if you’d grown up in a different environment, do you think you’d have turned out the same? NOT EVEN REMOTELY. like, both my parents are so influential on who i turned out to be, and my constant moving making it impossible for me to find home. the books my parents chose to read to me, listening to this american life in the car when i was nine, being exposed to traditional folk music at a very young age, being raised by parents who just take it as normal that their calling is to save the world in whatever capacity is available to them, growing up poor and alienated because of it, being homeschooled, the last year in new york has changed me profoundly in ways i don’t quite understand how to articulate, or even trace. i’m so much a product of camping in west virginia and new england, of beer tastings with my dad, of seeing the underside of church ministry, of my mother reading aloud, of awareness of social justice, of growing up online, of watching weird history channel documentaries and true crime shows, of talking about ufos with my dad… i can’t imagine myself as me without the things that have shaped me.
list your fandoms and one character from each that you identify with THIS WILL PROBABLY NOT BE ALL OF MY FANDOMS BUT UH
- the x files - fox mulder, most and always and so deeply i can barely talk about it
- veronica mars - veronica mars
- orphan black - sarah manning
- jane eyre - jane-rochester-bertha
- little women - jo march
- parks and recreation - like, everyone, but i am an improbable exact cross of april and andy who also deeply relates to leslie often and ben somewhat often and occasionally ron
- vampire academy - my angry messed-up responsible darling rose hathaway
- farscape - loud absurd damaged and traumatised and viciously joy-hungry john crichton, but occasionally aeryn and her emotional confusion
- what fandoms am i even in / have been in and care deeply about, if there’s one i missed and you care to know who i feel i’m most like, feel free to ask me about it
pick one of your favorite quotes:
“We have a fascination for utter transcendent unlikelihoods that we are not likely to shake, so long as we are human.” –Joe Adamson
do you like your name? is there another name you think would fit you better? i’ve fluctuated on this a lot through the years. tbh i don’t know. i feel confused when people call me jo, when people call me jolene, when people call me something else altogether. (i also feel bright-spark emotional when someone calls me by either — by any — name, because intimacy. i don’t know.) for years i didn’t think my name fit me, but i don’t have another name that fits me better. where would i even find one? also i am deeply, deeply, throat-clenchingly touched when anyone i care about nicknames me personally.
what’s your patronus? oh heavens. probably a cat, as i identify with them so strongly and have had so many close relationships with cats over the years. i’ve had cats come and sit on my chest when they thought something was wrong with me (i was… doing chin-ups… but you know what, cat, you were right). i feel protected by cats, in a weird way.
if someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to? a wrinkle in time, the x-files, over the rhine (especially drunkard’s prayer and the long surrender), vienna teng (especially her last three albums), a taped doc watson concert probably and/or bootlegs of merlefest midnight jams, the version of “like a rolling stone” dylan performs live in the 70s at the end of scorcese’s documentary no direction home, the ballad tam-lin, veronica mars, fraction’s hawkeye, t.s. eliot, jane eyre, possibly the documentary about the toynsbee tiles, whatever random sensationalist ufo documentary or weird episode of history’s mysteries you happen to find. idk. i feel like i’m missing a lot of stuff. but my life and identity tend to be so much in flux that i constantly need to reaffirm my identity to myself through media. or i cling to it when desperate.
what musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime? going real far back: steeleye span, bob dylan, sixpence none the richer, eisley, patty griffin, over the rhine, vienna teng, linford detweiler, martha tilston & the woods, sarah slean, the mountain goats. probably some others.
five most influential books over your lifetime? a wrinkle in time, the lord of the rings, two-part invention, the vanishing hitchhiker, little women. maybe.
have you ever found a writer who thinks just like you? I’m not… sure? actually? Madeleine L’Engle, to some extent, but I don’t feel like we’re ~the same person~, I want her to be my adopted aunt and mentor. (I don’t cry often when my brain chemistry isn’t a disaster, but I wept for an hour when I heard the news that she’d died.) she’s not as angry and mean and sad about being angry and mean and destructive as I’ve become, but she made me want to love God on my own terms instead of out of frightened tentative duty for the first time. maybe Franny Billingsley, for writing Chime. maybe John Darnielle and Lindford Detweiler as songwriters. I don’t know.
three songs that you connect with right now:
- cry for judas, the mountain goats (sad and angry, can’t learn how to behave / still won’t know how in the darkness of the grave)
- amy aka spent gladiator #1, the mountain goats (do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive / do every stupid thing to try to drive the dark away)
- a better son/daughter, rilo kiley (but the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap)
just curious, what do you consider your parts of New York City?
places I either lived or spent a lot of time in — mostly the East Village, Alphabet City, Union Square, parts of Harlem and Chinatown. ST MARKS PLACE. I lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for a while but still spent most of my spare time around Union Square and the East Village. parts of LES too but I never got to know it that well — but I felt more comfortable even in the really trendy areas of LES (they’re still shabby and weird and feel mostly real!) than I did in Big Glossy Upper Manhattan, which sometimes gave me weird existential crisis feelings. once I got mad and… stole a rock. from someone’s yard. there were about 300 rocks in a pile. it was a great and meaningful display of angry working class rebellion. (though I like that no matter how glossy you get there will still always be stray graffiti and someone will have probably peed on the street.)