Miranda July Is Ready to Get ‘Maximum Weird’

It was not exactly urgent to get the rug, but the larger question the rug had to answer was urgent enough. That’s why, on a bright afternoon at the end of March, Miranda July and I were driving toward Irvine, Calif., where she planned to meet a man about a listing on Facebook Marketplace.

She had recently moved out of the large home she shared with her husband and child in Silver Lake and into a small two-bedroom house behind her writing studio in Echo Park. It meant she needed new things for a new place. A toilet, for example. A coral one, ideally, to match the tub and sink. Flooring for the kitchen. A refrigerator. And an antique carpet for the walk-in closet she was fixing up in her studio space. In this new life, would it all fit together?

Ms. July, a writer, filmmaker and artist whose work plays with the boundaries of intimacy, was wearing round tortoiseshell sunglasses, and her hair was pulled back in a velvet bow. We were just getting acquainted as she carefully merged on and off a series of highways in her blue Toyota Prius. Irvine was more than an hour away. There was going to be traffic — of course there would be traffic — and it began to dawn on us that this was going to be a long drive.

In such close quarters, Ms. July suggested we might define the terms of our relationship more clearly.

“What if you just said what the premise was of each thing you were entering into, and both people said their take on it?” she said. “Like even today, in the car. It could be like: ‘What’s your sense of this? Do you think we’re going to get hungry? What are our bodily concerns? Is there something you need to get back to?’

“There are a lot of basic things we could’ve discussed that actually may have made everything easier and clearer, you know?” she added, laughing. “We have yet to see what anxieties are to come!”

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