73 Questions


I've always appreciated the way that quizzes and questionnaires reveal a portrait of a person. I love finding out small details about people that make them unique, quirky, or offer points of comparison or connection. I saw these recently on Lindsey's blog and thought I'd follow suit. As Lindsey explains, these were originally used to interview Anna Wintour, so I altered them a bit to fit my life and locale.

1. How long have you been in the area?

I've lived in the Midwest for a decade now. I've lived in Ohio for almost 3 years and before that Central Illinois. I was born in Alabama and grew up along the Gulf Coast for most of my life.

2. What’s your favorite season in the Midwest? in the South?

I love Fall in the Midwest. I love how the leaves change and the first snaps of cold. In the South, I love January because it finally cools off to where you can breathe a bit and wear sweaters relatively comfortably.

3. What’s your favorite activity in the Midwest? in the South?

bonfires, roasting marshmallows for S'mores or sitting around a firepit. In the South, I love being near the water, swimming or dipping my toes in. I can't stay outside too long because I sunburn easily, but nothing beats a lazy day near the ocean. S'mores come close.

4. Would you ever go back to the South?

Maybe. I'm a nomad. I've been moving for most of my life, and it's hard for me to know where I might land.

5. What are three words to describe living in the Midwest? in the South?

Midwest: friendly, changeable, festivals

South: hot, nostalgic, family

6. What’s your favorite movie?

The Big Lebowski

7. Favorite movie in past five years?

Up or The Harry Potter films

8. Favorite Hitchcock film?

To Catch a Thief

9. Favorite TV show that’s currently on?

Well, it's latest season isn't back yet, but I love Hannibal. I also find Brooklyn Nine-Nine hysterical, though I don't watch it each week.

10. What’s a book you plan on reading?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

11. A book you read in school that positively shaped you?

Kate Chopin's The Awakening

12. A book you read in school that you never think of?

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper

13. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now?

Once I feel better and get rid of this sinus infection, it will move up, but about a 7.

14. iPhone or Android?


15. Twitter or Instagram?


16. Vine or Snapchat?


17. Who should EVERYONE be following right now?

@lenadunham, @swopes, @therealjimparsons, @emhenderson

18. What’s the coolest thing in this room?

my signed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird

19. What’s your favorite restaurant?

Girl & the Goat in Chicago is where we got engaged so it has particularly special memories and the food is amazing. When I visit my brother in Birmingham, it's a must to go to Saw's Juke Joint. It's one of my favorite places to eat.

20. What’s your favorite food?

chocolate malt shake, also I love Mexican food

21. Least favorite food?

anything really spicy, also I hate onions

22. What do you love on your pizza?

goat cheese and mushrooms

23. Favorite drink?

Hazelnut coffee

24. Favorite dessert?

something with ice cream, or the S'mores dessert at Destihl

25. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?


26. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?


27. What’s the hardest part about being a mom?

I don't have children but I expect it's the immense pressure to balance your needs with the need to be there for your children.

28. What’s your favorite band?

Foo Fighters

29. Favorite solo artist?

Elton John

30. Favorite lyrics?

I hope you don't mind, that I put down into words, how wonderful life is now you're in the world. Is there a better sentiment for a love song?

31. If your life were a song, what would the title be?

Chaos Incarnate

32. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

Elton John

33. If you could master one instrument, what would it be?


34. If you had a tattoo, where would it be?

If I were to get another tattoo, I want one on my inner wrist of my Aquarius sign.

35. To be or not to be?

To be

36. What’s Oprah like in person?

I imagine she is warm but intense. And probably laughs a lot.

37. What number of question was this?


38. Dogs or cats?

It depends. I don't have either. I prefer fish.

39. Kittens or puppies?


40. Dolphins or koalas?


41. Bird-watching or whale-watching?


42. What’s your spirit animal?

an owl

43. Best gift you’ve ever received?

anniversary trip to Puerto Rico

44. Last gift you gave a friend?

a bracelet

45. A person you want to have coffee with?

Robin Roberts from Good Morning America

46. A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

Eleanor Roosevelt

47. How do you like your coffee?

with foamed milk

48. Can I play a note on this piano?

I don't have a piano but you could play a record.

49. What’s your favorite curse word?


50. What’s your favorite board game?


51. What’s your favorite country to visit?

I loved England, but I haven't been to many places.

52. What’s the last country you visited?


53. What country do you wish to visit?


54. What sports team do you follow?

I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan, but I've been a Cardinals fan via my relationship with M. Also since moving to the Midwest, I've become an Indianapolis Colts and more recently a Bengals fan. I'm not incredibly loyal to my sports teams, I guess.

55. Can you write down your favorite word that starts and ends with the same vowel?


56. What’s your favorite color?


57. Least favorite color?

I'm not a huge fan of peach or pastel pink.

58. What color dress did you wear to your prom?

Forest Green

59. Diamonds or pearls?


60. Cheap shampoo or expensive?


61. Blow-dry or air-dry?

How much time do I have? I will blow-dry my hair if I have time, otherwise I will air dry.

62. Heels or flats?

Flats, and comfortable ones

63. Can you give an impersonation of someone?

No, I'm terrible at impressions.

64. Can you do the same impersonation with a British accent?


65. What are you most afraid of?

not being good enough

66. What else scares you?

I'm terrified of rodents, and bats. And really small spaces.

67. Pilates or yoga?


68. Jogging or swimming?


69. Best way to decompress?

Meditate, eat chocolate, and play my favorite record, Elton John's Goodbye Yellowbrick Road

70. If you had one superpower, what would it be?

time travel, for sure

71. Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

getting married, the ceremony was nerve wracking to me

72. What’s the weirdest word in the English language?

I don't know if it's the weirdest but I find the word pernicious, meaning harmful, annoys me because my students use it and I think they're trying to sound more intelligent but it often comes off just wrong.

 73. Last question: Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had? 

Definitely not

What about you? How would answer these? What kind of portrait do your answers paint?

reading meme

I'm becoming a meme machine. A blogger friend once told me about the nature of dog photos she posted on her blog, that when things were really busy or she couldn't talk about something going on in her life, she'd post a photo of her dog. I feel like the memes on my blog are my version of the dog photo.

So yet again, another meme, this one about reading.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

I blame my parents and by blame, I mean, gratefully acknowledge. My parents are voracious readers. I have this image of my father as a boy, reading books in hiding when he could find spare moments like when he was supposed to be bathing or mowing the lawn. This romantic version of him somehow matches the man who used to send my poems from the New Yorker and who reads Michael Connelly and Pat Conroy and biographies of famous generals. If you want to connect with my father, talk to him about books and writing. He is in love with the printed word. My mother will read almost anything and it is her voice I hear reading folktales and books about the moon before I learned to read on my own. I don't specifically know what turned me into a reader, except that I loved imagining other worlds, other girls and boys solving mysteries and creating magic and finding adventure and friendship in unexpected places. I have written before about books that changed my life as a girl, ones like Treasure Island, Sounder and Grimm's Fairy Tales. My love of reading seemed in place from the moment I learned how to sound out words. I have parents to thank for encouraging it and turning me into a true bibliophile.

What are some of the books you read as a child?

I read everything I could get my hands on. Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children and the Choose Your Own Adventure books were some of my favorites. Of course, I read Sweet Valley High alongside Treasure Island and Little Woman. As a teen, I consumed V.C. Andrews, Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan as I read Great Expectations and Romeo and Juliet in school.

What is your favorite genre?

For the past few years, it's been non-fiction. I love all kind of non-fiction, but I've always been especially fond of memoir. There's something about stories that have all the skill and landscape and scope of fiction but that resonate because they're true. But I also appreciate the courage and hope that pour out of the author into the story as well as the humor of fragility of storytelling as a mode of communication. I like non-fiction essayists like Sarah Vowell and Sloane Crosley. I love Joan Didion and Anne Lamont, Annie Dillard, David Sedaris; I think they're brilliant essayists, commentators on life. They say the things we cannot say, don't know how to say.

Do you have a favorite novel?

I have to choose just one? My usual answer for this is Kate Chopin's The Awakening or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and I've written about the importance of The Awakening when I was wrote a few blog posts about books that changed my life. I'd planned to write a Ph.D. edition but never did. And if I did Frankenstein would have to be on that list. However, there may be a difference between those kind of soul moving, life changing books and ones that are your favorites. So, my most recent favorite would be Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which I've talked about before and am recommending in our department's yearly summer reading list.

Where do you usually read?

In bed or on the couch. I listen to audiobooks a lot, too so sometimes I "read" in the car. I also read at my desk, student paper, magazines, blogs, all kinds of things.

When do you usually read?

Reading is a huge part of my job. So I read all the time. I read in the car while waiting for M to get off work and at night before I go to sleep. I read at lunch and any other time I can.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Oh yeah! I usually read one fiction and one non-fiction book or one fiction and one research-type book at a time.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Not consciously.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

I do all of the above but mostly, I buy them either in print or on the iPad. I check a lot of non-fiction out of the library, though.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

I do keep an awful lot of them, which is why I have the problem I do with boxes of books piled in my closet. I also donate a lot of books to the library.

What are you reading now?

I just finished The Hunger Games and now I'm reading Lauren Oliver's Delirium. I'm all about the YA dystopia lately.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

Totally. I keep a digital one on Goodreads and a stack of books on the bookshelf.

What’s next?

Tim Gatreaux's The Missing and Pat Conroy's South of Broad

What books would you like to reread?

I usually re-read The Sun Also Rises every year. I'd also like to reread Jane Eyre before I watch the new film.

Who are your favorite authors?

Sarah Waters, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, Ian McEwan, Alice Hoffman

What about you? What are your reading habits?