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These fine queries are from [livejournal.com profile] juliansinger, who included the last set of unanswered questions she had asked as well as some newer ones.

If you want to play along at home, you know the drill--ask if you'd like me to interview you, and I will come up with five questions.


1. What don't you have in your life right now (I mean, that you want)? Is there a way to get it? (This can be either minor or major.)

What I need and don't have is a reasonable balance of job, home, love, self-care, and work (i.e., writing). Love seems to be where I'd like it to be. The job is swallowing too much of my time and energy, and home is not getting enough. Neither is writing, though that seems to be changing. As for self-care, there has to be a better way to live than mainlining caffeine all week and sleeping all weekend.

1a. Tell me about a book that has profoundly touched your life in some fashion.

Although I cut my teeth on nineteenth-century novels, Jane Austen came as a revelation to me. I didn't read Pride and Prejudice until I was 16. When I did, I closed the book and said in wonder, "All you need to be a great writer is to see clearly and speak honestly." (See my profile for what a lasting effect that insight has had on me.)

I was stunned by the vigor, humor, and simplicity of her writing—quite different from the high Gothic Brontes in both style and subject. Now that I think about it, Jane Austen is considerably closer to Louisa May Alcott than she is to the Bronte sisters. Alcott is also truthful, though generally less acerbic, about domestic conflicts. And both Alcott and Austen are merciless enough to let their heroines humiliate themselves. Jane Eyre suffers, but she doesn't make a fool of herself.

I recently reread Pride and Prejudice for the first time in ten or fifteen years, then watched the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth production, which was superb. What struck me this time around was how very daring, almost outrageous, Elizabeth Bennet was. When I was growing up, young ladies could say disrespectful things to the powerful. It might not be encouraged, but it was conceivable. In the context of her time, Elizabeth's sarcasm, even her willingness to stand up for herself, were astonishing.

The underlying anger in Jane Austen was always clear to me. She didn't pretend home life was particularly happy, nor did virtue guarantee a happy outcome. Most of the women (and some men) in her novels were caught in situations where they generally get screwed over whether or not they behaved decently. Having money was the only guarantee of freedom, and there was nothing one could honorably do to get money except marry. Charlotte Lucas, who married a pompous jerk in order to get a home of her own, survived by encouraging him to spend his time in the garden or his study, leaving her the rest of the house. Nevertheless, she still had to endure his sexual gropings—by the end of the book, she was about to present him with a little olive branch.

The BBC production was, of course, beautifully done. Colin Firth, who seems to have made a profession of playing jerks, is superb as Darcy, and Jennifer Ehle’s expressive face and inward merriment make her the benchmark Elizabeth.

2. What would be your incredibly-minor-but-useful superpower?

Oooh, good question! Make everyone around me use their turn signals? Not minor enough. Instantly find what I'm looking for in the fridge? Not a big enough annoyance.

I've got it: know the contents of any digital storage medium just by touching it, instead of having to mount it and read the filenames.

3. What /are/, say, three of the (physical) places that are important to you? (This can mean entire towns/cities/regions, but since I do know the general regions (or I like to think so), I'm actually thinking more of specific buildings/copses/coves/fields/trees.)

a. The first house I really remember living in was a hundred-year-old farmhouse high on a ridge in Columbia County, PA, surrounded by pastures and fields of corn and wheat—each field with its lone apple tree, where the plowman could stop for lunch. A bank barn across the road housed pigs, dairy cows, a few beeves, and some chickens. (The barn has since burned down.) The house had a summer kitchen—a two-story outbuilding attached to it by the porch—where I used to play, and a wooden screen door to the kitchen we used to swing on. Just a square, solid, white clapboard house, with lilacs, a black walnut tree, a sour cherry tree, an ash heap out back. (The house was heated by coal, which had to be shoveled into the furnace by hand, and the ashes raked out.) But it was perfectly set on its lonely road, with magnificent views across the hills and fields, and it’s where I spent the years when I was 2 to 6. I remember the moon rising behind the house, and the sunsets, and the flagstone paths, and the trumpet vines growing over the old outhouse. The interior was spacious and well-designed, with pocket doors, a dumbwaiter, and a wall of double-fronted cupboards between the kitchen and dining room. I’m imprinted on that place, and I’d buy it in an instant if it were ever available.

b. Rte. 280 has been called the most beautiful highway in the world, and I can’t imagine that many other roads can equal its lovely scenery. (It’s also well-engineered and usually not too jammed.) If you turn off at Woodside to take 84 west into the Santa Cruz Mountains, you first pass through the genteel speed trap of Woodside itself. Then you start climbing and climbing—a steep, twisting, badly cambered, narrow road often crowded with bicyclists and motorcyclists. On one side there is a cliff; on the other a steep ravine. In some spots you can see all the way across the Bay and into the heart of Hayward. In others, all you can see is the dense redwood forest, from which you may emerge into a hairpin turn and a dazzle of western sun full in your eyes.

But, if you’re me, your heart lightens with every foot upward. The self-conscious old-money beauty of Woodside also includes some groves of eucalyptus so fragrant that they leave their scent in your car for days. And as you climb into redwood country and away from the valley, the deep velvet strength of the forest calms you. Skylonda is a crossroads with gas, a couple of restaurants, and the beginning of a better engineered segment of road. In La Honda there’s a little grocery store and a bar/pool hall—and the memory of Ken Kesey. Turn left at La Honda onto Pescadero Road, and you’re going even deeper into wilderness. And then, at the last great turn before the swoop downhill into Loma Mar, there’s a place where the whole world is open before you—a view that looks southeast over chamise, oak knolls, redwood forest, and toward the rising full moon. There you can shut off your car in the middle of the road and be utterly alone and at peace under the stars.

c. The dream country.

or 3a. Coffee, tea, or cocoa?

Tea.

4. Did you always see the Stuff That Happened To You As A Kid as abusive? What was the process of figuring it out? How did PTSD come into the picture? (I mean, that is, after the stupid fucking doctor who said you couldn't be having flashbacks, how did you figure it out and/or integrate it into your perception of yourself? I ask because I've read (some of) the Stuff That Happened, but not the process to address it later on.)

This is an enormous question, which I will answer in a separate post.

or 4a) -- Talk about your spirituality some. How'd you come by it? How's it feel? Or is it primarily intellectual?

As far as I can tell, my spirituality is innate and experiential—a direct mystical sense of the Divine, particularly as revealed in the natural world.

5. (Stolen from someone else.) You are walking down the street when an old woman asks you for some food. You share your food with her, and poof! Just like in the fairy tales, she reveals herself to be a witch or fairy or some other mystical creature, and offers you a reward for your kindness. She will give you an absolutely true, certain, and definite answer to any one question. What do you ask?

Hmm, you mean like, "What is the meaning of life?" I know what the meaning of life is. (According to onty Python, "Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.")

I don't know if I want answers; I like questions. But now that the murder of Julia Wallace seems to be solved, I might ask who killed the Bordens.

or 5a. Do you ever describe things synaesthetically? ("This tastes like a warm fall day looks.") Do you ever /experience/ things synaesthetically?

I'm not a full-fledged synaesthete. What I usually say when I'm tasting or smelling or feeling something that really appeals to me: "It's like sex!" To which certain people respond, "You haven't been getting any lately, have you?"

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] firinel.livejournal.com
I'd like very much to answer some questions right now, especially as I'd like to keep my mind off of things right now, but I don't know when I get get around to asking my own questions in return.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1.What are the advantages and disadvantages of living as an adult in the same place where you grew up?
2. Could you list some good sources on rapid-cycling bipolar disorder?
3. How has your area changed in the past twenty or thirty years? How do you feel about the changes?
4. How would you like your art to be considered in a hundred years?
5. How do you attract such luscious Brits?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com
Eeep! I didn't mean for you to do all ten! I just meant, do whichever of them struck your fancy! *has guilt*

*goes off to read answers*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com
Yes, 4 is huge. And probably difficult. And all sorts of other things. *does not, surprisingly, have guilt over that*

Thank you for descriptions of places. I really feel as if I can see, at least a little, that house, and the area around it.

And I love your discussions of writers. Love.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com
I'd like to clarify that the /reason/ I don't have guilt over that is that I gave you an alternate, in case it /was/ too ginormous.

Also, if you can think of questions you might want to ask me, feel free. But I think this may've passed around a few times, so go with other, newer folks first.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dakiwiboid.livejournal.com
Ask me some questions!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. If you couldn’t live in Missouri, where would you go?
2. How do you handle having someone who considers you to be evil?
3. What small but useful superpower would you like to have?
4. Your profile says, “I am the fortunate scribe of the life and thoughts of Nisaba, qadistu of Ishtar's temple.” Can you please say some more about this?
5. What are (is?) ratites?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-28 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dakiwiboid.livejournal.com
1. I used to think New Orleans, but it's dead and gone, and I'm having trouble handling heat as I age. I really don't know any more. My husband would like somewhere with both oceans and forests.

2. I try to avoid him, though it isn't always easy.

3. I'd like to be able to turn smokers into non-smokers.

4. I should really take that off my profile. That novel has dried up and blown away. I can't get in touch with Nisaba any more. Sigh. She was a Babylonian priestess of Ishtar, but I don't seem to be able to write about her or anything else these days.

5. Ratites are ostriches, emus, cassowaries and kiwis. Despite the efforts of certain hopeful animators, none of us can fly, not even a little bit.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phinnia.livejournal.com
Interview me, please? :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. Other than the health-care system, what’s the biggest difference between the US and Canada?
2. Would you consider having another child?
3. Please tell me about your three favorite cookbooks and why you love them.
4. Is the moosewood in your interests list the restaurant in Ithaca, NY, or the tree? Or something else?
5. What’s the secret of a happy marriage?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sebab.livejournal.com
I still think it's so cool that I grew up 10.6 miles away from 3a. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
I know, it's amazing. And the next place we lived was just across the river from you--the small town with the Quaker meeting house.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sebab.livejournal.com
Wow, more like3 or 4 miles in that case (my parents still live in Fernville)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] noveldevice.livejournal.com
I haven't done this in a while. But yes, please.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. How did you and Ranj meet?
2. There’s a quotation attributed to the Greek Anthology that I love: Take off your clothes and lie down; we are not going to last forever. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a copy of the Greek Anthology that contains it. I’d be very grateful if you could tell me the salient facts about the Greek Anthology and give publication data on the fullest possible English version. This has been nagging at me since the summer of 1980.
3. Are there any classical authors that bore, frustrate, or infuriate you? Who and why? (Personally, I can’t stand Seneca. Pompous ass.)
4. What are you most afraid of?
5. You say you get your power from anger. (An admirably brave and honest statement for a woman in this society.) What happens if the anger runs out?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] belleweather.livejournal.com
I love this meme! Please Interview me!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. Talk to me about interstitial texts. Who writes them? Who reads them? What do they say? What do they mean to you?
2. What’s your favorite X-Files episode, and why?
3. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had, and why did it suck?
4. Rare breeds of what?
5. Will I see you at WisCon?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangerpudding.livejournal.com
yes, please!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. What are coffee fairies?
2. Please tell me one or more of your powerful moments.
3. You are presented with a choice: you can travel to Mars but never return, or stay on Earth and never go into space. Which would you choose? Under what conditions would you be willing to leave Earth forever?
4. You’ve written very movingly about your father. Can you talk a bit about your mother?
5. It sounds like you had a happy childhood with very cool people. What (if any) are the disadvantages of being raised as you were? Would you raise your own kids the same way?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 09:46 am (UTC)
ext_6283: Brush the wandering hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [identity profile] oursin.livejournal.com
I'd like some questions! please?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. How did you first get involved with computers?
2. What are the best and worst features of the British educational system?
3. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had, and why did it suck?
4. Someday I hope to get to England again. I’ve seen the Tower of London, Stonehenge, and several abbeys (Glastonbury, Bath, and Westminster) and cathedrals (Wells, Salisbury). I loved them all. As a Bronte fan, I definitely want to see Yorkshire. What other sights shouldn’t I miss? Assume a two-week tour and reasonable limitations on money.
5. Please tell me about your three favorite cookbooks and why you love them.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kr8vkat.livejournal.com
I love your description of the drive up Hwy 84. I love, love, love driving in those hills. It was therapy for me when I was a teen and into my early 20's. *sigh* I do miss that...

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zare-k.livejournal.com
It was therapy for me when I was a teen

For me also. My favorite drives were up Old Page Mill road and 92 from 280 to Half Moon Bay. I'd drive up there late at night with all the windows and sunroof open, playing the radio, meditating close to the machine until I got high enough up to see all the lights of the valley spread out like a magic carpet.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/crossfire_/
2. What would be your incredibly-minor-but-useful superpower?

Reminds me of a Wild Cards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Cards) story a friend of mine and I wrote together, about a group of deuces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deuce_%28Wild_Cards%29) who get together and decide to rob a bank. We had an accountant that everyone ignored, a cabbie who could Detect Traffic Jams, a professor who could get--but not necessarily keep--everyone's attention by saying "ahem," a mechanic who could ghost his right hand and arm up to his elbow, and a crossing guard who could teleport exactly three feet to the left (no more, no less).

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/crossfire_/
sorry for the double-post. :-(

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renoir-girl.livejournal.com
As I have recently levelled devastatingly difficult questions at others, I feel it is only right that I subject myself to similar inquiry.


(But I have at least one question for you! You'll have to respond to my post for interviews...)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Link? I can't seem to find it.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renoir-girl.livejournal.com
I didn't post it very clearly.

http://renoir-girl.livejournal.com/1046450.html

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-26 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. Would you ever go back to school for another degree? If yes, what would you study?
2. What makes a happy marriage? How important is happiness in marriage (and life) anyway?
3. How do you feel about fundamentalism now? Do you see any changes in the fundamentalists since your childhood?
4. Everybody knows people need health, at least enough wealth to pay for food and shelter, love, and friendship. Beyond those basics, what one thing do you consider essential to a good life?
5. Where would you like to be in ten years?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-21 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ealasaidh.livejournal.com
I'm game if you're still looking for interview subjects...

Better late than never

Date: 2007-03-12 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
1. You have quite an unusual name. Would you ever give your child a very uncommon name? Why or why not?

2. How is the wedding planning going? Yes, I want to hear every detail.

3. If you couldn’t live in California, where would you go?

4. How do you like Movable Type? Is it reasonably easy to use?

5. Please recommend a musical group, a book, a website, and a movie.

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