Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn) wrote,
Stone of stumbling and rock of offense

Answers to Hard Questions

I've been working on these memes in random bits of time for the past few weeks.

  1. Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

  2. I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity.

  3. Update your journal with the answers to the questions.

  4. Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

[personal profile] jehannamama asked:

1. Favorite author, and why.
I think I'm too old or possibly too cynical to have one favorite author. (Or one favorite anything, really.) Maybe I'm just too greedy. I like too many genres, too.

I still love the authors of my childhood; the great Victorian novelists, the Bronte sisters, Alcott, Hardy. That said, I've recently been rereading Pratchett, who is always good and frequently wonderful. And the new Michael Connelly, The Brass Verdict. I like Connelly a lot, just as I like Dennis Lehane, but I can read their books only once. I'm not sure why. Pterry is endlessly rereadable.

2. Favorite poet, and why.
There are many poets I turn to again and again, the classic writers whose work addresses my heart. Donne, Millay, Robert Hass, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, Rainer Maria Rilke. But the one closest to my heart is probably Emily Dickinson, who speaks of both beauty and catastrophe with a wry, tender, quirky, defiant voice.

3. Tell me a happy memory of yours.
Oh, there are so many! But, since we’re speaking of poetry, I remember with wonder and gratitude the spring day in 1972 when I first read the poetry of Dylan Thomas. The whole collected poems, straight through—it was like drinking honey.

4. What person do you most admire, and why.
Joan of Arc. With no training, no money, no status, the wrong gender, and in defiance of the canons her society lived by, she nevertheless managed to discover her mission and carry it out. And she remained herself until the last.

5. What is your favorite food?
Fresh home-baked bread.

Questions from Intertext

1. You have quite a few items in your profile "interests" that are unique to you. Pick the one that is most important to you and tell me about it.

Four of them refer directly or indirectly to Pennsylvania. “ ‘And I shall see it again in dream, and on the banks of the Ganges.’…An austere patriot’s passion for his homeland.”* I love places the way most people love their God.

The four are Catawissa (the small town near Bloomsburg where I started school), The Chaneysville Incident (David Bradley’s stunning novel about his corner of Pennsylvania, a book so linked to what I wanted to write that I went to grad school just to work with him), Jackson Pennsylvania (the place—not big enough for a town—I consider my hometown, though none of us live there now), and Susquehanna County (where Jackson is located).

I still get so homesick I spend time reading about them on freaking Wikipedia, or looking at them on Google satellite maps. The loss, the passion is for the landscape, for my family, for the life I could have had if I’d just not been what I am.

What I have found here in California is immensely valuable to me: a community of people who can accept me as I am (even love me, some of them), in a landscape I love. It’s come close to healing the old wound.

*From Jane Eyre; quoted from memory.

2. You win $100,000. What would you do with it?

Pay my debts. Help other people. Survive for a few years.

3. Who is your favourite poet? And what is your favourite poem by that poet?

I’m going to contradict the answer I gave elsewhere in this post. (Both answers are true.) John Donne is my favorite poet, and my favorite poem of his is one of the holy sonnets.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

4. Do you play a musical instrument? If no, which would you most like to learn?

No. I always wanted to play the keyboard instruments—piano, organ, harpsichord.

5. What is your happiest memory from childhood?

Picnicking with my mother and sisters—something we did often.

You know how sometimes people on your friends list post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think "Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when???" And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration. One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out.

The questions are from [personal profile] gramina, but I took [personal profile] serenejournal’s approach. If you're confused about any of the answers, feel free to ask.

first name
I was supposed to be Michele (or possibly Michelle). But my mother didn’t want me to be nicknamed Micky. During my marriage, one of my sisters had a strong housemate named Michelle. Whenever my husband and I did anything that required heavy lifting, I used to say, “You should have married Michelle.” The ironies are not lost on me.

Middle. Are grownups supposed to cry this much?

I never added Connecticut or New Jersey to my dream world. California, like Pennsylvania, is part of my dreamscapes.

Finding a job is in no way the same as finding my work. The work has been mine from the beginning: using words to tell the truth and free people. Getting an income from that (or anything else) is considerably different.

There are life partners, work partners, romantic partners, and a dozen other sorts of partners. I’ve always been fascinated by creative marriages—Lennon and McCartney, for example, collaborators and competitors; or Hemingway and Fitzgerald, competitive friends.

I don’t dance, except with babies.

Four of us survived.

Am I Gabriel’s pet or is she mine?

list the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life
1. Moving from my apartment to a shared house with the Califamily.
2. Sorting through all my possessions and getting rid of most of them.
3. Looking for work.
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