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Zer Netmouse
September 17th, 2003
07:52 am

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interview meme
Way too long ago I asked Rikhei to give me questions and she did.


1. When and how did you get interested in writing?

When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I was home sick one day, and I decided to write a story starring my favorite imaginary character. We did a lot of playacting in those days, so I was very familiar with the appearance and character of this woman, and I wrote a few pages about her -- leading a troup of scouts around to a number of villages to warn them about an approaching attack.

My teacher and my mom were stunned. I had completely failed to finish any short stories in class, where they tried to make us write by formula and once I'd made up the whole story to make the outline I didn't want to go over it again to write it.

This experience taught me that I could write, just not with their process. In Junior High I won a speech-writing contest. In High School I found I was still intimidated by creative writing so I took a class in it. (The student teacher was really impressed by the fact that nearly everything I wrote was science fiction -if I had been doing that by choice, I might have been impressed too. Really, it was all I could write). I did pretty well. I won third place in a library-sponsored story-writing contest with this story. I was co-editor of the school journal Free Verse by the end of the year. I was on my way.

2. You've lived in Ann Arbor quite a bit - do you want to live anywhere else, or do you think you'll stay here? What do you like best about Ann Arbor?

Let's see.. my first reaction is to the "do you want to live anywhere else" part of the question, as I feel I ought to clarify that though I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, I have spent the majority of my adult life living somewhere else. I went to Iowa for college (Grinnell) partly because everyone pointed out that Ann Arbor was its own little island and it was important to leave and see the real world. For two summers I did Summer Stock Theater, once in Findlay, OH, and before that in Dunes, Indiana, which is just north of Michigan City. I spent 3 1/2 months on a road trip around the states with my sister in 1996 and then moved to Chicago or specifically Deerfield, IL, where I lived with Bill until we moved to Waterloo, Ontario, in June of 1998. We bought the house here in A^2 back here in June of 2001 and I closed the Waterloo apartment and moved back at the end of August that year.

We have considered living elsewhere and I am open to other options, especially in the Southwest. I think we'll stay here at least another two years, but after that I don't know.

None-the-less, all that time while moving around I have introduced myself as being "from Ann Arbor", and I have remained registered to vote here. So I guess I should answer the rest of the question. Things I like best about Ann Arbor (in no particular order):

  • The way it smells in the spring, like overturned soil after a fresh rain.
  • The trees, and the feeling of being in a river valley - the ups and downs, comfy spaces and changes of view.
  • The fact that I know my way around. I'm a map-oriented person and I really like having a moderately complete map of the whole city in my head.
    I also had a pretty happy life growing up here, so I'm comfortable running into memories when I turn corners.
  • The diversity of people and resources, and the fact that many of these people know me - and have since I was a child. When I was a teenager I was comfortable walking downtown at all hours of the night, knowing that I was never more than four blocks from a house where someone would take me in if I needed help. (it helped that my highschool boyfriend's family lived downtown, basically just south of the public library). Sometimes I describe this as the "Small town feel" of Ann Arbor. I don't just know stores, I know the people who run them. I know who to call when I want to get a recommendation on a roofer or who to vote for in the school board election. That sort of thing.
  • The living downtown.
    Grinnell's downtown was dying. Waterloo's downtown was eternally lame - limping optimistically, and yet lame. Ann Arbor's downtown is alive and well -cliche though it is, that is the heart of the city, and I hope it continues to resist decline. (there are things that are gone that I miss, like Drakes Sandwich Shop and The Colonial restaurant, but still, the sidewalks are full of people, and that's a Good Thing (tm))



    3. What is your favourite Paul Simon song, and why?

    I've never been good at choosing single favorites.

    of his solo work, I like a bunch of songs from the "still crazy after all these years" album, including "50 ways to lose your lover" for the nature of the affection between the characters, "I Do It for Your Love" for the imagery and justaposition of familiar phrases mixed up ("we were married on a rainy day; the sky was yellow and the grass was gray ... The rooms were rusty and the pipes were old ...") and also just the simplicity of loving someone as presented in the story. Night Game is good to sing when you want to wail at the beauty in and tragedy of life - and just a short song, too. in "Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy" I often revisit the line, "Here I am Lord, I'm - I'm knocking at your place of business, and I know, I ain't got no business here. But you said, if I ever got so low I was busted... You could be trusted..." --Simon was in many ways the strongest religious influence I've had.

    so.

    But in terms of a single song that I love to listen to, and move to, and share a love of with my family, for that I would go to the album "Graceland" and the song "Under African Skies". In this album, there are lots of wonderful explorations of African rythm and choral sound, and in this song Paul is accompanied by a female singer whose harmonic line flies over and then dips under his with a birdlike grace. "Joseph's face was as black as the night, and the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes. His path was marked by the stars in the summer hemisphere. And he walked the length of his days under african skies.
    "This is the story of how we begin to remember. This is the powerful pulsing of love in the veins. After the dream of falling and calling your name out -- these are the roots of Rythm, and the roots of rythm remain..."

    [note: I do not have a copy of either the Graceland or the Still Crazy after all these Years albums on CD. My birthday is December 4...]

    4. Since you're a morning person, I wonder, have you ever slept through a class or fallen asleep during class?

    I've never slept through a class other than when I was sick. I have fallen asleep in class, I'm sure, but I don't remember specifics -maybe in high school. I know I had a very hard time staying awake in Cunningham's Modern Physics class, but I sat in the middle of the front row and never actually fell asleep in that one.

    5. I think I'm going to steal this last one from moonborn, who asked queenofhalves, who asked me: In the style of Anais Nin (passage here) what would you "have liked to have been"?

    5'6" with blue eyes and golden hair that is naturally halfway between curly and wavy- a vivacious, popular and intelligent person who is also graceful and renowned for her dancing and choreography. A respected commentator on world politics who has personally averted three or four violent international conflicts through diplomatic negotiations. The author of many influential short stories and essays; former poet laureate of the United States. Inventor of many computer and appliance interfaces that are now in common use. An occassional lounge/jazz singer and popular gentleman's club dancer, purely as a hobby.

    reallly, I could keep on for quite a while. If I had a single idea of what I would have liked to have been, such as Anais did, well, then perhaps I would be a focused and passionate person, Like Anais, recognized as a talent in my field.... As it is I haven't got a single field and I don't feel particularly recognized.


    To Further the meme:
    1. Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
    2. I'll reply and give you five questions to answer.
    3. You'll update your LJ with the five questions answered.
    4. You'll include this explanation.
    5. You ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.
  • (5 comments | Leave a comment)

    Comments
     
    [User Picture]
    From:ratphooey
    Date:September 19th, 2003 07:19 am (UTC)
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    That is Linda Ronstadt singing with Paul Simon on Under African Skies. I love that song, and that album, too.
    [User Picture]
    From:minnehaha
    Date:September 19th, 2003 07:12 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    " I went to Iowa for college (Grinnell) partly because everyone pointed out that Ann Arbor was its own little island and it was important to leave and see the real world."

    I am amused at the thought that Iowa could count as "see the real world."

    B
    [User Picture]
    From:bjorng
    Date:September 20th, 2003 03:53 pm (UTC)
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    Please interview me.
    [User Picture]
    From:netmouse
    Date:October 3rd, 2003 06:13 pm (UTC)

    Interview Meme

    (Link)
    questions, questions... :)

    1) Who were your favorite authors when you were 13 or 14?

    2) Who are your favorite authors now?

    3) What was your favorite vacation and what did you do?

    4) What is your favorite skill that you have? (why do you enjoy and/or value it?)

    5) When you have time for stillness of the mind, what do you philosophize about?

    [User Picture]
    From:bjorng
    Date:October 7th, 2003 03:55 pm (UTC)

    Re: Interview Meme

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