A friend of mine did a list of fifty things about herself (in a locked entry, hence no link), and I was inspired to do the same. I'll do 52, one for each week of the year, because that's as nice an arbitrary number as any. Here goes.
I'm color blind. (Well, color-deficient, just red-green, not monochromatic.) Which prevents me from being a graphic designer or a pilot, thus limiting my career options. Though I console myself with the fact that I might, maybe, be better than color-sighted people when it comes to spotting enemies hidden in color camouflage. Which I'm sure will come in handy someday.
I nearly sliced the tip of my left middle finger off when I was a kid while cutting the end off a carrot. You can still see the scar and feel the lump of scar tissue underneath.
I have an aversion to stickers. I wouldn't call it a phobia -- I'm not scared of them -- but seeing stickers (either decorative or, like, price tags) on a book, or something I've purchased, or a piece of fruit, drives me nuts until I peel it off. Stickers on human skin is even worse. I used to have a similar aversion to ink on human skin, from writing phone numbers on your palm to tattoos, but I got over that. (Probably around the time I dated a woman with a tattoo, I would imagine.)
I've never broken a bone. (My own or anyone else's.)
I still have my tonsils, appendix, wisdom teeth, and other original equipment.
I've only had two cavities in my adult life (I may have had some in my baby teeth, I don't know). I'm told I have two more cavities now, that I need to have filled. This isn't because of my sterling dental care (I'm trying to be better about flossing now). I just have good decay-resistant enamel. Pure luck of genetics.
I was blonde for the first few years of my life (I have brown hair now).
I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19.
Over winter break in my freshman year in college, I went on a road trip with my best friend, driving all around the southeast. It was one of the formative experiences of my life.
My favorite sandwich is the Cadillac chicken sandwich at the Exchange Tavern in Savannah, Georgia.
I once drove 12 hours to get one of those sandwiches. I didn't go alone, either.
At some point I began to hate driving, and now only drive when it can't be avoided.
In college I did a monologue about detachment as part of a performance art program, reciting from memory under a tight spotlight as I rotated on a wooden platform while being wound up in a white shroud by other participants rendered invisible by their black clothes. One of those participants was my high school sweetheart. We weren't together anymore by that time. I had that whole monologue committed to memory for years, though.
I'm very fond of late afternoon summer light. I wrote a whole novel because of how much I love that kind of light.
I used to be famous for my lasagna, but I haven't made it in years, because Heather doesn't eat beef or sausage and can't stomach large quantities of cheese. I'd rather be famous for my chili anyway.
I wrote a poetry chapbook that doesn't appear on my bibliography, called The Last Barefoot Midnight of the Season. I did the layout in Word and produced just a few copies on a photocopier at my job in college. I don't have a copy anymore, not even the source files, and I don't know anyone who does.
In junior high school typing class I self-published a humor newsletter called The Universal Instigator, a parody of tabloids. I was a big fan of The Weekly World News back then. The one-sheet publication was quite popular among seven or eight of my friends.
I did a similar parody of television called Night Vision, inspired by Saturday Night Live commercial parodies and that Weird Al movie UHF.
I used to have a great reputation among my friends for being funny. Like, that was the adjective they used to describe me to new people we met. That's not true anymore. I thought I'd just stopped being funny, but a few years ago one of my old friends told me, "Well, back in the day you never talked much, and when you did say something, it was funny, so people remarked on it. Now you talk a lot more, and you probably say just as many funny things, but it's such a lower percentage of your total output, you just don't seem as funny." That made me feel better. I still don't write straight humor anymore though.
In elementary school and junior high I was very unpopular, relentlessly teased, often shoved around and occasionally beaten up. By the time I was a senior in college I was rather more popular, and was voted Most Talented by my senior class. I'm still not sure what, exactly, caused the change.
I used to play bass guitar (not very well) and flute (downright badly).
I've done shrooms (many times), LSD in various forms (several times), and mescaline (once, which was more than enough).
I've never smoked a cigarette (or anything else, for that matter).
I co-taught a poetry workshop in college. The other instructor was in charge of teaching methods for finding inspiration, idea-generating exercises, learning to see the world like a poet, etc. I was in charge of teaching formal elements of composition, including various poetry forms and techniques like consonance, assonance, anaphora, enjambment, internal rhyme, etc. etc. etc. I used to know those forms cold. Now I can't remember the structure of a villanelle or the difference between English and Italian sonnets without looking it up.
One of my favorite poetry forms was the Crapsey cinquain. I'm a lightweight.
I did my senior honors thesis in poetry, producing a poetry book called Other Altars of the Heart, which exists in only a single bound edition in the library of Appalachian State University. Unless they threw it out to make room for books people actually check out, that is.
When I was a kid I lived in a trailer park called Twin Oaks and spent a lot of time hanging out by the creek in the backyard. I used that as the setting for my story "Werewolves and Princesses," which would be an awesome heartbreaker of a story if I'd waited a few years to write it. I wasn't skilled enough to pull it off when I did write it.
For the past, oh, ten years I've been writing -- very intermittently -- a book called Yet Another Way of Looking at a Blackbird. It's a metafictional literary novel. It's about 36 pages long so far. I don't expect to ever finish it, but I'm oddly comforted to know it's there.
I used to make bows and arrows out of creek reeds and fishing line.
Me and two of my friends used to play a lot of basketball out at a hoop on a street when I was in high school. Those were some of the best afternoons I have. Friend 1 is still one of my best friends. Friend 2 never quite forgave me for dating his ex-girlfriend. Can't say I blame him. I know how it is.
In my sophomore year in college I moved out of my dorm into the spare room in my buddy D.'s apartment because I thought my roommate was insane. He used to call our room and leave messages saying "Moo" on the machine. He never went outside or opened the blinds. When he'd go to the bathroom, I'd open the blinds to let sunlight in. When I left the room, he'd close them again. Very passive aggressive on both our parts. I tried to include him in my circle of friends, thinking he was just shy, but he was incredibly weird and incapable of even our broad standard of "normal" social interaction, and my friends all quickly tried to avoid him. He followed various friends of mine around at a distance of several yards for a long time after that. Sometimes he'd lurk outside their doors for hours at a time. I was a bit concerned that he'd kill me in my sleep one night. I read some of his fiction once though, and it wasn't bad. If I remembered his last name I'd google him.
I used to follow college basketball rather avidly, but I don't anymore. I stopped when I left North Carolina, where it's easy to follow college basketball avidly.
When I was very young, I used to think I could make the wind blow just by thinking about it.
I learned to shoot pool on a table in a big garage/workshop my dad had, but the place burned down when I was pretty young, and the table was lost. I've often thought I'd be a really great pool player if it hadn't burned down. That I would have had friends over to play pool in high school. That my whole high school social life would have had a different nexus. This conforms to my ongoing interest in the notion of alternate realities.
I used to get crushes on girls a lot. In high school, in college, I'd see 'em around a couple of times and become enamored. I wonder if that stopped happening because I became more mature, or because I don't encounter as many beautiful strangers as one tends to do in college? I do still get crushes on people I see at SF conventions, though they tend to fade after a few months or years.
I wanted to be a cryptozoologist when I was a kid. Also a chef.
One of my chores when I lived at home was vacuuming, a task I hated with a fiery, ferocious hate. In college, I had a deal with D. that he would vacuum and I would wash dishes. (He had a similar hatred for washing dishes.) Now I live in a place with hardwood floors and I'm so happy about it. I hope to never vacuum again.
One summer I helped make a bass guitar by hand. It didn't turn out so well, but it was a cool experience.
I used to hang out in the woods not far from my house. The woods were mythic back then. There was a beautiful clearing in the middle -- we called it the Ballroom. On one side of the clearing there were creeks, lush trees, vines, sunlight filtered through green leaves, etc., a beautiful playground. We called it Heaven. On the other side, there was dense canopy, it was dark, and there were wicked thorny vines everywhere. We called it Hell.
There were wild pigs in those woods, the descendants of escapees from a pig farm.
There was a crazy old lady's house nestled by the woods (she used to come menace the schoolbus with a shotgun when it turned around in her driveway), and she later died, and the house burned down.
I went inside her house once, not long after she was dead, long before it burned down. Seeing the inside of her house was my first experience with seeing dementia manifested in someone's environment.
The first live band I ever saw was called, hmm, Take Ten, I think. They played my junior high school gymnasium. They sucked, as far as I recall.
The next band I saw live was The Moody Blues.
During high school I was, at various times, supposed to see shows by REM, Metallica, Guns 'n' Roses, The Spin Doctors, Soul Asylum, and Screaming Trees. Every single time something came up and I wasn't able to go. I've still never seen any of those bands live.
The only musical acts I've seen live more than once are Juliana Hatfield (in various incarnations) and The Old '97s. Plus bands from college like Agent Ink, 3-five-7, etc. Seeing Ween live was interesting, but once was enough.
I moved to Santa Cruz, CA essentially on a whim. I wanted a change, and my best friend was in grad school out there, and I knew I could stay with him. If he'd gone to Cornell for grad school instead, I would've ended up in Ithaca NY, probably.
I worked as an advertising copywriter for six months right after college. One of my bosses was a guy who helped create the Happy Meal.
I'm a basically sentimental guy. In my bookbag, right now, I have a small wooden boat my best friend gave me after a trip he took to Europe, and a rubber ball another friend gave me at Clarion. I have lots more little mementos like that, at home on a shelf, but I mean, you never know when you'll need a rubber ball or a small wooden boat.
- I can only twitch my nose to the left, not the right
- I used to have only one dimple, in my right cheek. But now I'm pudgy enough to have dimples in both cheeks.
Pears are my favorite fruit.