I stumbled onto the Great Interview Experiment from Andrea over at Fretting the Small Stuff. Neil at Citizen of the Month has the crazy idea that everyone is a celebrity and deserves to be interviewed. (I’m paraphrasing.) Although I did add myself to the list, I also jumped in to help an abandoned “inteviewee”.
Let me introduce you to Linsey at Uncouth Heathen. Linsey is very, very funny, and I am glad to have discovered her blog. Please read her, and send her love (it is Valentine’s Day, after all). Here is the interview:
RPM: I notice that your blog is less than a year old. Why did you decide to start Uncouth Heathen? What do you want your blog to be or to mean?
UH: I used to write a column for a site called Backwash titled “Common Sense for the Masses”. I wrote about some of the same things I do on my site now (and some older posts at UH grew from my writing over there) as well as some more social issues. Over time, the site went into disrepair and a lot of the people there moved on or put a lot less energy into writing for a dying site. I’d long thought about having a site of my own, and a good friend of mine suggested it several times, so after having a few talks with her, I decided to give it a try. I’d had some little sites dating back to the late 90s (using Geocities) where I learned some basic HTML and design and eventually started a blog using Blogger that didn’t last long. When I learned about WordPress from my friend and how easy it would be to get something up and running, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to get back to doing something I love: writing.
RPM: Your writing seems very naturally funny – you don’t seem to be reaching for the laugh. Is it as easy as you make it look? To what do you attribute your skill?
UH: I should probably attribute it to a lot of years trying to make my family and friends laugh. It’s my best defense mechanism and it’s the only way I feel like I can control a situation. I figure that if I can make people laugh, they’ll be nice to me, nice to one another. Also, if I can find humor in a bad situation, then it just makes it easier to get through. Some days it’s easier to write than others — but I have found that the entries I find the funniest are the ones I didn’t really think too much about, it just came out.
RPM: Do you consider yourself part of the blogging community? If you were stranded on a desert island (does it have to be a desert island?), what five blogs are you taking with you? Why?
UH: I don’t know that I consider myself part of the blogging community yet. I don’t know if that’s because I’m insecure about fitting in, or if there is some bar I’ve set for myself before I can say, yeah, okay, I’m a blogger. Or maybe it’s not that important to me, to be a part of that infamous blogging clique, which is a total lie because I need to fit in so desperately. PLEASE LET ME IN!
I’d take Dooce with me to a desert island. I think she’s incredibly funny and endearing and honest. People write a lot of shit about her making money from her site or always writing about her daughter and her dog, etc. She takes a lot of crap but she is who she is, she writes what is true to her and isn’t that what a blogger does?
I’d also take Bake and Shake because she’s hilarious and she can bake like a motherfucker. I bet I could get a recipe from her for desert island snack-treats using coconut, tree bark and sand and it would taste like a million bucks.
Itty Bitty Kitty Committee is another I’d have to take along with me. They get litters of tiny kittens and raise them until they can be adopted out. If you don’t love those cats, you’re dead inside.
I can’t help but read Pink Is The New Blog. Just saying that makes me feel dirty, because at the same time I hate what celebrity has become. I just can’t seem to tear myself away from the headlines, though. I’m pulling so hard for Britney Spears.
Last is probably going to be Finslippy. She has what I think is the best sense of humor on the Internet with the least amount of hubris.
I’d add Janie’s blog in there to keep up on her life while I’m stranded without her, but she doesn’t update and I can’t spend my solitude with nothing to read.
RPM: Your blog is pretty open. Is there any subject or person totally off limits?
UH: I don’t really write about my family, other than Janie. Not because I don’t want to or have some shit to say. DO I EVER. Really, though, we share a last name that is not at all common. They’re all professionals and it would be awful to have their coworkers, bosses or potential employers question them about what I’m posting on my blog about them. Also, I wouldn’t want to hurt any of them by posting our personal issues on a blog where they don’t have any way to set the record straight or share their side of the story. Maybe I put up little things here or there, but nothing of consequence, nothing that could damage their reputations as upstanding citizens, except maybe that part about my brother calling me a dumb cunt, but that was a restrained accounting of a very large, looming personal conflict. Other than that, I probably wouldn’t write about my job or intimate issues. My job because I’d like to keep it and because I don’t want my views or life to reflect upon the people I work with and the good work we do for the community. Intimacy because I was just brought up with a certain sense of what is and is not okay to discuss. I don’t want to hear about the sex lives of my
friends or family and I certainly don’t want them to read about mine. By intimacy, I also mean things outside of the bedroom — issues that are really emotional or difficult that maybe Janie and I work through as a couple or individuals. Something that’s going to make her cry or make her feel bad or embarrassed if I put it online would be off limits.
RPM: How close to the “real” you is the “blogger” you?
UH: I think it’s very close, in that it’s a snapshot of who I am. I think it’s missing a lot of things about me as a person, it doesn’t necessarily reflect all of my values and beliefs, but it never could. I think that’s where readers often get caught up, assuming that a blog is the person when it’s likely that it’s only a piece of that person. For example, no one would ever guess from my blog that Janie is not permanently attached to my right side.
RPM: How would someone meeting you for the first time describe you (in 15 words or less)?
UH: Quiet, maybe a little shy, thoughtful and incredibly self-conscious. Maybe an asshole, but probably not.
RPM: Janie sounds like a pistol! What first attracted you about her?
UH: What first attracted me was that she is absolutely gorgeous. After years of only seeing one another off and on at parties and a very drunken one night stand several years before we started dating, I got to spend a time with her after helping friends move and we stayed up all night talking. I discovered that, in addition to being beautiful, she is kind, intelligent, incredibly funny, sassy and totally weird. Also, it is impossible to make her cry — she’s as dry as a rock, and believe me, I’ve tried.
RPM: What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?
UH: My greatest strength is probably my ability to see beyond a situation or a moment and realize there is good somewhere out there. My greatest weakness is donuts, hands down.
RPM: When you and Janie decide to become mothers, have you chosen one of you to be pregnant, or will you adopt? (I loved the post on the people who asked if you would “do it naturally”. HA!)
UH: We talk a lot about this, but in reality it will likely be Janie that would be the birth mother because my ovaries are rotting off as we speak. I definitely have the desire to carry a baby, but it’s a matter of biology and the fact that my body doesn’t seem to care much about what I want. We’ve broached the subject of adoption, but in the end we really wanted to try having one. I suggested we implant one of my eggs and that way the baby would be part of us each in some way, but in vitro is incredibly expensive and I just spent all our fertility money at Target.
RPM: I love that one of your cats is named Ducati. What are the other names? Any desire to own a real Ducati?
UH: We have three cats of which Ducati is the oldest and the least likely to pee on your things or steal your stuffed yarn animals. He was the cat that I brought into the relationship. An old roommate and I got him from the animal shelter when he was about 6 months old. The roommate originally insisted we name him Smeat to which I replied that if he were going to call him Smeat then I was going to call him Mary. This went on for a few weeks, until we settled on Ducati because my roommate wanted one very badly. Later we got another cat that we named Harley. There was talk of getting a third cat to name Vespa, but we had a falling out before that happened and we moved apart. I took Ducati because he’s the best God damn cat ever. The others were Janie’s cats — they are sisters named Carson and Harlow, and they hate Ducati with a passion. We’ve lived together for nearly five years now and not a day goes by without some ugly hissing/scratching/chasing ordeal. It’s a nightmare. I wouldn’t mind owning a Ducati, but it’s probably best that I didn’t. Maybe I’ll settle for a Vespa, but not another cat.
RPM: Do you have any tattoos? Where are they and what are they? (For the record, I have one, on my left arm, of the four elements: earth, air, water and fire.) (Also for the record, I am asking this out of pure curiosity, not out of a preconceived notion that you will have a tattoo or two.)
UH: I do have some tattoos, including a very gay one that I regret absolutely. The first was a sunflower on the back of my left shoulder and it remains my favorite. Then I got a moon with “Tep” (nickname) written underneath it on my upper right arm. After that, I got a blue star on the outside of each ankle. The last was the totally gay one on my lower back that I’m hoping to one day hide with something else.
RPM: What is your favorite thing about Seattle? Do tourists drive you batty, or can you peacefully co-exist with them? (If I did not live in Pittsburgh — er, outside of Pittsburgh, rather – I would live in Seattle.)
UH: Janie and I were just talking about how great it is to leave Seattle for an extended period of time and come back, because it’s really only then that it can truly be appreciated. Last summer I did the Breast Cancer 3-Day and my friend and I did miles upon miles of training walks. We walked all over this city and I grew to love it in a new way — it’s really a beautiful place to be.
Tourists don’t bother me at all. I just don’t get them — I don’t understand why Seattle is a place they’d want to vacation. I think of all the other places they could be instead — California! New York! Hawaii! I’d be happy to help tourists find their way to the Space Needle, but I’m gonna need to know why they think that’s going to be fun, first.
RPM: Who is your next open letter to?
UH: It is going to be to the assistant at my allergist’s office.
RPM: What the most recent book you finished?
UH: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. We also saw the movie — both are excellent and come with my highest recommendation. I know that doesn’t mean anything to anybody, but I’m saying it anyway.
RPM: What is the most recent music you’ve purchased? CD or download?
UH: I bought the song “Escape” by Enrique Iglesias over the weekend via iTunes. Before that I got Paula Abdul’s Greatest Hits on CD. I feel nothing but shame after telling you that.
[RPM edit: We all have musical weaknesses. Don’t sweat it. I’ll reveal mine in my interview.]
RPM: Is there anything you want someone reading this interview to know about you that hasn’t been covered here or at your blog?
UH: Despite what my brother might tell you, I did not call him an asshole.
Go on over to Citizen of the Month and you too can play along. The next person who signs up gets to inteview me (I guess).
If no one signs up, I’m interviewing myself, based on the questions I asked Linsey.
You’ve been warned.