- Growing up, what did you want to do professionally when you got older?
The phrase “growing up” is key here. I remember being a six-year-old living in Puerto Rico with my parents (Dad was a Navy man), and my three dream jobs at that time were garbage man, clown, and professional singer. Mom and Dad used to make jokes that I could do all three at the same time. My parents were capable of being such assholes.
By the time I was a ‘tween, I wanted to be a writer. Also, a comic book artist and a teacher, in addition to garbage man, clown and professional singer.
- Do you live in the city or state of which you were born?
No. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, here in the United States of America. I’ve also lived in Puerto Rico (as I’ve already mentioned), North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas. In the 21st Century, I’ve lived primarily in central Arkansas.
- What’s an item that you had as a girl, but isn’t being sold anymore?
I’m going to substitute the word “boy” for “girl” in that question. In the 1970s, I had the Evel Knievel action figure and stunt cycle that I enjoyed a lot. It may still be sold—I don’t know—but I guarantee it’s not the same.
Also, lawn darts.
- Do your prefer pudding, yogurt, custard, or ice cream?
Prefer ice cream. Flavored yogurt is my go-to substitute, and I wouldn’t say no to a pudding or custard at the moment.
- What’s one topic of interest you’d like to learn more about?
There are two topics I return to, time and again. One is neuroscience, specifically study of the brain and how it works, with a particular concentration on dreams, memory storage and recall, and creativity. The other is physics—usually astrophysics and cosmology, but lately I’ve been on a quantum mechanics jag.
Religion is another favorite topic, now that I think about it. But, in my mind, this topic is closely related to neuroscience and physics.
- What is a favorite/unique family tradition in your house?
This may seem sad, but I can’t think of a single tradition. We all like bedtime. Even the dogs get excited about it.
Morning coffee is also a personal favorite. I’m having one now, with a touch of vanilla flavoring and a dollop of heavy whipping cream. Decadent.
- If you had one topic to teach to the entire world, what would it be and why?
Be kind to each other. I think Ellen Degeneres was on the right track, but she has a mean streak that became more obvious the longer her talk show was on the air. In my mind, the best parts of my professed religion—Christianity—can be distilled to this simple five-word phrase.
- What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I watch television differently than most people. I tend to treat it like a job or a project, planning for fourteen individual episodes a week, no more than two episodes of the same series. I keep a schedule on the computer that, in part, already covers part of 2022. After many years of watching almost no television at all, I’ve made up for lost time in probably the nerdiest, most obsessive fashion.
- What’s one of your life saving cleaning hacks?
I’m not sure which part of this question troubles me the most—the “life saving” part, or the “cleaning hack” part. Since COVID-19, I wash my hands more frequently than I used to, as well as using hand sanitizer, if that counts towards cleaning (and life saving). Around the house, the cleaning hack I’ve utilized, which has certainly been life-changing if not life-saving, is to hire an outside cleaning service that comes in about one a month.
- What’s one thing you wish you knew before having kids, but didn’t?
That not having kids is a perfectly valid option and significantly reduces your carbon footprint.
Just kidding. Sorta.
- What is one lesson life has taught you recently?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in this still relatively new century is that thinking about any topic in terms of absolutes is probably the wrong approach. Everything isn’t black-or-white, either-or, good-or-evil—and, most things being debated exist in that gray area most of us like to think doesn’t exist.
The second biggest lesson is that it is okay to not have an opinion about something. In fact, most things are none of my business. This is a lesson more people should learn.
- If you could retire and live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
This is kind of a trick question. Or else, it’s a trick answer. I don’t think I would live in just a single location, if I had the resources. How about a series of homes (not hotel rooms or ship cabins) all over the world, where we could take our dogs with us? Ideally, we’d stay in one location for a month or two, then move on to the next. Many of these homes would be built close to an ocean, I think, and one of the homes would be the one I currently live in.