…to Stephanie’s interview questions.
1. Describe your religious upbringing or lack thereof? How does this affect you today?
A: Well, my childhood experience would be closer (on the religious spectrum) to lack thereof. My father considered himself a moralist and a thinker but I don’t remember him ever attending church, and my mother was an Episcopalian who only went occasionally. I accompanied her whenever she did go, though. I loved the silence and the ceremony and the singing. These are still my favorite aspects of worship. I don’t remember discussions of faith at home, but there was a solemn sort of grace said around the table at special occasions: “We thank Thee, oh Lord, for these and all gifts of Thy bounty“.
I always knew that God existed–the notion of God being intricately linked with nature in my mind. I remember finding a driftwood crucifix as a child (not a real one, but a perfectly worn hand-sized piece of wood with upraised arms and even a shadowy face turned sideways) and I kept it for years and years, finding comfort linking its “arms” between my fingers and cupping the base of the cross in my palm. No one ever told me to do such a thing, and to my knowledge I had never seen it done, but it quietly and privately comforted me.
I loved church and God in a very childlike, uncomplicated way when I was young. I believed in a higher power. Whenever it was time to make a wish (blowing out candles, the first star of the night, throwing a coin into a well) my wish was always the same: “I wish for whatever will make me happiest.” The logic being that a power high enough to grant wishes would also know best what would make me happiest. Granted, sometimes I would add a gentle suggestion, “And if it’s a pony, that would be great.” But I never presumed to know.
I still pray in a similar way, although my understanding of “higher power” has changed over the years. But I have always felt innocence, trust, and awe well up inside me when I think of God. I hope I always will.
2. If you could lunch with any historical figure (famous or not), who would it be, where would you have lunch and what would you eat?
I would like to visit Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and eat from the fruits of his gardens and orchards, visit his library. After lunch, he could show me the grounds and some of his inventions. I think he would be fascinating to talk to, on so many levels, as a writer, a revolutionary, a scientist, an inventor, a progressive and even a slaveowner (how did he reconcile that?).
3. How do you nurture yourself throughout the day?
I really don’t do it enough. I nurture others. But when I do think about treating myself, it usually involves either getting outside (breeze, birds, sunlight, ahhh) or chocolate (self-explanatory). Books are also a divine indulgence.
4. What were the best and worst jobs you’ve ever had?
I love any kind of work, so I can’t really think of a bad job that I’ve had. I worked in a fabric store in college and some of the people were kind of gossipy–I think that was the worst thing for me, job-wise. As for the best? Oh, so many, for so many different reasons: the nursing home job taught me a lot about death, dying and dignity (I was 16); Colonial Williamsburg was a good job–very cool people, cool period costume, and I got to make books and talk to groups of people about books; working at Jamestown as a potter rocked–Jamestown Island was amazing after all the tourists left, I could feel the spirits of the early colonists all around me; teaching art to little kids in Hawaii was amazing; I worked in several artists’ cooperatives and always loved that; and for the past 15 years or so I have been my own boss both as a writer and co-founder of a marine ecology study-abroad program in Dominica.
5. What is your proudest moment at the workplace? Most humiliated?
I don’t have a proudest moment that I can recall. I’m always proud to work and try hard to do work that I can be proud of. My most humiliated moment came when a friend and co-worker of mine found a rant I had written (only for myself) about her. Fortunately, she was mature and took me aside and told me she had read it. I am so grateful she gave me that opportunity. I apologized, and explained that I had been working out frustrations and didn’t really feel that way all the time, but it was how I dealt with upsetting things and that I never meant for her to see it. God bless Martha, she was so understanding. I think it made us much closer afterward.
6. When have you felt that you transcended time and space? (Bonus Question)
I’m going to think more on this one before I reply…
Thank you, Stephanie, for such great questions! I knew you would make me think. If anyone else wants to play, guidelines are below. 🙂
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. 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