A Self Interview by cam8510
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
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
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.
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 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. For nearly ten years, she fought with all her strength. 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. I did the quite unoriginal thing by returning to drinking for a year. That set me behind in my recovery from losing Sandy. I’m still working on what life is supposed to look like without her even as I am stepping out into my future. But I’m making progress. I have been seeing a woman named Michelle, and things are going very well in that regard. We are step by step making plans for the future, and it is exciting to see it unfold.
What have been the greatest accomplishments in your life so far?
The first is my sons. 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. That 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.
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?
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 two flash fiction stories published by Flash Fiction World in volume four of their anthologies.
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 is also deceased. My mother is in excellent health at age 82 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.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Here, let me carry that for you."
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 a place in Montana called Jewel Basin. It’s not far from Glacier National Park. This place is unbelievable. On the morning following a rainstorm, this is what I saw as I reached an overlook from the trail. This is not a great photo from a technical standpoint. It's the view that makes it special.
Jewel Basin, Montana
Challenging Questions (Provided by Jennifer Arnett)
In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?
Why these? I don’t know but it was fun picking them out.
What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?
- 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 and spent all of his time outside collecting material for his books.
What inspires you?
To write? The mountains and canyons of western Montana, like nothing else ever has. Other than that, nature anyplace really. Paddling my kayak. Backpacking. Prompts work well for me. Song lyrics.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
When I was in seventh grade I believe. I wrote a story for a class, I don’t even know what class it was. I wrote about the Evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. I wrote it as a radio broadcast and told the story of how English, civilian boats went to the coast of France off Dunkirk and rescued the stranded British soldiers before Hitler’s forces could massacre them. The teacher liked the story.
What Inspires Me? This.....
It's been fun putting this together. Thank you Jennifer for the challenge. I have only read one of the other interviews and look forward to reading the rest now. Thanks for taking the time to read mine.