For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 4 October 2010

Question And Answer

I was most surprised yet highly delighted when Bonnie over at Original Art Studio asked if I would take part in her recent, unmissable series of interviews. Whether I'm worthy of joining such an interesting and illustrious bunch of bloggers, I'll leave you to judge! The interview is here. So thanks, Bonnie! It was an honour and a privilege, and truly enjoyable. In tribute, and inspired by the interview theme, I've just scribbled out this short poem...

The Interview

Thanks for consenting. Tell me, what's your name?
Call me the one who fell out of the frame.

Thank you. Now, what's your job? What do you do?
Let's say I stay a while, then travel through.

Quite interesting. Do they pay you well?
In tears and smiles, as far as I can tell.

Ok. Where is your current dwelling place?
Lost in the margins of the human race.

What are your interests, hobbies, recreations?
I get involved in many situations.

What are your goals in life, your great ambitions?
Simply to walk - whatever the conditions.

Have you a secret longing or desire?
To tread on water, then to walk through fire.

If you were asked advice, what would it be?
Don't honour princes, but respect a tree.

What book has influenced you that you've read?
The book of birth, the living and the dead.

Have you some favourite words you'd like to share?
Mumps. Maggot. Mustard. Marmite. Maidenhair.

What is your favourite food, your favourite drink?
The food of love, and lemon juice, I think.

What is your sexual orientation?
Straight, but I might bend under interrogation.

What's your worst quality, and what's your best?
Is this turning into some exam or test?

What keeps you going, day after tragic day?
My hearts keeps beating. That's all I can say.

And what will happen when your life is gone?
It's a narrative which I'm still working on.

Is there a last bon mot you would impart?
Of living I've not yet mastered the art.

Thanks for all this. My questioning is done.
Are you quite sure? I thought you'd just begun!

15 comments:

Bonnie said...

I am giggling! A delightful spoof, full, in spite of yourself, of pithy profundities. Lorenzo and I had just been discussing putting up posts to spoof ourselves - and while we were discussing it - you did it! Thanks for the link to the other interview.

Lorenzo said...

Yes, this poetic self-interview rhymes and chimes well with the one you did with Bonnie, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

George said...

Wonderful, Robert! Funny as hell and a nice leavening for the serious stuff. As I said in my comments on Bonnie's site this morning, you have the gift of always seasoning your offerings with a touch of humor.

Great interview with Bonnie! I enjoyed it immensely, finding it honest, open, and informative. The only thing missing, as I recall, was any mention of the word "marmite," which has apparently made a comeback in your own spoof.

Ruth said...

This is quite a fun follow-up interview, I must say.

ellen abbott said...

Nice meeting you over at Bonnie's. I've been enjoying your walk albeit backwards.

Rachel Fox said...

I like this poem! My favourite of yours to date.
x

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks again, Bonnie, for your invitation to participate... and I'm glad the poem amused you!

And thanks, Lorenzo, pleased you liked it too...

George - what would life be without a sense of humour? Pretty sad, I think. Gratified you're keeping up with the 'marmite' motif. There will be reoccurrences, I assure you - though that may be to your chagrin.

And Ruth... thanks for your comment! I'm belatedly catching up on your own posts, which are scintillating...

Hey, ellen! That walk is best enjoyed backwards? How did you know?

And Rachel: praise from you is praise indeed...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting interview Robert - and the rhyming couplets on your blog fit the situation perfectly.

Tramp said...

Do you prefer writing or venturing out?
What a question, what are you talking about?

Well, choose the one which more sets you alight.
Impossible. I write when I walk, and I walk when I write

(with apologies)
...Tramp

Friko said...

One question I could answer for you is:

How good are you at answering questions without giving very much away.

My technique is different from yours, my replies are throw-away, flippant. Not yours, yours are well thought out, serious and deep, and still I know nothing about you. Why should I, of course, blogging is a detached discipline.

Your poem is great, I love this humorous side of you.
I also like your German degree, there are too few people in the Uk interested in German language and literature.

gleaner said...

Thanks for giving me a wonderful laugh for the morning!

I really enjoyed your interview with Bonnie. It reminds me why I find your blog compelling and I can see themes that resonate strongly with me (your list of literature that has influenced your personal philosophy being identical to mine and wondering about the mysteries of death since a young age, to name just a couple).
I suppose to give a little more as it only seems fair, when I stopped reading most blogs I still couldn't stop reading your blog, it is my favourite.

Now, what would be really interesting would be to know what you intend to write a book about (of course, this is question shouldn't be answered)

gleaner said...

Oops, I was going to preview my last comment before publishing -

So whilst I'm here, Bob Dylan in concert over 30 times is impressive- last night I was listening and contemplating the words to many of his songs (oh dear, I think I spent a good few hours doing this). What amazed me and had me wondering was he must have a phenomenal memory, with many of his songs having no repetitions and quite lengthy.

fireweed meadow said...

Just went over and read the interview, which I actually found funnier than the poem, especially the bit about still being traumatized by Tony Blair's smile. Exposure to the evening news was at its most unbearable when his smile was followed moment's later by G. W. Bush II's smirk. Those were dark days.

It's true what you say about walking and food and the need for mental tricks to overcome the food obsession. Food becomes the ultimate distraction and I find things I would never normally consider eating become immensely appealing, the next meal looming large in the imagination, much like in Bill Bryson's "Walk in the Woods." Actually, that is by and large why I took up canoeing for long distance treks –because you can load up a canoe with so much food, wine, etc. In fact, ours was advertised as having the load-bearing capacity to float a moose back from a hunting trip; try that with a rucksack!

Your biggest fear is death – mine too. I don't believe anyone isn't afraid of death but I do think most other fears are actually stand-ins for the fear of death. It is precisely that fear, that nudges me every day at least once, the keeps me so interested in and enchanted by what you referred to as "the pre-afterlife."

And lastly, I'm not sure which noise I hate more – your petrol engine or the one George chose in his interview (the unwatched TV in the background), my need to flee from both being equally strong . . .

As for the question asking you to name a few of your strengths, I think you failed to list a very important one – your sense of humour.

Val said...

enjoyed your interview with Bonnie - and your blog site is a wonderful discovery. I love the walking theme and dream of solitary wanderings in soulful places - this i can now do vicariously via your blog! pleased to meet you!

The Solitary Walker said...

Both balance each other, Tramp. And intermingle - for often I write in my head when walking, and walk in my head when writing.

Thanks, as always, for reading, Pat...

... and Friko, do you really think I haven't given much away? Yes, I do think before I write, and revise things - but I believe you may be surprised if I told you most of these interview responses, and most of my posts in general, were fairly quickly and spontaneously written. Everyone has their own limits to what they reveal, what's right for them. I never talk about personal problems, family traumas etc (except occasionally very indirectly) because I think some things are very private and other people's feelings may be involved, people who may hate the very concept of blogging. This said, I have written on my blog about the death of my sister, my father and my mother. I think, actually, you would get to know a significant part of me if you combined the interview with some chunks of my blog! Thanks for your comment on my poem. And, as for German Language and Literature, I love them both, though I hardly read or speak much German these days (except when I meet German pilgrims on my camino treks).

Thanks for your wonderfully generous comments, Bella! (During certain periods of his life, however, Dylan notoriously was in the habit of forgetting some of his song lyrics on stage...)

Fireweed - I really enjoyed reading this! Yes, you have to think about something when you're walking, and I've perfected quite a number of mental tricks, from writing little poems in my head to altering the words of popular songs - and thinking many other thoughts I couldn't possibly reveal! But dreams of food do loom large, it's true...

Val, thanks for your comment, and glad you enjoyed the interview. Just nipped over to your blog, which is fascinating. I will be back! In the meantime, welcome aboard!