Writer Mitchell Kuga Is Trying

Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.

Mitchell Kuga is a freelance writer from Hawaii currently living in New York. His work has appeared in GQ, The Village Voice, and Conde Nast Traveler, and he is the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Online Journalism Award from The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. 

Where are you currently sheltering in place?

In Brooklyn with my husband Adam. 

What does your face mask look like? 

Aside from purchases from Sundae School, 69, and BAGGU, I’m mostly wearing masks sewn by friends and family. This one was made by my friend Ji in London.

Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment? 

I’ve worked from home since before quarantine, so I’ve always tried to go outside at least once a day to see friends or walk to the park. I try to make a habit of reading and writing, even if that just means in my journal. I try to avoid social media when I can help it. And I try to stretch every morning. “Try” is the operative word, and what a huge fucking privilege it is. One thing I’ve stopped trying to do is predict what my body needs each morning because every day feels like a new something and the routines I once relied on started to feel punitive back in like May. Yes, I am in therapy. 

What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?

Dumb shit! Things like Showgirls, every single season of RuPaul’s Drag Race (available on Hulu except for season two because it was so boring), and Selling Sunset have mostly been all my brain can handle screen-wise. I also liked the Michael Jordan documentary.

I’ve been reading a lot about writing lately: Anne Lammot’s Bird by Bird, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Dreyer’s English, The Elements of Style, and Stephen King’s On Writing, which makes some good points but also feels tragically white and male in its references. I didn’t set out to read about writing but realized I often have no idea what I’m actually doing in terms of mechanics or grammar. I’ve also been feeling creatively blah and unsure about where I want my work to go from here. I don’t know that I’ve learned anything new, but the reminders are helpful.

Anyway! Sometimes I’ll log onto Instagram just to watch whatever TikToks Jeremy O. Harris has posted — dare I say “curated” — or Jordan Firstman’s impressions, or recaps of Ziwe’s Baited, who should replace Ellen. Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising and Moses Sumney’s græ have provided peak showering-while-high music. And this interview with Ocean Vuong made me cry on the fire escape. 

Are you working on anything during this time?

I’m working on a book proposal but will leave it at that because I’m superstitious and don’t want to jinx it. I’m also working on “boundaries,” which is a new thing for me and feels particularly salient and literal during a pandemic. 

Have you taken up any new hobbies? 


What’s your current iPhone wallpaper and what’s the story behind it?

It’s a painting by Nicole Eisenman called Selfie. I usually try to pick something that reminds me not to get lost in my phone. 

What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far? 

Two tickets for the NYC Ferry. 

Who are the writers, storytellers, or makers who are bringing you great joy right now?

 @GardenMarcus on TikTok and Jamaica Kincaid’s writing about gardening. 

Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?

Harboring new levels of rage towards this country!

On a happier note, my husband and I are moving to Hawaii next month to be closer to my parents. I hope we find a place with a garden.

Follow Mitchell on Instagram @mitchellkuga.