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37 Questions with Miguel Machado

Originally published in April 2022

Miguel Machado has been penning poetry, stories, and articles since before he can remember. Now, he’s bringing his dynamic style to Block Club as a member of our copywriting team. In this installment of 37 Questions, a humble nod to Vogue’s 73, we chat with Miguel about his creative process, the best books he’s (half-)read, and his secret life as a boxer—along with 34 other random and riveting topics.

  1. It was your birthday this week! How did you celebrate?

    I tend to keep things simple these days. I went out to dinner with my partner and my oldest friend. Good food and good vibes is really all I need.

  2. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Everything, haha. I used to switch every week. My parents suggested I try acting—but because I’m shy, I decided it’d be better to write the stories I wanted to see rather than audition for them.

  3. Do you remember the first story you wrote?

    I don’t, but I do remember the first story I was proud of. It was a neo-noir I submitted to my college magazine called The Russian Bookstore no. 21. I remember being really excited when it got approved and happy that someone had understood the tone I was going for. Then, I met the editor who selected it…we’ve been together for six years now.

  4. Where do you do your best writing?

    In my head. I can spend days or even weeks fleshing out ideas before they’re put to paper. A close second would probably be the kitchen. I’m a snacker.

  5. What’s your go-to writing snack?

    It’s not a snack, per se, but a shot of espresso, heavy on sugar. It’s my go-to when I need to jump-start my brain.

  6. What do you do when you’re not writing?

    Anything physical. Writing is such a mental endeavor that I think it’s important to balance it with something active. Surfing, swimming, basketball, going to the gym; I try to abide by a Whitmanesque philosophy on staying in shape: “And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?” Oh, and I’ve started to get back into gaming.

  7. Do you have a favorite game?

    The Legend of Zelda

  8. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?

    The Ninja Warrior course

  9. Have you ever done anything truly adventurous?

    I purposely overstayed my layover in Morocco with no phone service or internet and wandered from Fez to Tangier. Glorious trip.

  10. What’s your most memorable moment from that trip?

    In Tangier, a few of us from the hostel decided to take the train to a small seaside town called Asilah, about 40 minutes away—zero expectations. When we got there, it was just a perfect maze of painted blue and white houses nestled between a Portuguese sea wall and the Atlantic. We sat down at a sidewalk cafe and watched the sunset while local school kids played soccer in the plaza.

  11. Where is your favorite place in the world?

    Where I live now—Isabela, Puerto Rico

  12. Which historical era do you wish you could have experienced?

    1920s Cuba would have been interesting. Boxing, Hemingway, prohibition gangsters, and political tension…I feel like I would’ve fit right in.

  13. What’s one thing people may not know about you?

    I box.

  14. Who’s your favorite boxer of all time (real or fictional)?

    Man, there are so many. One of my favorites is probably Gene Tunney. They called him “Gentleman Gene” because of his defensive style. He’s famous for beating Jack Dempsey.

  15. What’s one thing you wish you knew at age 18?

    Invest in Tesla. Actually, invest period.

  16. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

    Honestly, too many to rank. My family and partner tend to be really good about things like that.

  17. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

    For my mother’s 50th birthday, a few of us arranged a surprise get-together with her family and closest friends. She found out about the surprise but didn’t realize we’d flown her godson in from Florida. She saw him and immediately burst into tears.

  18. When’s your favorite time of year?

    I love the dead of winter. Give me January or February with a few feet of snow on the ground, and I’m happier than most.

  19. Does that mean you’re moving to Buffalo?

    Haha. I can’t rule out the possibility.

  20. You’re put on the spot for an impromptu talent show: what do you do?

    A little spoken word

  21. What’s on your life soundtrack?

    Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Willie Colón, Nas, and The Wu Tang, among many others. Also, I’m getting really into bomba right now.

  22. Is there anything you’re especially bad at?

    Knowing when to shut up. Haha. No, but in all seriousness, please interrupt me whenever I ramble.

  23. If you were to make a documentary, what would it be about?

    How my family traded in the barrios of Puerto Rico for the barrios of New York City and what they had to overcome.

  24. Is there a TV or movie character you identify with?

    Joey from Friends. I’ve been told I’m a defensive eater.

  25. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

    Off the top of my head, I’d have to say the first time I tried poutine in Montreal was just special.

  26. What’s the best meal you’ve ever cooked?

    There’s a Puerto Rican delicacy called mofongo. Every time I make it, it comes out better than the last.

  27. Is there an ingredient you tend to put in everything?

    Adobo

  28. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

    Teleportation, hands down. No more standing on a lonely train platform at 3 a.m.

  29. What’s a skill you’re working on mastering?

    Surfing. I’ve been at it for several years now, and I’m still working on the basics.

  30. If you were swept out to a desert island while surfing, what three things would you want with you?

    A net, my machete, and a box of half-read books

  31. What’s the last book you half-read?

    Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

  32. What’s your first pick in a book club?

    Tender Is the Night

  33. What are you passionate about?

    The environment and doing right by oppressed peoples everywhere

  34. What makes you laugh?

    Dry humor—anything by Guy Ritchie will have me rolling.

  35. What do you look forward to?

    Mastery of self

  36. Who do you look up to?

    My mother for rising to the top of a male-dominated field. My father for never letting uncertainty paralyze him and for always doing what he had to do.

  37. How would you describe yourself in a hashtag?

    #taurus

Want to see Miguel’s writing in action?

Check out his latest post on how Block Club’s Residency Program benefits our employees and our clients.

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