6.08.2005

Questions from Cat

Questions from Cat.



Qs for U:

1. You just found out you have to move outside the United States for several years. The good side is that you can choose where to live during that time, and money is no object. Where would you go to live?


My first reaction: someplace warm! But that's because I just ran through the rain and was nearly drowned and had to change out of my wonderful outfit: 'those black pants,' a tight white blouse, and some shoes or other.

My real answer: Ireland. Don't care where, really, although I'd like to be close to a coast.

Why? Every time I see a picture of Ireland, I feel like I've seen it before. It seems the sort of place that I could go home to.

2. Who is your personal hero, famous or otherwise? Why? Is it the kind of hero-worship that inspires you to be like that person, or the kind that just leaves you admiring from afar?

I don't think that I have any heroes. My heart has been broken. That has led me to be more solitary, and practical, than I was before.

My hero worship is confined to attributes, rather than whole people. I figure that taking a chunk out of multiple people reduces the likelihood that I'll put them out of balance and topple them from their pedestals.

So. Whom?

I. Mom's smarts, humor, and fierce devotion. Sounds like a stereotype or a cliché, but it's true.
II. The Boy's dedication, and thoughtfulness.
III. Deb's sense of family.
IV. Debbie's abiding love, and inclusion.
V. C-----'s and N.A.'s intellectual prowess. Would that I could!!!
VI. Johnnie's humor, his perseverance, and his attitude.
VII. Cat's faith. Not just religion--perhaps not even primarily religion--but in life.
VIII. Jon's writing. For that matter, John's writing. And Aaron's, too. The superlative use of language, which is a dream for someone who seems to toil in quantity more than quality.
IX. Dad. Hmm. Dad comes the closest to being an overall hero, but I think that what I admire most about him is his relation: the sense that he 'gets it,' gets me, and doesn't give a flip about the extra stuff.

It's definitely inspiration, not admiration from afar. It's all about the doing and being and striving. Not just viewing with pleasure and detachment.

3. Take yourself back to your self five years ago. Now, look at your life in June 2005. What three things completely amaze and please you about your current self and/or your current life? Why?

Five years ago: June, 2000. I graduated from law school a year ago. I've had my license (law) for seven months. I'm working in the lib. Most of my friends live in Minnesota or Michigan. I'm terrifically unhappy, but I can't put my finger on what's caused it, or how in the hell to fix it.

I'm looking ahead 5 years, and I can see myself radically changed in myriad ways. Three things stand out:

I. I am happy. At times, I am terrifically happy, but I can't put my finger on exactly what's caused it, or how in the hell to keep it going. Maybe that is my secret to happiness: not knowing.
This amazes me. Law school was the only time of my life that I can identify as having a firm negative effect on me, in the sense that it made me see liability everywhere. To imagine being "happy", and for no good reason!, is almost beyond comprehension.
II. I've lost the extra weight (except for x pounds or so that I still wouldn't mind kicking, selectively). My hair is long and healthy and no longer forced into a style that never did truly compliment me. My toenails are never unpolished. I'm wearing clothes that are somehow different than what I used to wear, although they're not "not me." I have something like 'poise,' which makes me laugh and pleases me at the same time. I look, somehow, "grown up" and still younger than I've looked in a very long time, all at once.
This pleases me. I thought that I would stagnate somewhere around 1988-92 (style-wise and maybe emotionally, too) forever.
III. I finished my thesis! I earned that fucking degree, after all that time. With that comes a surprised snort--why go to the trouble if you're not going to use it, idiot?!--but there really was no question about whether to do it or not. The only question was when.
This amazes me. I hadn't foreseen the actual completion of the degree, because it hung over my head for sooooooo long.

For an additional perspective on this, see my answer to question #2 in [former "friend"]'s Interview.

4. You already have what some would consider "too many" degrees. Pretend you want to go back to school and get another one. What would you study? It doesn't have to be a sensible, career-oriented course of study, just what you want to learn. Or would you rather get some kind of practical experience, like an apprenticeship, doing something really unusual?

I had a seminal conversation once with someone that I trust implicitly, at least intellectually. I told him that I would like to be a writer, which I differentiate from simply "writing" as a hobby or even part-time. I want to live the life of a writer. And I asked him how I should go about doing that. He said, you just have to do it. It's like the admonition: "He does not mean for us to discuss it as an ideal. He really means for us to get on with it."

Since that's practically impossible (yes, J.A., it is), I need to choose something else. It’s always about the education, rather than something useful that will "pay off". My top 5 choices, in order of preference:
I. Ph.D. in English
II. LL.M. in Intellectual Property
III. MFA from Iowa Writer's Workshop
IV. Ph.D. in History (yeah, European, the same old thing. I have half a dissertation's worth of research "just in case" in a big box in my hall closet)
V. Master's Degree in Lib Science/Lib & Information Studies (sigh)

I need a patron!

5. Desert island...blah blah blah. Food and shelter is no problem, but boredom is a huge issue as you may be there for a decade or so. You can only choose one of the following: never-ending writing utensils (computer, pen/paper, whatever), a never-ending supply of reading material, or a wide-ranging music access (XM radio, iPod, whatever). Which would be the easy one to do without? Which would you have to have?

What is it with desert islands today?

I would choose the never-ending supply of reading material. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, in 'Morituri Salutamus’, "The love of learning, the sequestered nooks/And all the sweet serenity of books." I could not live without reading.

And besides, if I had a truly never-ending supply, I could read what I needed to learn how to craft some writing utensils and/or a computer, and perhaps a music-producing device, too.

Seriously, doing without writing would be difficult, but I could always scratch in the sand with a stick. And I could sing (badly) to myself. But reading is...truly irreplaceable for me.


The Official Interview Game Rules
1. If you want to participate,
leave a comment below saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions--
each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog
with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation
and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed,
you will ask them five questions.

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