Thursday, April 05, 2007


The interview meme

I think the success of any interview gives much more weight to the questions than the answers. That's why I jumped on the chance to play along with the interview meme that's sweeping through the Momosphere right now when Bub and Pie asked if anyone wanted to be an interviewee. She's always thoughtful and clever and I was curious to see what questions she'd come up with for me. I wasn't disappointed - they're great questions. Now let's see if I can do them justice with my answers! (And don't forget to go back and read B&P's answers to the questions posed to her by Mouse.)

1. You’re very open on your blog – it’s one of the things that draws readers in, makes us feel we know you. Experiencing your pregnancy alongside you and then the tragedy of your miscarriage was an intense experience for me as a reader. Do you ever regret the permanent record you’ve left here of your pregnancy in posts that now have a different meaning in light of your miscarriage?

There's one post in particular I wrote maybe a week before the miscarriage when I was around 15 weeks or so, talking about how I thought maybe I could feel the baby moving. In retrospect, that was pretty unlikely, as given what we found out, the baby had likely died by that point. I called it "The Quickening" and I still get a lot of google traffic on that word (sigh, probably more now that I've highlighted it again. Darn spider-bots.) and it always made me cringe. I almost took it down, just because I was feeling a little bit bitter about it showing up in the referral logs, but I never did. That's as close as I come to regret over any of it.

All of that stuff I wrote while I was pregnant was true as it was happening, and was a completely honest representation of what I was going through at the time, so no, I don't regret any of it. It's still hard for me to go back and read some of it, but I can't say that I wish I didn't write it, or that I wish I had thought differently at the time. I've always believed in sharing my joy while it lasts, which is why I could never wait to announce a pregnancy. Sad times may come, so live your moments of joy with enthusiastic abandon while you can.

2. Like me, you were married unhappily once, and are married much more happily now. Do you feel that your first experience in marriage helped shape your second?

Funny, my answer to this question after thinking about it was not my knee-jerk, first-blush response. I don't write a lot about my ex because he's not around to defend himself, and frankly, I'm done giving him any power over me, even all these years later. Suffice to say, he didn't always treat me as well as he should have. He cheated on me, for one. Told his best friend that the best way to 'train' his new wife was to keep putting her down until she stopped fighting back, for another (and he practiced what he preached). And he was, in the most clinical sense of the definition, a pathological liar. He would lie even when the truth was a perfectly acceptable answer. He would lie for the sake of lying, even when there was no doubt whatsoever he'd get caught in his lie. And he lied to me about a lot of stuff - everything from "I took the movies back to the video store today" when he didn't, to "I didn't take your bank card out of your wallet and use it to take money out of your account" when he did, to "I didn't sleep with her" when he did.

So yes, living with that for my most formative years (started 'steady' dating when I was 16, got married when I was 20, got divorced at 24) definitely affected the relationships that followed. When Beloved and I had been living together for a couple of years but not yet married, I went to see a psychologist for a while, and we worked through a lot of the crap I was still carrying around with me. She helped me understand that it was not okay for him to force sex through guilt and withholding of affection, which he did too often, and that I was not at 'fault' for his lies, his adultery, his difficulty in holding a job, and so many other things. Truly, the dozen or so sessions I had with that psychologist were one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

All this to say that I was carrying a lot of emotional baggage by the time Beloved and I moved in together - but not in the ways I might have expected. I've never had trust issues with Beloved, for example. I trust him blindly, with my whole heart, and always have. It's a kind of triumph of naivety and love over experience. But I do have residual control issues. For example, because I could never trust my ex to pay the bills, I must be in charge of the family finances now - I can't cede control of that over to Beloved.

I was ready to answer this question with the many ways that the practice marriage has affected my marriage with Beloved, but I'm pleased to see that in the analysis, maybe I overestimated them. I'm sure there are a thousand other ways, large and small, that have left a residual imprint, but it's surprisingly difficult to analyze what comes as a result of the 'practice' marriage and what was inherently me in the first place.

3. Who do you consider to be the sexiest Canadian politician?

I have three answers for this question, with varying degrees of qualifiers. To answer the question straight up, the sexiest current politician is Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison, which I conveniently happened to decide not that long ago when I saw him on the Rick Mercer Report.

Now, if we can expand the parameters a bit, as he hasn't yet run for his seat in Papineau, but when he officially becomes a politician, I'm going to have to switch my allegiance to Justin Trudeau as the sexiest politician. I've had a crush on him since long before the moving eulogy he delivered for his father.

And if we can extend the definition of politics to include speechwriters and communicators for national leaders, my vote goes to former Liberal campaign blogger Scott Feschuk. I have a wicked literary crush on him.

4. Severus Snape: friend or foe?

Ugh. I don't know!! I've been re-reading the books to refresh my memory of the details of the stories in anticipation of the July arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As I read, I've been trying to glean any little bit of meaning or insight to this very question in all the scenes where Snape appears.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!! If you have not yet read to the end of Half Blood Prince, STOP READING and skip to the next question!

I've been pondering for two years now whether Snape was simply fulfilling his destiny, or some sort of obligation to Dumbledore, or whether he was truly evil all along, or whether he was possessed by Voldemort. I don't know! I'm too Pollyanna to think that Snape is a truly evil character who willfully killed Dumbledore, and Rowling is after all writing what are in essence children's books.

My bet is that he was under some sort of spell or obligation. I'm itching to read the next book, though. Conveniently, it arrives the first day of my two-week summer vacation. Coincidence or excellent planning on my part? I'll be torn the whole way through, racing to the end to find out once and for all what happens, but slowing myself down because there won't be another helping of Harry Potter after this one is consumed. Peanut gallery, what say you?

5. How do you think birth order affects the personalities of your children?

Another good question! I can definitely see that my boys seem to fit into their birth-order personality stereotypes, for lack of a better word.

Tristan, the first born, is a people-pleaser, and a little high strung. He's keen and tends to be serious more often than not, and plays happily by himself. Simon, on the other hand, is mellower. He's much more social and outgoing, and much more flexible.

This has been great fun to answer. If you'd like me to interview you, let me know in the comments. I don't promise to be as prompt, let alone as insightful, as Bub and Pie was in sending her questions off to me, but I'll do my best.

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