Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Interview Meme

All right. I won't do anymore memes for a while, I promise. I've got too many other posts patiently awaiting their turns in the spotlight. However, I just couldn't resist being interviewed by real, live journalist Charlotte.

1. You come from a family where humour is very important. Who is the funniest person in your family and why?

Boy, am I glad I wasn’t sitting on Good Morning, America with you, Charlotte, trying to come up with an answer to this one on the spot. Everyone in my family is funny, but we each seem to have our true specialties. Forsyth, for instance, is the one-liner-at-the-right-time pro. You know how you have all these encounters with people in annoying situations, and afterwards you think, “Man, I wish I’d said that, instead of standing there, my tongue seemingly attached to the roof of my mouth with Super Glue?” Forsyth is the person who did say that. Lindsay (no surprise given that she’s an artist) has taken the art of self-deprecating humor to levels never before reached. She rivals David Sedaris. Ian’s the person you want to invite to any dinner party you might be having if you want everyone rolling on the floor in stitches as he tells hilarious story after hilarious story. I’m the Queen of Sarcasm. My mother is the one who can find humor all over the place and is really good for getting you into a fit of hysterical giggles over the most banal situations. Maybe my father is the funniest, because he’s equally good at all five of these types of humor, although each of us excels a little more than he does in our own particular specialty.

2. If you were given the chance to meet your favourite film director or writer, who would it be? What would you want to ask him or her?

Another toughie, because I have such a hard time deciding on favorites. If the director in question can be dead or alive, I’d love to meet Stanley Kubrik, but I’m sure I’d be way too intimidated by his genius to ask him why he decided to go with the American ending of A Clockwork Orange as opposed to its original ending. I don’t believe his claim that he’d never read the original until he was almost finished with the movie. He was too smart not to have explored both versions before filming. Maybe I would believe him if I asked him and he were to expound on that answer. If the director has to be living, I’d go with Jonathan Demme. I can’t claim to have seen all of his films, but I love what I have seen, and I love his originality and stick-to-his-guns mentality. I have a billion questions for him about working with David Byrne and making Stop Making Sense, as well as lots of questions about his cousin Bobby.

3. You are about to move home. What are you looking foward to most/ dreading most about the imminent change in your life?

I’m most looking forward to setting up a new house and “doing it right” this time. I’m sure I won’t “do it right,” and I’ll end up arranging and re-arranging, just as I’ve done with my current house, but one can always fantasize when reality hasn’t yet set in. I’m also very much looking forward to long walks in farm country and lots of very fresh produce for my kitchen experiments. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m looking forward to having a husband who’s once again gainfully employed.

I’m dreading packing up this house. And I’m dreading trying to make new friends. I have a completely irrational fear, which I’ve had all my life, that I won’t be able to make any friends. This isn’t quite as bad as it was when I was younger, because my best friend is coming with me, but still. I’d like to have more than one friend, especially since that friend is soon going to be very busy taking care of others and won’t necessarily be available every time I want to watch a movie with someone or discuss a book or go get ice cream or something. It’s irrational, because I’ve never been anywhere in my life in which I wasn’t able to make friends (even as a teenaged American moving to England for a year), but I’m always convinced with every new move/job change/etc. this will finally be the place where everyone realizes what a dweeb I am, and I’ll be avoided like a fourth-grader who hasn’t had the sense to get a cootie shot.

In the both dreading and looking forward category: having a nearly-200-year-old cemetery in my back yard. I’m dying to see a ghost, so I can really believe in them once and for all. According to books I’ve read on the subject, every cemetery is just loaded with them, so chances should be pretty good that I’ll finally encounter one. But I want any ghost I see to be a friendly, happy ghost sipping tea in the cemetery or something, not some chain-rattling, headless ghost who walks up from the cemetery and appears at the foot of my bed in the middle of the night. I’ll let everyone know if either happens.

4. If I could guarantee you a no strings attached, fully paid for, holiday, on your OWN for a month, where would you go and what would you do?

Oh, I want to do a month on a freighter trip that’s traveling around Europe, reading and writing while out to sea, and exploring and eating at every interesting port of call. Of course, I’d also love to find four English-speaking families in different parts of China, and spend one week living with each of them. And then there’s my idea of getting a sleeper car and riding Amtrak all around America and Canada (but then again, I can’t imagine doing that one without Bob. We had such a blast taking Amtrak from Manhattan to Santa Fe).

5. You have a very happy marriage. What's your secret?

When Bob and I were soon to be married by his uncle (who was also a Presbyterian minister before he retired), he met with us and counseled us that communication was the most important thing in a marriage. We smugly felt, “well, no problem there.” From the moment we had our first phone conversation; to our first date in which we almost missed the movie, because we were talking so much over dinner; to that very lunch with his uncle, Bob and I had talked incessantly with each other. It’s true: communication is very important. So is the other cliché about being each others’ best friend. But I don’t think either of those would work for us if we weren’t both madly in love (emphasis on “mad,” as in “insane,” as in “ready-for-the-loony-bin,” willing to do and be things we would never dream of doing and being for anyone else we know). Of course, don’t let us fool you. There have been plenty of times I’ve huffily walked out the door, claiming he’s never going to see me again (over something extraordinarily important, you have to understand, like who threw away the top to the olive oil), only to wonder what the hell I was doing and where I thought I was going, after an hour or so of aimlessly driving around with nowhere to go (because this always happens when the library is closed). However, once such moments are safely in the past, he and I are almost always able to laugh at ourselves. So I guess the fact we both have good senses of humor also plays a big role.

This is really fun. If you'd like to play along, here are the directions.


1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


IM said...

Emily, I hope this isn’t presumptuous to say, but I could never envision you having trouble making friends. In fact you have a genius for it. You always had good friends when we were growing up, and they were always so loyal to you. I’m looking forward to meeting all of your new friends. Happy 4th! (Or Purification of the Empire Day—as Daddy calls it).

Great questions Charlotte.

litlove said...

I loved reading your answers to this, Emily. I cannot imagine what I'm letting myself in for but.... interview me? please?

Anonymous said...

Emily, you will make friends with everyone, including the headless chain rattling ghost. If you figured out how to do this in HIGH SCHOOL how can you fail with much more tolerant adults? I agree with you on the summary of family humor, except I'm really not that good at self-deprecating humor. Not good at all.

Anonymous said...

I don't know--throwing away the top of the olive oil is pretty serious business, certainly worthy of divorce, at the very least. Maybe justifiable homicide. But seriously, this is a great interview, with some very insightful question as well as entertaining and informative answers. Neither of you would last a second on TV--the interview is too smart for that.

Anne Camille said...

Interview me! I think this will be fun. Just don't ask me to include the 10 compliments you tagged me for previously (I will try to do that sometime).

Emily Barton said...

Ian, Happy Purification of the Empire Day to you, too! (We've got cold, soggy fireworks up here. Remember when you came to CT to go to Maine to see the Dead, and you froze in your shorts? That's what it's been like today.) I hope you got to sit out on your somewhat-patio, drinking a cool drink and eating something from the grill. And thanks for your vote of confidence in my ability to make friends.

Litlove, can't wait to read your answers to my questions.

Linser, you seem to have forgotten that half the friends I had in high school were YOURS. When I befriend the chain-rattling headless ghost, I'll return the favor (maybe he'll be able to teach us a thing or two about self-deprecating humor).

Hobs, how insightful of you to understand so well the whole top- to-the-the-olive-oil business. Maybe next time it happens, instead of driving around aimlessly, I'll come to Dorr's and your place. Charlotte could run circles around Katie Couric and Matt Lauer.

Cam, my questions are on their way, but that doesn't mean you're off the hook for the compliments meme.

mandarine said...

me too!
(I swear I'll do the compliments meme)

Rebecca H. said...

You'll totally make lots of friends! Plus your friends from the old place will visit you ...

Charlotte said...

Emily, thanks for being a delightful interview subject. One day I hope to question you in person, preferably over a bottle of wine.

Froshty said...

I've always envied your ability to make friends or, even better, have people actually agree to meet you somewhere for a book discussion or a cup of coffee. Most people have to beg other people several times to get together before it actually happens, but it seems to come so easily to you.

Anonymous said...

What a fun interview. I am sure you will have no trouble making friends. Who wouldn't want to be friends with you?

And sometimes cliches are cliches because there is truth to them. I'd answer the same to number five and add, don't forget to say please and thank you :)

Emily Barton said...

Dorr, Frosthy, and Stef, thanks for more votes of confidence in helping me realize how irrational it is to worry about making friends. At least I know one thing. If everyone in PA hates me, I've still got all my blog friends. I'm just going to make everyone move to PA (Dorr's first on the list).

Charlotte, I can think of no one I'd rather have "interview" me in person over a bottle of wine.

Anne Camille said...

Emily, Thanks for the interview questions. This was fun to do! My answers are up now on my blog here.

mandarine said...

Thank you for your questions. At last, I posted my answers.

I do not know if you have tried, but my server crashed last night just after I had posted the interview.

It is now alive again.