I guess I sat around looking a little too forlorn. The great big Bloggers got wind of this and instead of beating me for my lunch money, they took me under their wing. I got a comment from Neil, whose project this actually is at Citizen of the Month, informing me that since my original interviewer didn’t come through for me, they had some overachievers wandering around wringing their hands raw and wanting to do my interviews. I have few of these in my classes and since the best way to placate them is to give them more things to do, so I thought I’d oblige.
I was told to write Pam of Nerd’s Eye View. She totally has my life. She’s a freelance tech writer and travels and writes and travels and writes…then she does NPR gigs and writes about travel at Blogher. Plus she’s got an Austrian husband and has jammies with garden gnomes. I’m tre jealous.
[And here's where you get a small blogging world story: I had actually sat with her in the same small session on podcasting at the Blogher conference.]
Pam did a great job, doing a couple of volleys of e-mails, whereas I wrote out ten direct questions to my interviewee and said, “Answer this.” I think her method was better.
The interview is here and after the jump.
Strays are appealing, you want to take them in and feed them, maybe make a cute flier with a picture of the lost critter to staple to phone poles in your neighborhood “If I belong to you, would you please come get me?”
Citizen of the Month and Great Interview Experiment blogger Neil mentioned that he had a few strays lurking around his imaginary neighborhood and that’s how I got to meet a Peach. An Indecisive Peach, that is. She’s just finishing grad school and looking for jobs [Ed. Note: Kinda, sorta.], but made time out to be part of the Great Interview Experiment. Nice to meet you, Peach.
What are you going to miss about grad school once you’re done? Will you try to stay in an academic environment, or are you planning to pursue a life off campus?
[W]hat will I miss about grad school…probably not a whole lot actually. I spent the time entirely too cynical for my own good. I never really was never hit over the head with an intellectual revelation, but that also isn’t something that is handed to you if you don’t carry the motivation for it at the onset. Though, I would say that I have encountered a lot of growth mentally, if not emotionally. I’m probably not going to stay in an academic environment per se, as in continuing on for a PhD, but I suppose working in an archive at the university is still academic in a sense.
Archives seem like places where there’s weird historical intrigue just below the surface, damn that Name of the Rose, damn that Da Vinci code. Do you meet crazy characters on historical quests for the truth?
This makes me laugh. I wish I were at an institution even nearly as excellently intriguing as the Vatican. We do have some people here that are on some searches for the Truth usually this entails just genealogical research and land maps to clear up zoning laws.
We do have a couple people that are very interested in this religion that came to the area around the turn of the 20th century. The Faithists claimed that their leader, John B. Newbrough had written a new Bible, the Oahspe. I did a little processing of what we had and it’s great in the Bizzaro Factor. (Sorry, Faithist readers, you know it’s true.)
The organization followed a bit of the Mormon mold, being chased from the East and coming ’round the bend to see the Rio Grande as a form of the Promised Land. They wore cotton shifts and decided that they were going to adopt “children of the world”, aka orphans having different races and backgrounds.
As tarnation would have it, the leader had to up and die. The financial backer for the group came in and married Newbrough’s wife and kept the place going for a few more years. The establishment feel apart with the lack of money and this next leader also dying if I remember correctly. They then had to figure out what to do with some of the children because the group had gotten rid of a lot of orphan’s sparse histories, such as their real names. They instead were given winning names like Hi’ata, Dis, Pathodices, Whaga and Vohu.
…I wouldn’t mind naming my kid Pathodices; but then, I’ve been carrying a fancy to the name Leviathan for a baby boy. This wistful mention repeatedly gets shocked looks and slow and sad head shakes. I just find the name just rolls of the tongue and I doubt Levi would have that hard of a time on the playground, especially if I could teach him to breathe fire.
What do you wish people knew about being a writer? What do you wish they’d stop asking when they find out you’re one?
[This] question assumes that I reflect on myself directly as a writer. Silvered moments come and go and I think that I am a writer, that I produce prose of some sort, but then those thoughts get a bit degraded when I don’t get paid for writing so my mind tells me I’m not a Real Writer. It was a bit like Blogher, when confronted with all these big, renowned bloggers, I sat in a session that talked about small blogs that don’t have a defined niche. I came away from not only feeling that my writing is valuable historically, but that being a “life blogger” is okay. I think grad school let me come away with validating my opinion too. No one really asks me about my writing or makes a discovery of my status as a writer, except a couple of my teachers who find my blogging intriguing.
Do you think there’s a difference between blogging and writing?
I think my teachers would cackle with glee when I say that my first thought is, ‘What do you mean by ‘writing?” But yes, I do think there is a great deal of difference in blogging and writing, especially academically. Academic writing is completely stilted, and from what I’ve seen, mandates the superfluous use of jargon and academicese to befuddle the gist out of something that could have said quite clearly. There is a notion that being able to provoke this befuddlement speaks to the intelligence of the author, when actually it just serves not be able to do their first line of action – communicating their points.
Journalistic writing is great in its clarity (when it’s not actively engaged in befuddling with spin). The journalism staples that I learned as an undergrad made me focus on clarity and brevity, something I sometimes tend to lack in the blogging environment.
On my blog, I tend to write with whatever ‘voice’ I’ve found for myself verbally. This voice does emulate to a great extent what echoes in the cavity of my mind, grammatical and spelling errors included. I’ve noticed that my blogging voice is starting to be harder to contained in academic settings, slowly crawling out from its crypt and embedding its nails into the rotten soil of the Academy, mumbling, “Brains, Braaaaaaaains.”
I think this is a good thing.
“If you know even just one more language, think how many more stories of life and love and emotion you can gather.” Whoa. I love that. How many languages do you speak and what inspired you to learn them?
Aside from English, which I have moderately good grip on, I speak German. I learned it at the same time I learned English when I was a child because my Mom is German. I speak and understand just a smattering of Spanish, but in terms of inspiration I’m trying to learn Chinese because I’m fascinated with the culture.
Just one last thing. Your blog name, Indecisive Peach. What’s that about?
Early in middle school I picked up the word “peachy” from my father. This was a strangely identity forming and I wrote it with white out markers all over my binders. I don’t recall using the word in conversation quite that often, though friends from that era may have different memories. It did however become something associated with me. So much so that when I was nominated in high school as our small town’s Teen of the Week, I put under hobbies that I “cultivated peaches” as a joke. This then just cemented the association, especially when I was quietly asked in class if I really did grow my own peaches.
I started the blog I didn’t feel that my handle online, firewings (which has its own story) , matched the feel for a land stead in the blog ether. I was also quite, and still am, very indecisive. It was flash of hokey brilliance and thankfully the words swung well together. (Later I realized that “indecisive” can be a pill for some people *cough*like me*cough* to remember how to spell.)