The Toast has acquired another Nicole as part of our long-term plan to absorb every woman with that name in the next five years. Please give the warmest, Toastiest welcome you can muster to Nicole Chung! She’s ours now, and we are hers.
Nicole grew up in Oregon and now makes her home outside of Washington, DC. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Toast, Bitch, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, and other publications. She is the co-editor of the Hyphen Magazine blog.
Nicole is joining us in the capacity of assistant editor, which means she’ll be doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work managing the editorial calendar with Nicole “Original Flavor” Cliffe and working with some of our authors on editing their pieces. Her writing will also turn up from time to time, so stay sharp.
Nicole! Welcome! Where are you writing from right now?
My bedroom, the only guaranteed-child-free room in the house. I can still hear them, of course. I’m cursed with excellent hearing.
Have you tried soundproofing your rec room?
That is a solid idea. but honestly I’m not going to be soundproofing anything until they are old enough to definitely not burn the house down, you know?
You’re never too old to burn the house down. Just too old to do it accidentally.
I shouldn’t really talk actually, because of the four people in my family I am the only one to ever start a fire. A small one! Very small.
Oh, my God.
Hardly worth mentioning.
What did you do??
Okay, there were extenuating circumstances.
My husband and I have this bad habit of leaving things on the flat-top range that don’t go there. Like wooden cutting boards.
I don’t know which one of us left it there, but anyway, I had a friend over, and I was trying to be a good hostess, so I offered to make us some tea. I filled the kettle, put it on the usual burner, turned on the heat, and walked away, only…I turned on the WRONG BURNER.
YOU SAID YOU WERE DETAIL-ORIENTED
It was really a teeny, TINY fire, mostly smoke.
Hmm. I’m going to have to watch you suspiciously. Okay, don’t think, just answer: three favorite books?
Pride and Prejudice. A Wrinkle in Time. E.B. White’s book of essays.
Oh, you know how to work a crowd. What piece have you written that you’re proudest of?
Not to be a kissass, but I really love the piece I wrote for The Toast about my grandma and our adventures.
GOOD ANSWER. Favorite piece you’ve ever edited?
This is much harder. Sharon Chang has written a couple of great articles for Hyphen about mixed-race Asian identity, and I love them both. I also love Akemi Johnson’s beautiful essay about her grandmother and the legacy of internment in her Japanese American family.
What is something that all Toastrons should know about you?
Well, apparently I’m obsessed with grandmothers. Also, I think a lot of writers get into editing in part because it’s one way to make a living with words. For me the editing itself, getting to work with writers, is its own end goal. I truly love it. I think it’s a great privilege to be able to read and help others tell the stories that mean so much to them.
NICOLE! You are a treasure; I’m so glad we will have you on our team. Okay, last question. It’s a real softball: best thing you’ve eaten this week?
Last night I had a cheeseburger and fries and this amazing Coldstone Creamery chipwich-type thing and it was by far the best decision of my week.
COLDSTONE CREAMERY makes sandwiches?
I am not a big Coldstone person. But I might reconsider, for you, and for chipwiches.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.