Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Questions from Ms. Bond:

1. If you could have any kind of animal print skin (but without fur!), what
would you choose?

Okay, a nonfur animal print skin. I'd have to say I'd love to have giraffe print skin. Giraffe's are cool. They are cute and come with color blocking, and I am all about that. ;-)

2. Karaoke vs. lip-sync -- pro and con?

A very good question. I've had to give it much thought, as it's a delicate issue.

Let's start with Karaoke. The very nature of it is all about YOU, fabulous YOU. Get up and vocalize, throw in a few fancy moves and mannerisms. Do this either in homage or in great irony. A very versatile activity, as you may find yourself listening to an incredibly heart-wrenching rendition of a sad love song, or putting together a mock mosh pit while someone trashes an eighties song. Karaoke has power, but you must be a self-aware karaoker to access it. Do not simply go up and think you can flub your way through something (ahem, okay, I've given up menntioning what happened at Gavin and Kelly's wedding--you know who you are). Go up with panache and grace. Your intentions should be clear to the audience. Otherwise you are just another yokel with a beer in one hand and the mic in the other.

Lip syncing, on the other hand, is a far more fey practice. This involves the body in ways that karaoke doesn't necessarily promote (although it does not preclude this!). Lip syncing can be like ballet, if it's done right. Someone has orchestrated a "delivery" of a song, an interpretation of a performer's persona. It is not for just anyone. In many ways, lip syncing is poetry to karaoke's prose. But it lacks the versatility that karaoke has. It's hard to be ironic while lip syncing, unless you're a drag queen, and then you're ironic in general, and this carries over.

For me personally, karaoke wins out. Lip syncing is a dying art that came before the wise invention of portable microphones and lyricless tracks and strange videos to accompany a karoke stylist. Just face it. karaoke is where it's at.

3. Do you consciously think about where you want your writing to go, or does it lead you there instead?

Actually this is a tricky question. If you mean my writing in general, I write whatever grabs me and holds my attention. If you mean during the process of writing, then I do both.

During the process of writing itself, I usually let my writing lead me where it wants to go. I try not to be a control freak most of the time. The way I see it is that if I try to control the story too much, it's like psychologists trying to study subjects who are aware that they're in a test situation. It changes their natural reactions and answers. So in my fiction, I try to be very still and quiet and hide, so I can catch the characters at their weirder moments, saying what's honest and doing what's honest for them. They make the plot go just by making decisions. After I've gotten to a certain place in a story, I begin to see how things are wanting to be shaped, and this then makes the process of finishing the story easier. The beginning has told me the ending, and I usually feel less uncertain at that point. Going back through on later drafts, I am more conscious about things, like how the prose should actually look on the page (I know this is weird but I have a slight compulsion with this) and I will change imagery and sentence cadence and paragraphing, and I'll rewrite in places where I feel like the story isn't doing something interesting, whether it be language or content revision or both. I'll rearrange sections, sometimes, seeing how they'd read if they came before or after a different section. This doesn't work with just any story I write, but I've done it with several and it produced some good results, I think. I try to think of writing a story like sculpting. It's a tactile event on some level for me. I don't know why, it just is. So initially, no, I don't think too much, and let the writing lead me. And then later I begin to think a lot and change the writing where I think it needs changing.

4. What is your favorite compliment anyone's ever given you and why?

This is a hard one. I'll go with one that's stuck with me for the past 10 years. It's from my eleventh grade english teacher. She gave me a book of poetry when I graduated high school and wrote on the inside: "Your creative talent challenges the best writers; your sincerity will conquer the world. I will always remember you." And even if I'd never published anything at all, that coming from her would have made me happy.

5. What are your best loved sickbed books?

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (in recent years), Possession, by A.S. Byatt (an old favorite), Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson, Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen, The Tooth Fairy, by Graham Joyce, and Alice Hoffman books while I'm sick feel particularly comforting (I think it's all the small town coziness). Oh, and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books. Those are great when you're stuck in bed.

1 - Leave a comment if you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.


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