Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Connecticut Yankee Interviews a Pennsylvania Dutch

I seem to have this theme going with Ms. Musing, who keeps popping up in my blog posts, but I promise not to keep it up forever. You can actually blame this one on Charlotte. You see, Charlotte decided to bring back the interview meme for which she already interviewed me back in 2007. My corner of the blogosphere is very incestuous. It didn't take long for someone I know (Zoe's Mom) to pick up on Charlotte's new incarnation of the meme. Ms. Musing introduced me to Zoe's Mom in real life (who needs FB's "six degrees of separation?") when ZM came to work for the company for which we all three used to work. ZM interviewed Ms. Musing, and I asked Ms. Musing to interview me. Ms. Musing also happens to be one of my pen pals, so she decided to send me her questions in a letter. I could turn this into a pencast, which is what Mandarine did when I interviewed him last go-around (BTW, everyone, Mandarine and Mrs. Mandarine and Baby Mandarine will be the next house guests the Bartons get to entertain), but I'm too lazy to do all that work (after all, I'm writing all these letters to all these pen pals these days, plus putting in all these links for this blog post. You can't expect much more out of me.) So, got all that? There will be a pop quiz. Anyway, without further ado, I (finally) present you with the Q & A.

1. Other than keeping your blog, what do you do that is just for you, that preserves your identity as distinct from that of the pastor's wife?
I go "exploring" on my own. 100 years ago, when I moved from North Carolina to Connecticut, I used to escape from roommates, job stresses, boyfriends, etc. by just getting in the car and "going." I have a horrible sense of direction, but I found that CT is so small, I'd always find myself back on some route I recognized (with one exception of a frightening evening when I thought I was in some "Twilight Zone" episode in which New Canaan was expanding to cover the entire square mileage of the USA). I was worried about moving here and winding up in Pittsburgh if I tried to do that, but no. I've been very lucky. All roads here seem to lead back to some familiar route as well. I like just to get in the car and explore, looking for good farm stands, places to walk, etc. The lack of traffic on the back country roads here makes this more fun for me than it was in CT, because basically I've come to hate driving if I have to deal with other drivers. Here, I'm more likely to share roads with horses and buggies than with other cars, and that I don't mind at all. It's peaceful and helps center me and keeps me appreciative of this place I now call "home." Oh, and funny thing, quite often I end up at some library somewhere (I especially love the big downtown library in the city of Lancaster).

2. You are being marooned on a desert island. What are the book, the music, and the single luxury you take with you?
Well, the book is easy. I decided long ago it has to be Don Quixote (a huge disappointment to you, Ms. Musing, as I know couldn't get through it). It has it all: romance, humor, post-modernism-before-its-time, psychology, philosophy, etc., etc. However, I really ought to take something practical like the The Boy Scout Handbook or at least semi-practical, like Robinson Crusoe. Then again, RC is the book that made me realize I'd be dead within 48 hours if marooned on a desert island by myself. Better just to escape with DQ as I lay dying.

Music is so hard. But it's got to be uplifting. It's got to have lyrics, because I can sing along now without having to worry about anyone needing to put hands over ears. It's got to be something of which I never grow tired. But it can't remind me too much of the life I left behind with Bob -- for some reason, I'm assuming he isn't marooned with me -- no one I've seen live. "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook" fits nicely.

And film? Which musical (so I can get some more music on that island) will it be? It's gotta be My Fair Lady, which just goes to show that even those of us who are not afraid to call ourselves "feminists" are still attracted to the notion of the male as someone who "rescues" us (even "remakes" us). And what's that all about? But I'll be on an island all alone. Maybe I'll have time to figure out the answer to that question.

My luxury? Let's pretend the island has plenty of water and a means for heating it. I want a huge claw-foot bathtub and an endless supply of fabulous bubble bath (and let's hope I don't drop Don Quixote in the tub while reading it, ruining the only book I have, because I'm sure I won't be disciplined enough not to read in the tub, "just in case it falls in." What's a bubble bath without a book to read?)

3. Your successful novel has been optioned by a film company. They will make a film, but they demand to make changes that will significantly alter the story. What would stop you signing the contract (if anything)? (By the way, you will totally get to snog the leading man of your choice on opening night.)
I will not sign the contract if they have completely misinterpreted my satire and have decided to turn my deliciously wicked book into a 3-hankie, "chick flick" weeper. (Oh, and that leading man would be Colin Firth.)

4. What do you think is the most common misconception (relatives, friends, colleagues) may have about you?
Ever since I worked in the library world, I have thought of myself as the human equivalent of one of those music Fake Books that used to fascinate me (because, you see, I know absolutely nothing about reading and performing music). However, others seem to think that I actually have expertise when I really only know the basic melody and do a lot of improvising (a.k.a. opining) that may or may not have any basis in fact outside of Emily's head. I don't know why people seem to think I know much more than I actually do, especially since I feel I'm always asking thousands of stupid questions. Maybe it's because I'm a reader. Anyway, one of my friends recently referred to me as an "intellectual" like he, and all I could think was, "Boy, do I have you fooled!"

5. Why didn't I do this blog post as a pencast?
See? I told you there would be a pop quiz. Hope you were paying attention. This one question counts 100% of your grade.


Anonymous said...

Will I be allowed to do some guest blogging while we try to be perfect houseguests?

Emily Barton said...

Mandarine, absolutely. You may even post pictures (since you're very good with a camera).

Anonymous said...

Good questions and great answers. I think I would bring along Idiot's Guide to Surviving On And Getting Rescued From a Desert Island. I might also bring a bikini because Lord knows I should be seen in any public place with one. On the otherhand if I am successful with Idiot's Guide the rescuers will find me so perhaps a one-piece is the wiser choice.

Anonymous said...

I like your answers, Emily. I also like just getting in the car and going, and I did that to find my way around where we live. I'm not disappointed at your choice of DQ - after all, it's your life on the deserted island! And I love 'My Fair Lady', so we should watch it some time. Also fully agree re the bath. When I grow up I will have a gloriously luxurious bathroom, with an enormous bath.

You did not do this as a pencast because it was too much hassle.

Charlotte said...

How cool that the Mandarines are coming to stay! Hope you have fun together, and when you open a bottle of red wine, please toast me.

Rebecca H. said...

Your exploring sounds like great fun -- how cool to find new farm stands and places to walk and how great to spend time in libraries!

Anonymous said...

How exciting to have Les Mandarines! And I'm behind you in the queue for Colin Firth...

Anonymous said...

What fun! And how exciting that the Mandarines are coming to visit. I've never been much of a bubble bath person so I think I would have to have lots and lots of dark chocolate and a place to store it so it doesn't melt and so the ants and other island critters can't get it. And Can I have a Colin Firth smooch too please? :)

Bob said...

Emily, No reason to denigrate your intellect as being fomented from a Fake Book. To extend the metaphor further, if you play music as literally written, and do it very well, you exactly express the intent of composer. Play the same from a Fake Book, you are adding more of your own interpretation to the composition. In some ways, “faking it” provides another degree of expertise. As your favorite musical is “My Fair Lady,” here is my interpretation of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” played from (you guessed it) a Fake Book:

Emily Barton said...

Sara, you're far more practical than I. Will you please come with me, so you can get us rescued while I'm lolling around in the bath reading about Knights and Ladies?

MFS, pick up some Mars Bars and salt and vinegar crisps for me while you're in England, and then, when you get back, I'll come up and we can have a junk food and "My Fair Lady" night. Afterwards, we can drink wine and ponder the whole "woman-rescued-by-man" question.
Oh, and you get 100 on the pop quiz.

Charlotte, we most definitely will toast you when we open the (organic) red wine.

Dorr, yes it is cool. Next time you come down, we'll have to go "exploring."

Stef and Litlove, you can be my guests on the opening night in London, and I'll explain to Colin that you-all thought I said we were doing "blog research," when I really said "snog research." :-)!

Bob, see? I told you I know absolutely nothing about reading and playing music. However, I like the idea of my intellect being a "Fake Book" that adds another level of expertise and creativity. Now, off to listen to your version of "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face."