to be. I remember realizing that I was foggy because of the pain medication, and watching Obama’s inauguration on the television with my mom. I remember feeling frightened to see him walking down the street without a car or a human shield. I kept trying to knit a scarf. I felt very intensely connected to everyone. When they cut out the stitches at one of my last appointments, I remember talking to the PA about lemon donuts.
MC: This color makes me think of chiasmus because of those green yellow and yellow green Crayola crayons. I find color names very calming, and love reading nail polish aisles and paint swatches. As a kid I remember being confused, on some level, because these two colors didn’t seem flipped or crossed. When I am feeling very happy, or very comfortable around the people I work with (this isn’t always the same thing), I gel this color on my fingernails. I keep it that way for a few weeks.
MC: Six is the first perfect number, meaning the sum of all its factors (1, 2, 3) is equal to itself (1 + 2 + 3). This resonates with me way more than the phrase “you are enough.” Like, tell me I’m a six. You’re a six!
MC: Very Purple Rain. To me this color feels like independence. Not like sovereign power—like a beautiful wool coat with pockets and a warm collar, and money and a new lipstick in those pockets, and time to get wherever you’re going.
Mairead Case’s newest books are Tiny (a novel from featherproof) and Angelo’s Prisoners Inventions (co-edited with Public Collectors, published by Half Letter Press).