In the following posts, along with my answers, are four or five interview questions a piece requested from kwakhed, sola, kelowna and sommeil, who in turn have previously answered five questions posed by someone else who in turn had previously answered five questions posed by someone else, and — you get the idea.
Having read my answers to these questions, you may in turn request interview questions of me, the answers to which you will post in your own journals, where your readers may then request interview questions of you, and so on, ad infinitum (or ad nauseum, whichever comes first).
To begin; sola's five:
1: Do you have any one trigger, squick or peeve that will make you put down a book in the middle and refuse to read it?
I assume you're looking for something beyond the obvious pet peeves of poor writing or lackluster storytelling, here...
The only really unforgivable breach of my sensibilities is the eroticization of child molestation/rape -- one of the reasons I finally had to stop reading Piers Anthony, years ago. Just about anything else, I can deal with, provided it's well-written and serves a narative purpose -- the way, for instance, that most of Anne Rice's sex scenes don't.
2: Do you feel that your experiences with education (at least as an adult) will have an overall positive effect on your life? Have they affected you as a person, and if so, for the worse or the better?
You know, that's actually a more significant question than you may realize, given my history with — and more especially without — the institutionialized educational system. I think my years of self-directed education as a child and teenager have, unsurpisingly, had a pretty profound impact on the person that I've come to be as an adult. I'm not certain that I would have been a fundamentally different person if I'd been subjected to a more traditional education — I was born stubborn, and I'll die stubborn, and I can't imagine any force capable of entirely overwhelming or subverting my stubbornness and independent-mindedness — but think I would have broken myself against the walls of institutional education long before I finished puberty. As frustrated and embittered as I may seem to you now, I can only shudder to think what I might have been like after twelve years of the kind of mental and spiritual subjugation that most children take for granted. (This may mean that I am in fact the Least Bitter of All Possible J's. It's a frightening thought, isn't it?)
I'm going to withhold judgement on the long-term effects of my university education, for the time being — at least until I've actually completed it, and the way things are going I'm afraid that may not happen for quite a while. In the interim, I will say that I can think of few places I've been happier or more at home than in academia — as frustrating and stressful as it could be, and often was.
3: You are a naturally reticent and private person. Do you feel that this has ever played, or been played, against you?
Heh. I don't think I'm very reticent at all, though I do strive for a relatively high signal to noise ratio in my communications. In truth I'm capable of being quite outgoing and gregarious when I feel like it, which admittedly isn't all that often, or when I'm drunk, which is, and I'm notoriously outspoken when it comes to subjects about which I feel passionately. Ask anyone who spends significant time with me on a regular basis; if anything, most of them will complain of the impossibility of shutting me up once I set my teeth into a topic of debate.
I admit that this hasn't always been true of me; at least not in the context of social interactions (as opposed to interpersonal interactions): looking back at my teenaged years, I think my unwillingness to speak unless I had something I considered worthwhile to contribute often came to result in less perceptive people assuming I was either painfully shy or unapproachably aloof, neither of which were the case. Kinder souls sometimes attempted to "draw me out", often in ways which made me wish I, or preferrably they, were dead. Most people just didn't bother. I'm not sure which was worse.
4: Tell me a story about a scar on your body. It doesn't have to be true.
I have a scar on the crown of my head; souvenir of a scalp wound incurred in an altercation over possession of a Big Wheel tricycle. I was five or six at the time. The tricycle's owner insisted that I relinquish possession of the vehicle so that he could enjoy its use; when I failed to comply quickly enough for his satisfaction, he assaulted me with a croquet mallet lying nearby. The resulting three-inch wound required no less than ten stitches for closure; I remained conscious throughout the entire ordeal. I still can't watch a game of croquet without wincing.
5: What incident in your childhood (say, before the age of twelve) most affected your outlook on people?
...Probably being hit over the head with a croquet mallet.