For the Great Interview Experiment, I’m very pleased to be share my interview with Michèle of Voix de Michèle. I am really glad that I got to meet Michèle, as she is a fantastic blogger: smart, interesting, and funny as hell! I really enjoyed poking around in her archives, and devising some devious questions to torment her.
I also had get over the urge to do an interview Chris Farley style. (Hey, remember when you started a blog? That was so cool.))
Anyhow, here are my questions and her answers:
1. You are involved in Improv. That is so cool! (Oh, right. That’s not a question.) So, how did you get involved in Improv? Has it affected aspects of your work as a teacher? Your writing? Your life? (Great, now that’s 4 questions.)
Oh, Alejna, you totally get me already. I love questions with layers. They’re like cake except they don’t make you fat. I got involved with Improv this past August after going to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. After watching a bunch of really amazing one-person performances, laughing a lot, and reading some great reviews, all I could think was: Why am I not doing that? So I signed up for a class. And I loved it so much, I haven’t stopped. Improv has pushed me to consider creative writing projects never previously imagined and has shaken up my brain in lots of other as-yet-to be determined ways. I write about these ripples a lot, but to summarize: Everything is changing. And I love clapping. (But that isn’t new information.)
2. You have been blogging a really long time–it looks like it will be 5 whole years in just about a week. What prompted you to start a blog? How has your blog evolved over the years?
I started blogging over Thanksgiving weekend five years ago because I was really lonely. It was the first year I didn’t have anyone to cook for in a long time and I didn’t want to drive to Chicago for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was new in my MFA – Creative Writing program and one of my profs had a blog, so I set one up and started talking about myself. I kept it up because I really liked the attention. Over the past five years, I’ve become less of a confessional/emotional catharsis writer and more a creative process/big picture vs. Michele writer. I think my blog is a little less interesting than it used to be and I don’t post as often, but I’m also not a needy insecure girl anymore, either. But I still really love talking about myself. I think I’m fascinating.
3. Are there topics that are taboo for your blog? Are there topics you consider too boring for your blog?
Since I have my full name on my blog and I’ve been blogging for so long, the Google Bots have made me very easy to find. Type Michele Campbell – I show up first. So my resourceful and curious high school students check out the blog sometimes, which means I can’t write about sex. My dad reads my blog, so I don’t swear much. Many of my friends on Facebook (and I’m friends with just about everyone I know) read my blog, so I don’t write about current relationships – especially if someone is annoying me or I feel bad about an interaction. In addition, I try to avoid complaining about stuff that I know my friends will call me on. Example: say I can’t figure out how to change the stupid f-ing light bulbs in my office. Say they scare me, because they’re flush mounted and you need to have knowing man hands to take them apart and figure out what kind of bulbs go into the fixture and not leave scary burn the house down wires hanging from the ceiling for too long. Say that I forgot to get married and don’t have a man around to do things like change scary light bulbs without burning the house down. If I write a blog post about how much I hate these stupid light fixtures and don’t know how to change the bulbs and I’m suffering in darkness, woe is me, I get 5 guy friends emailing me saying – MICHELE, you’re supposed to ASK FOR HELP, not COMPLAIN ON THE INTERNET. (Actually, they’re nice guys, and they probably wouldn’t even yell. But then they’d make me give them beer for reminding me that they’re awesome and I can ask for help even when I’m embarrassed for not knowing how to do house things. So I don’t write about that kind of stuff until it’s a really good example of how I have learned how to get over myself and not put all my problems on the Internet.
4. You wrote a couple of great posts on blogging (how to blog and blog etiquette) back in 2005. Now that several years have passed, would you change any of this advice? Would you add stuff?
I think those lists are pretty good, actually. Blogging has changed and I don’t write every day anymore. Otherwise, to that advice, I would add this: Only write and post what you wouldn’t mind seeing on every single computer in your school library (or other work place.) A great example: I had a super cute photo of myself at a birthday celebration – wearing a tiara, a pink boa, and doing a very large chocolate cake shot. Loved it. Posted it on my blog. Went to school. A student saw over my shoulder when I was checking my blog at my desk and said, “Madame is that you???” I said, “No, of course not.” Then I went in and deleted the photo as fast as I could before he could copy it and send it to all of his friends, show my boss that there are pictures of me drinking on the Internet, and get me homeless.
5. If you were a dessert topping, what sort of blog would you write? And wouldn’t you have trouble typing? I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t be writing these questions late at night. I get a little goofy. How about this question instead: if you were a fairy godmother, what gift would you bestow on your godchild? (Or do you prefer the dessert topping question?)
I like them both. If I were a dessert topping, I would be Nutella. I would write about how much I love to spread myself over the spongy and crunchy goodness of baguettes, how I make a fantastic sandwich with peanut butter and bananas, how I can be devoured on crêpes, and how I am awesome melted over ice cream.
If I were a fairy godmother, I would give all of my godchildren flexible spending cards so they could get all the psychotherapy they needed to become self-sufficient, productive, and motivated members of the community. Which is not to say that my godchildren need therapy. But you never know, you know? I’m just sayin.
6. If you were going to put together a movie about you, what would some of the songs on the soundtrack be? (Aside from Punk Rock Girl, of course. That is a most excellent song, by the way.)
Here’s what I’ve been singing in the car:
World Spins Madly On – The Weepies
As Is – Ani DiFranco
Only Makes Me Laugh – Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo
Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
Girlfriend in a Coma – The Smiths
Dairy Queen – Indigo Girls
Angry Anymore – Ani DiFranco
Sénégal Fast Food – Amadou et Miriam
Je t’aimais, je t’aime, et je t’aimerai – Francis Cabrel
( I could keep going, but you get the general idea)
7. I see that you are a fan of the Bulwer-Lytton contest for really really bad opening lines. Have you written any such bad lines yourself? Could you write one for us here?
Oh dear heavens, no. I’m not any good at those. That is why I post them!
Thanks for your very entertaining answers, Michele!
Be sure to check out some of the other interviews from the Great Interview Experiment, as well. Michele herself has one up. And Neil (of Citizen of the Month) will be posting links to participants each week. (I see he has a new list up already.)