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Personality Test: Nick Courage |

Personality Test: Nick Courage

Rege Behe
| Wednesday, November 25, 2015 5:15 p.m
Rachel Ekstrom
Author Nick Courage

Nick Courage sounds like the perfect name for a superhero. In reality, Courage is a mild-mannered young-adult novelist whose debut novel, “The Loudness,” (released this year) concerns a young boy with an artificial heart whose latent superpowers help save the world.

Born in New Orleans, Courage is an avid skateboarder who worked as a digital marketing consultant and web designer in the publishing industry in New York City.

In 2014, he moved here with his wife, Rachel Ekstrom, a literary agent and Pittsburgh native. One of the founders of, a website that tracks all things literary in the region, Courage lives in the East End and is working on his next novel.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:

Definitely Romain Duris. Can we get Jim Jarmusch to sign on to direct?

Childhood hero:

Daniel Pinkwater — he’s my adult hero, too. “Snarkout Boys & the Avocado of Death” is the Great American Novel.

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

A much-loved Ludwig drum kit. I can still visit it, though; it lives with my nephew.

The superpower I wish I had in real life:

Teleportation. I’d settle for more direct flights out of Pittsburgh International Airport, though.

Favorite app:

Waze GPS in Arnold Swarzenegger mode.

Favorite season:


Favorite ethnic food:


I spend the most time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other:

One of my personal goals is to like every photo on Instagram and never use Facebook again.

The song I want played at my funeral:

A choral version of Operation Ivy’s “Sound System” would be moving and appropriate, I think.

Pick one: “Veep”, “House of Cards” or “Scandal:

“Veep.” I get to most things three to five years late, so I just watched the first season.

Show I have or want to binge watch:

Binge watching “Wolf Hall” right now. It’s taking a long time, though; I keep falling asleep.

My favorite cable channel:

I’ll watch any British mysteries or comedies, from “Poirot” to “Peep Show.”

The dessert that matches my personality:

Classic Rocket Pop

The Disney character most like me:


The movie that always makes me cry:

Tie between “Gattaca” and “Great Expectations” (1998). Anything with Ethan Hawke, I guess!

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

I want to say ”Slaves of New York” … but realistically, “Tremors” probably gets more airtime.

My favorite TV or movie villain:

The Anti-Cruise in Timothy “Speed” Levitch’s “The Cruise”

If I were auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:

“Possum Kingdom” by The Toadies

The first band I saw in concert:

311 and Deftones at UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans in 1996. I went with a friend and his baby sitter. I also saw Weezer, No Doubt, George Clinton, Cyprus Hill and Skavoovie and the Epitones that year. By ’97, it was all punk, all the time.

The best concert I’ve ever seen:

Classics of Love (featuring Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy) at Death by Audio in Brooklyn

Celebrity crush:

I admire Gillian Anderson as an actor in “The X-Files.”

Favorite guilty pleasure:

Podcasts about cryptids and paranormal phenomena

Something I would do over if I could:

No looking backward, only forward!

Pick one: Pirates, Penguins, Steelers or other:

I don’t care who’s playing; I just like going to the games.

My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:

Probably the skateboarder Matt Miller. He’s got crazy pop.

Favorite lunchtime spot:

The back porch of the Waterfront Eat’ n Park, looking out over the Monongahela River. But only as a break during a bike ride!

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

No contest: grilled cheese with a whole avocado on ciabatta

My most embarrassing junk food:

Sour gummies by the bucket

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:

The square slices at Spirit Lodge

Pick one: Cheetos, Cheez-It or Cheerios:

Cheetos. And it’s true what they say: “It ain’t easy bein’ cheesy!”

The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done:

Skateboarding in my 30s

Best vacation ever:

Christmas in Bali

Place I’d most like to visit:

International Space Station

In five years, I’d like to:

Have no regrets

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:

The rivers, the bridges, the people!

Three people I’d love to have dinner with:

My wife, Rachel, the theorist Julia Kristeva and one of the talking mice from Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” books. In this scenario, we’re eating meals from the “Redwall” books — gooseberry wine served in acorn caps, hotroot soup, etc.

My quirkiest inherited trait:

I have an extra tear duct in my right eye.

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

I wanted to live in Hawaii — can’t remember how I intended to make a living there, but I think surfing was involved.

In high school, I was:

Pretty similar to how I am now, actually! It takes a conscious effort to maintain that sense of possibility. Not getting jaded is one of my biggest accomplishments.

My childhood nickname:

Iguana. It’s a long story.

My first job:

Dishwasher at La Madeleine’s French Bakery and Cafe in New Orleans.

My worst job:

I was a clerk at Hollywood Video, and it was pretty fun, but the uniform was the worst: purple denim shirts. I wish I still had them, actually. These days, I’d probably put them in my weekly rotation.

I’m deathly afraid of:

There’s no way I’m putting this information in the public domain. Do people really answer this question?

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:

The Cathedral of Learning. It orients me around the city, and I have daydreams about retaking my world literature classes in the nationality rooms.

The person I’m most often mistaken for:

When I was a kid, I signed an autograph as Macaulay Culkin (and misspelled his name).

My most treasured fashion accessory:

Friendship bracelets

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be:

Writing anyway

The last book I read:

I’m rereading Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt series, the books I’ve recommended the most this past year. Come for “Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead,” stay for “Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway.”

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