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A Self Interview by cam8510

Updated on August 1, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

Interview Yourself: A Writer's Challenge

Jennifer Arnett, aka availiasvision, issued the challenge here on hubpages for us to interview ourselves. I have put together my own questions along with some that Jennifer recommended.

Here is a link to the article in which Jennifer presented the challenge. Interview Yourself: A Writer's Challenge.

The Barn on the Farm Where I Grew Up

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My first pony, Missy.I spent most of my childhood in this barn it seems.  Slept in the hayloft, ponies downstairs waiting to be ridden.  "War games" with friends.  Around five years oldWith LaddieOne year old and 30 pounds (13.6 kg)High School WrestlerDeep sea fishing with brother, Kim (Deceased) and father, Carl (Also deceased).....and two grouper.College days
My first pony, Missy.
My first pony, Missy. | Source
I spent most of my childhood in this barn it seems.  Slept in the hayloft, ponies downstairs waiting to be ridden.  "War games" with friends.
I spent most of my childhood in this barn it seems. Slept in the hayloft, ponies downstairs waiting to be ridden. "War games" with friends. | Source
Around five years old
Around five years old | Source
With Laddie
With Laddie | Source
One year old and 30 pounds (13.6 kg)
One year old and 30 pounds (13.6 kg) | Source
High School Wrestler
High School Wrestler | Source
Deep sea fishing with brother, Kim (Deceased) and father, Carl (Also deceased).....and two grouper.
Deep sea fishing with brother, Kim (Deceased) and father, Carl (Also deceased).....and two grouper. | Source
College days
College days | Source

What Was Your Childhood Like?

I was born and raised on a dairy farm in the U.S. State of Indiana where the cornfields go on and on as far as the eye can see. Growing up on a farm means lots of work. In the case of my family, it meant my brother worked hard, and l worked hard at avoiding work. We milked 80 head of holstein cows twice a day. Then there was the time it took to feed them and give them clean places to sleep. Cleaning up after dairy cows is a necessary, but not at all pleasant activity.

I had ponies and horses from when I was very young. I loved those animals and spent every minute with them that I could. We rode bareback and we rode them hard every day.

Porcupine Mountains, Lake of the Clouds

Source

Share one emotionally uplifting moment in your life.

I was visiting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan one summer with friend, and we went to the Porcupine Mountains and Lake of the Clouds. The pathway that led to the scenic overlook went uphill for a couple of hundred feet, then you could see for miles. The view was a sea of forest; thousands of square miles. The scene was overwhelming. That’s how I felt as an adult. As we walked up the hill toward the overlook, a young family was also walking nearby. A little girl, 4 years old, maybe 5, was riding on her father’s shoulders. The little girl stretched and craned her neck to see what was out there. The closer we got, the more excited the little girl became. Then the top of the mountain with all the trees came into view. The little girl said, “What is it? What is it?” We walked a little further, then she exclaimed, “It’s, It’s….the Wooooooorld….!” What a simple, pure response to nature. I still melt when I think of that moment.

Family

Sandy, my late wife, our sons and Sandy's parents.
Sandy, my late wife, our sons and Sandy's parents. | Source

Have there been periods of crisis in your life?

The first was when I was 19. I began drinking at that time. I had actually never had alcohol before. That first drink led to being drunk for a whole year. It was alcoholic drinking from the start. With the help of family and friends, I quit and went on with my life.

The second crisis was related to my chosen vocation. I went to College and earned a B.A. in Biblical Education. After fifteen years of ministry and education for ministry, I came to a point of crisis. For a variety of reasons, it became clear that it was time to leave the ministry. That was a personal, emotional and vocational crisis that took me years to get over.

The third crisis had to do with my wife. In September, 1998 Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer. For nearly ten years, she battled this disease with every prayer, every drug, every ounce of physical, emotional and spiritual strength available. She was an absolutely marvelous person, unforgettable when you met her. She was the most important influence on our sons’ lives, and to this day they are reaping the rewards of her efforts on their behalf. We lost Sandy on April 1, 2008. We had a decade to prepare, but we just were not ready for life without Sandy.

Sandy

East Coast Trail, Newfoundland
East Coast Trail, Newfoundland | Source

What have been the greatest accomplishments in your life so far?

It is difficult for me to claim any great accomplishments, but I will mention my sons here. Along with my wife, we gave our sons a great start in life. They had happy, fun, intellectually stimulating childhoods with parents who loved each other and them. It was a good time in our lives. Raising these to boys and sending them out to have their own influence on the world is one of the two best things I have ever done.

The second was during my wife’s ten years of cancer treatment. I resolved to be there for her, to go to her doctor appointments and treatments with her and to support her every step of the way. I faltered somewhere in the middle, but on either side of that, I did well. I feel good about those years.

Have sports and athletics played an important part in your life?

In high school I was in cross country (distance running), track and wrestling. I did a bit of AAU wrestling after school. I continued to run until I was about fifty years old. I competed in many road and trail races including a 16 mile trail race and three marathons. I suffered a knee injury which has permanently ended my running. But, with the aid of a knee brace, I am able to do day hikes and backpacking with no problem.

I also enjoy canoeing and kayaking on lakes and rivers wherever I go. Most of the time there is camping gear and fishing equipment stowed away on the boat as well.

If you could have had input into the design of human beings, what would you have added?

A Do-Over-Button that could be used twice. I’d do my whole marriage and child rearing over again. Partly because I enjoyed it so much, but also to do right the times I went wrong. The second time I used the button would be at the very last minute on my deathbed. I’d punch that baby hard and go back to the farm of my childhood. Seriously, I have no idea if this would be a good idea or not.

What part has writing played in your life? What do you hope to accomplish in your writing?

I had a poem published in our local, Northern Michigan newspaper as part of a poetry contest. It was the result of our family hiking in a virgin pine forest not far from our home. The poem went something like this…..

What is it you ask, stranger, traveler?
What is that unfamiliar sound?
Quietness,
And wind in the tops of old lonesome pines
Like water rushing over stones.

That led to my "poetry period," when I wrote quite a few poems.

I’ve had three flash fiction stories published. Two by Flash Fiction World in volume four of their anthologies. Another is in the 2016 anthology for the Writer's Digest Short Story Competition. Out of seven thousand entries, my story, Working Vacation, took twenty-first place.

Right now, I’m working on a novel, and that scares me a lot. I am in over my head, but I’m going to see this through. It may amount to nothing but a sense of accomplishment, but that will be enough for me. This is more than I ever thought I’d do.

The only other writing I’ve done is in the realm of religion and philosophy, but those are all filed away.

I have 50 or 60 flash fiction stories that aren't published other than on my blog. Two short stories and a novella are safely filed away where they will do no harm.

Do you have siblings? And what about your parents?

I have an older sister and a younger brother. My older brother passed away in 2009. My father passed away in 1988. My mother is in excellent health at age 85 and lives in Indiana.

Have you had the opportunity to travel?

I’ve traveled quite a bit. Papua, New Guinea, Norway, Iceland, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, all across Canada, most of the States in the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala. I hope to get to more of Europe in the next few years.

Currently I am a traveling hospital laboratory technician. Over the last four years, I have worked in Missoula, Montana, Medford, Oregon, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Philadelphia, Louisville, KY, Columbus, GA, Colorado Springs, CO and St. Louis, MO. Traveling in my work has given me the opportunity to spend some quality time getting to know the cities and the countryside of our great nation.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Keep only your good memories. Put everything else in a pile over there. I'll throw it in the incinerator later."

I see that you are an amateur photographer. Do you have a favorite photograph you’ve taken? Is there a story behind it?

I was backpacking in Jewel Basin near Glacier National Park, Montana. When I began the hike, it was pouring rain and the fog was so thick I could see only a few feet ahead. I finally set up camp to wait for the storm to end. On the following morning, this is what I saw as I reached a high point on the trail.

Jewel Basin, Montana

Source

Challenging Questions (Provided by Jennifer Arnett)

In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?

As a child, Tommy Rettig on the original Lassie T.V. show.
As a teen, The Marty McFly version of Michael J. Fox.
Early adult, James Dean.
Mid life, Fess Parker
Older me, Christopher Walken

Why these? Tommy, as Jeff Miller, was an adventurous farm boy. Marty was a crazy, careless teen. James Dean would make me cooler than I really was. Fess Parker played Daniel Boone, a real man. Christopher Walken is just plain cool.

What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?

  • Writing in a way that captivates the imagination and moves people emotionally
  • A lifetime of sobriety
  • Wing suit flying

Who is your favorite fictional character ever?

Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy….the books, not the films

If you could have the career of any author, who would it be?

Farley Mowatt. He was brilliant thinker and writer. He spent all of his time outside collecting material for his books.

What Inspires Me? This.....

St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana | Source

What Inspires You?

As a writer? The mountains and canyons of western Montana, like nothing ever has. Other than that, nature anyplace really. Paddling my kayak. Backpacking. Prompts work well for me. Random thoughts.

When Did You First Realize You Were a Writer?

I got a hint of it when I was in seventh grade English class. The teacher gave us an assignment to write a story. Mine was to be about the Evacuation of Dunkirk. I wrote it from the perspective of a radio news announcer who was live and on the scene.

That's All, Folks

That's me in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane as much as I did.

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      Nice to meet you, Chris! I enjoyed reading your interview. And, I love your photographs. I especially like the last one. It reminds me of some of the sights we have here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I understand why you find the landscape so inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Deb, I appreciated the opportunity to share more about myself as I wrote for this challenge. And thank you for taking time to read these words.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It was so nice to read this. Thanks for letting us get to know you better.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Elsie, thanks for reading. I look forward to reading your interview as well.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      mothersofnations, thank you for the encouragement. We all have a responsibility at some point to get up and get on with life, no matter how bad it gets. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Enjoyed your interview. Great life farming and living with animals, I have lived on a farm all my life and still helping my husband with a beef farm.

      You help me with this interview as I'm going to do it but didn't know where to start as I'm not a movie, TV addict, I spend my spare time on my computer writing. So I will take a different angle with it and include the questions at the end with a short answer like you have.

      All the best for your new life with your new found friend. Happy Days.

    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 2 years ago

      Cam8510, I definitely enjoyed reading your self-interview. You shared a very personal side of yourself with (im)perfect strangers and I admire your courage. You have overcome difficult trials - know that the Lord has always been there with you. People are fallible but the Lord will never forsake you. God bless you*

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      HarishPrasad, I'm glad you enjoyed my interview. This was a fun and unique challenge.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Cat, thanks for stopping by and reading this interview. I appreciate your comments.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Marie, I enjoyed your comments about farm life. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Thanks for reading and commenting on my interview.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I do feel blessed in my life. In all of the ups and downs, I believe higher purposes have been served than simply my personal happiness. To be a part of that bigger picture is a blessing.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      Chris, this is a very passionate interview and you wrote everything so beautifully. How you tackled the crises and moved on with your life is very inspiring. A great response to Jennifer's challenge and fantastic writing. Voted up and shared.

    • profile image

      cat on a soapbox 2 years ago

      It's the sharing of life's experiences and the commonalities we find there that bring us all closer together. The image of the little girl at the mountaintop was especially moving, and I can understand how it has stayed with you throughout your life. I really enjoyed learning about you and appreciate your candor. All of the best in the journey ahead,

      Cat:)

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Chris, I certainly relate to growing up on a farm. We didn't have as many cows and, being a girl, I didn't have much to do with them. I did housework and gardening, though. In the summertime until we got the combine, I had to shock wheat or oats. Haying season meant driving the tractor and pushing nearly 50-lb hay bales into place.

      If I had known your wife, I would undoubtedly have been offering her raw chlorophyll drinks and relaxation therapy.

      There were some traces of alcholism in my family, too. My mother owned and operated a beer tavern with her sister. Once I remember my dad being gone for three days. He had been drinking and had darn near killed himself by rolling over the old GMC truck when he fell asleep at the wheel. I drank from age 21-24, but never to the point of being sick. I don't touch the stuff today, as I appreciate my brain and liver too much.

      So, we have some things in common. I enjoyed reading your self-interview.

      P.S. Novel writing is a scary idea to me, too.

      Voted Beautiful.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      This is a wonderfully insightful interview into the life of ...You! I truly enjoyed reading about you, your lovely wife and family, your joys, and your trials and all of your interesting life. I am sorry for your great loss of your precious wife.

      What a beautiful place to grow up. All of your photos are stunningly beautiful and I can see how much nature inspires you. You have been blessed in your many travels and enjoying the outdoors as much as you do.

      This is really a heartfelt write here, and I am blessed to get to know you better through this self interview.

      Excellent!

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jennifer, I'm glad you enjoyed reading this little glimpse into my life. Your words regarding my writing are encouraging. Thanks for coming up with this challenge. It has given a few of us an opportunity to express ourselves in a very unique way.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jo, thank you so much for stopping by and reading my attempt at interviewing myself. Your very kind words are encouraging.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      You have lived an extraordinary life and I feel very privileged to have read your interview. I love how you talked about both your triumphs and failures, the mess and the beauty. This life can be very hard, but you must have pretty thick skin to get through it in one piece.

      Your sons are lucky to have had the childhood you provided them. Not every child has the blessing of growing up in a home where they fell loved and protected. I would have given the world for that.

      You have a very unique style of writing that I adore. You put so much experience into your writing. You've got this lone wolf, run off into the woods and write a story kind of style that I find very intriguing. You write well because I believe that you introspect well. You remind me of the Romantic Period writers who would go for long walks in the countryside and write about the simplicity of life in the reflection of nature.

      Your life would make an excellent memoir. Good luck with the novel!

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      wow! So very cool to read your forth coming, amazing beautiful life!

      You remind me of George Baily in "It's a Wonderful Life"! My apologies for the death of your wife and the mother of your sons. They say time heals. But sometimes we wish that time could stand still and just stay in the moments when we are the happiest.

      Wishing you nothing but good health, joy! and strength to take one day at a time! You have much courage and strength dear person. It is clear reading this. Thank you for sharing. Really enjoyed reading..shared and voted up!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      John, You did have a part in encouraging me to write this interview, and I thank you for that. The relationships we have here on HP are good and helpful, but often based on a minute amount of information about the other person. I hope this hub helps people understand me and my writings a little more. Thanks for all of your encouragement here, John. I do appreciate it.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Frank, Thanks for your thoughts about my interview with me. It was an interesting exercise. I'm going to start reading some of the other interviews this evening. Looking forward to it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I am so glad you decided to do this challenge Chris and I like to think I played some part in encouraging you to do so. This was a wonderful interview and insight into Chris Mills. No one would read this without being touched and feeling closer to you. Well done my friend. Good to know you. Voted up.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      interesting interiew.. ive read a few of these and find so many different faces behind the stories and hubs they write.. your interview was indeed fascinating and interesting :)

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thank you Mary, I appreciate your support and getting to know you here in the hubs. This was a very challenging challenge. I'm glad I came back to it.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, glad to let my friends on HP inside. Nothing to hide anymore. Thanks for being here.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, the honesty and boldness both come from AA. That is exactly how the program works. Once I saw those things work with addiction, it was easy to let them be a part of the rest of my life. I'm glad they can still be recognized by others. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great interview Cam! Honest and bold, I like that about you. Joy and happiness, my wish for you and yours...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, I appreciate those words very much. I have only read one of the other interviews, and I hope to get to the others yet today. I look forward to reading what you have to say for yourself... :) We gather quite a bit of information from hubs, but something like this just lays it all out there. I like it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A wonderful read. This really let the reader inside. I think that was the goal of this challenge and you nailed it. You made things familiar. Great to get to know you better.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Like Bill, I already liked you and loved your writing. Now, I like you even more. Despite the problems you fell into it sounds like you are a wonderful man as you saw your way out. You have been brutally honest and given so much of yourself in this interview.

      Your photos are gorgeous and I could see them inspiring anyone at any time. Wising the very best to you and Michelle.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating my friend. We have much in common, the good and the not-so-good. :) Thank you for being so honest and open with us all. I like you more now, and I already liked you quite a bit. :)