Honor Tax doesn't want to make you angry

Honor Levy is a creature of the internet; she knows what makes it work. So when the 26-year-old author near Dimes Square published her debut novel— With the provocatively titled, ultra-internet-friendly collection of stories My First Book — it was only a matter of time before she started trending on Twitter.

Levi swore it wasn't intentional. "My friends were like, 'Oh, you have to do something bad to make people angry and buy your book.'" I thought, 'Oh, my God.' I don't want to make people angry," she tells Bustle. Especially since the story you find in "My First Book" is far more nuanced than its 280 characters can convey, deftly exploring everything from falling asleep in a chat room to Fall in love enough to feel compassion for those who are “me too.”

Even if Levy does want to start a fight, she never forces it. For example, She recently debated how to participate in the "literary it girl" discussion — which started on Bustle's sister site NYLON and spread on Twitter — but she doesn't think that was the intention. "I was lying in bed a few days ago and I thought, 'God, please give me a warm feeling tonight,'" she said. "I searched the term ['literary girl'] on Twitter to see if anyone had ever said it for the first time, and I read all the [tweets] and had nothing to add." Controversy has to come naturally, Or it won't happen at all: "It's like [being] a fashion girl. It should be effortless."


Still, there are times when Levy broaches controversial topics effortlessly. "I've been putting a story in ChatGPT and rewriting it with as much drag queen slang as possible, like RuPaul would say. It's funny and sometimes [I use it] to get myself out of trouble," she said . "One day I put one of my stories on ChatGPT and I was like, 'Please write an AP English-level five-paragraph essay outline, written by a high school student, about this story.'" After all, who could What's better? To judge a young online writer over a younger, more online writer?

Below, Levy reflects on her writing habits, "boohoo" songs, and meme essays.

On the standalone novella she’s reading:

I'm reading a short book called "Rip It Up" published by Residency Press. The author, Kō Machida, is a literary boy in Japan and they say the book cannot be translated. But the inpatient department said: "Let's just fucking do this." It is set in a hyper-real Japan around 2000 AD and records the crimes and doubts of a down-and-out man who wants to be a gentle man.

Documenting her life via Spotify:

I once saw a tweet that [said] listen to a song that makes you really excited before writing. So I have my Spotify playlist with "boohoo" songs in it. I have a ton of Spotify playlists because every year since I was 15, I've made a playlist of all the new songs I heard that year that had an impact on me. I wish I had a consistent journal, but it’s the only thing I do consistently.

I just made a playlist of songs that I’m listening to while writing this book. Like the song "Here'sWhere the Story Ends" by The Sundays or the Girls at Our Best! The song "Politics!" ” I also love a good story song like “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” or “The Traveling Soldier.”

She appreciates the writing on "Internet culture":

I read an article by Gene McHugh, who wrote that blog a long time ago and coined the term "post-Internet." I love The Internet is Made of Demons by Sam Kriss because it’s so weird when someone just writes an article about memes. I like it. But I don't think you actually have to read cultural commentary on the internet if you're on it.

On the creative techniques she's testing:

I'm trying to unlock the "artist's way" so that I can have a healthy relationship with my creations. Writing shouldn't be torture, but [if it's not good] I get really angry. I haven't written anything for a week and a half, so I'm picking at the scab. So I’m excited about the artist path …I just need to get started.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity .