My cat threw up four times in my office today. Fortunately nothing, um, chunky...but still. I mean, come on! Then a spider dropped on my head while I was on the toilet. Do you think these are omens, signs? Am I being blessed or cursed? Should I call in a psychic? An exterminator?
While I figure that out, I invite you to join me in playing a game. I like to play games (the fun kind, not the mind kind). I've participated (read: invited myself in) to a game I found on my friend Joy's blog
. Rules for playing are at bottom of the post. The game is basically a series of interview questions. Sorry, no soccer ball or frisbees involved. Joy made up the questions, and I answered them. Or some part of me did at any rate.If the current you were going to give your 21-year-old-self advice, what would it be and why?
Cry a lot in private so that when you do it in front of others it isn’t like the first time you’ve ever cried—which can be a bit terrifying. Relax and have faith. Release your choke hold on people you love! Do spontaneous things; lord knows you won’t do them much later on. You’re NOT fat; worrying about it is a waste of time. Your thighs are more perfect now than they will ever be again. Take people up on invitations to do new things; you’ll be plenty set in your ways before long.You have a choice between: a. Being a super artist who writes masterpieces that live on after your death, but although you have dramatic love affairs and a kick-ass intellectual life, you are also miserable/crazy/a drunk (your choice) and likely to die an untimely death OR b. Laboring in obscurity, never achieving anything significant in your career, but otherwise you are a generally fulfilled and happy person. Which do you choose and why?
I’ve actually thought a lot about this one. The truth is, all I really want is happiness. If that meant writing for mere pleasure and never publishing, I’d take the happiness. I used to think I wanted fame and success first, but now I realize that I want happiness first, and success if it falls in line with happiness. I hate to be trite, but this is it, my one life so far as I know. I’ll be dead, so I won’t car if anyone remembers me. But I know every moment if I’m happy or not. Besides, I don’t handle liquor well and misery is overrated.
After interviewing all those authors for your radio show Word-by-Word, what have you learned about writing? You can name one big thing or mention some of the individual lessons you learned.
That talent is born, not taught? No…um. I learned that persistence and authenticity pay off. Meaning—if you really are a writer, which is to say you write because you must, and you happen to write decently, don’t let other people or the industry or critics ruin your hope. Persist. Follow that path because nobody is going to hand it to you and it takes a lot of faith and sweat and endurance to get a book published. Unless you’re Paris Hilton.Which means more to you: justice or mercy? Why?
Hmm. At first I thought justice, because I like to see people get what’s coming to them, but then I realized that justice often excludes mercy, and in the long run I think mercy is more important. Justice puts people on trial and sentences them to jail, but its mercy that allows parents of a murdered child to forgive a murderer and other more amazing stories of forgiveness. Justice points that long finger of judgment at a person for their crimes and flaws, makes sure they “make good” and “do it right.” But mercy helps people see how their actions affect others. What really makes me choke up in a movie or book or in real life is when one person forgives another person, truly, deeply, for something hard and painful and rough. Because it’s hard being human. Even when we try to self-improve and perfect ourselves, it’s still hard. We need mercy, we need tenderness.What is your biggest obsession and why does it obsess you?
I would have to say my obsessions change from time to time, but are usually nerdy or geeky hobbies. Usually I get obsessed by serial things, such as television shows or series of books. In high school it was Twin Peaks and anything written by Louise Erdrich. In college it was the whole Mists of Avalon deal, Later it was the X-Files, Robin Hobb’s nine-part series about the characters of the Six Duchies, Phillip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, and most recently probably the show Six Feet Under. (Oh wait, how could I forget my obsession with Harry Potter?? I even have a wand!).What all of these have in common is powerful emotional content—yes, even the X-Files. I get very engaged with “quests” and “epics” where the characters are deeply driven, where there is potent loss, and lots of soul-searching. It makes sense according to my enneagram type (4), and probably my sign (Virgo), as my father who is also a Virgo seems to have the same propensity.
So that happened.
1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me” ONLY IF: I have either met you or exchanged emails with you before, AND if you have a blog.
2. I will respond with five questions (found in the comments section). I pick the Q’s.
3. You will update your blog with the answers
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else
5. When others ask to be interviewed
Or great fire will rain from the heavens upon you or so I've been told.