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Interview meme

Here's how it works:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

haddayr asks me:

1. How do you primarily identify yourself?

The most frequent way I identify myself is "[Little T's] or [Special K's] Mom". I'm married to C, and I certainly identify that way, but I don't really identify as a wife most of the time, not having many domestic qualities beyond motherhood nor particularly wanting to. I also call myself a writer, disabled and Anglo-Burmese. Occasionally and especially this week I call myself a woman of color. Other labels fit, I'm sure, but are used less frequently and require caveats of various kinds.

2. Mountains, prairie, or ocean?

Ocean definitely. I love water. My name means water. I can't help it.

3. When you are writing, how do you feel?

It depends on what I'm writing. I tend to feel the same emotions as what I'm writing about.

4. How do you balance motherhood with working/writing?

I want both of my kids to know I'm always available to them if they really need me, but I also want them to know me as a person and not just "Mommy." I think it's incredibly unhealthy for both parents and children to have parents who live their entire lives revolved around their children. For one thing it makes it incredibly hard for the parents to let their children grow up and leave home. Writing is an important part of my identity. When I stop writing, it means that something's seriously out of whack with my life. So I don't feel guilty about any time I spend writing, that helps a lot.

I write in two different ways. The first way and the most frequent is to write when my kids are otherwise occupied. My poor son naps for hours every day. He has a lot to catch up. My daughter is old enough to entertain herself for some period of time and she alternates between wanting Mommy time and wanting to do things herself. Problem is I do get interrupted even when I have childcare. I have stuff to do. Kids want something. Still I get some writing done everyday.

I used to be anxious about how little writing I did, have a word quota, feel bad. C told me an apocryphal story about an author who wrote all his writing in the ten minutes between when his wife said "I'm ready" and she actually came downstairs. I realised somehow I'd written a third of my book, and my book proposal and two personal essays and a short story, so somehow I was writing, even though my output is far from Dickensian. So my only commitment is sometime during the day, butt in chair writing, when the kids are occupied and I don't have something pressing to do. Most days I end up writing, because I'm obssessed with my book.

I also meet a fellow writer at a cafe to sit and write one morning a week. Those chunks are more productive.

I think I would work also if I could find part-time work I enjoyed. Unfortunately I don't see how I can find the hours in the day to take Little T to all his appointments, manage his health care, work full-time and find any time for myself. I know some parents of very young special needs kids do so, but I think they miss the last part. We're very fortunate that we can live here on one income.

5. Do you feel "grown up" yet?
Most definitely. I think a big part of my definition of being a grownup is knowing who you are and feeling comfortable with yourself and where you're going. Ironically I think this allows me to be quite silly and childlike at times, because I'm not worried about being found out as a child pretending to be a grownup. Though most of the time I still feel pretty young. I want to live to at least 100.



Jul. 21st, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
I can never, ever resist this meme.
Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
As the Bryn Mawr step song goes:

Something pedantic, something semantic,
Something for everyone, the academic life!
Something rhetoric, something historic,
Something for everyone, the academic life!

  1. When did you decide you wanted the academic life as a career?

  2. Who were your particular mentors at Bryn Mawr?

  3. Would do you think Burney would blog about if she were alive today? Can you give us a sample entry?

  4. What do you think about when you paint portraits?

  5. How do you create your art?
Jul. 22nd, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
1. When did you decide you wanted the academic life as a career?

Well, when I was fifteen my mentor told me I would make a great teacher. I think the roots are there, though I think I've always been really driven to try to know *as much* as I could about something.

2. Who were your particular mentors at Bryn Mawr?

Well. Peter Briggs was my advisor and teaching mentor during the last 18 months I was at BMC, so he's the biggie. Joe Kramer was also a big part of my experience, as was Helen Rehl. Katherine Rowe was my supervisor when I worked as a technology intern, and from her I got a really honest sense of how academic research works. I had a semi-adversarial relationship with George Pahomov which was also very formative.

3. Would do you think Burney would blog about if she were alive today? Can you give us a sample entry?

Burney would have a largely private-locked blog, with some very tight filters, marked: Daddy, Daddy Crisp, Dr. Johnson, Sisters, etc.

It's cheating, but I think a lot of my life-writing is, consciously and unconsciously, informed by her talent for honesty and posing.

4. What do you think about when you create portraits?

It's a meditative experience for me, really -- truly paying attention to the other person, as best I can.

It's why I like to paint (for lack of a better verb) people I know or wish to know better. Someone once asked me why I painted in a style which can be fairly quickly replicated in Photoshop -- that's like asking why someone bothers to do photorealistic pencil drawings when a photograph could do better. The time, the process, is the value.

5. How do you create your portraits?

These days it's mostly done through Corel Painter, a program which simulates "real" media. I have a tablet and stylus which act as the input. Often I use a photo reference, but the correlation of color, etc., is never one-to-one.