Posted by: raesalley | March 10, 2009

Free Man’s Interview

A few posts back, I said I’d be doing the Free Man interviews for 2009. I received my questions and I’m distracted enough today to answer them without feeling too self-conscious. Find it behind the break.

First of all, how would you describe Rae’s Alley to new readers? An attempt at sharing some of the thoughts and emotions that go on behind the polite exterior. Both my day job and my habit cast me in the position of being accomodating to others and pulling off the occasional miracle. Most of the time, what’s going on isn’t that sinister or threatening…but its akin to the fantasy of the hot librarian being an S&M mistress. Your mind wants to believe its possible, and some days she cracks her whip. Other times, she just wants to get you your reference book and get rid of you.

You’ve been blogging here since 2004. What has kept you doing it this long? There’s a lot in my head that just can’t be shared directly to a person and I need to get it out so I stop obsessing over it. I decided a blog instead of a journal because I type faster than I write. Instead of keeping it all to myself I share, because I’m sure that I can’t be the first who’s felt this way and maybe I can be the one out there saying to you “you aren’t alone”

How do you think your blog has changed over the years? Oh definately. I went through the meme phase (and still occasionally visit) and I think I’ve started (hopefully) to become a better writer because of this. I occasionally still have my stupid moments, but I hope I don’t have too many long rambling posts about nothing.

In your first post five years ago, you said you’d be “spewing my randomness” for readers. There are people (like myself) who always have a desire to share their thoughts with the world. What do you think compels some people to share their life with strangers? I love it when I forget to read ahead. To finish my half-thought from two questions ago, I think for some it is a way to connect. Other than my best friend from high school until very recently, all of my close girlfriends were people I met online. Before social networking became the thing, blogging or bulletin board sites were the only way to try to reach out. While we’re all surrounded by people day in/day out, how often do you really connect to someone. I think for many of us, we blog to connect to someone for just a second. Even if it is just a second.

How do you decide what is blog-worthy and what remains private in your life? Much is dependent on who is involved. I’m married, but I don’t think much of my daily life with my husband needs to be out there for the world to see. When the Bald One and I got married, the best piece of advice I was given was to keep our arguments to ourselves, because we may resolve the problem and it was really nothing…but for the five minutes I was mad as hell and told someone, that’s what that one person remembers. I love the crazy man and while he occasionally makes me want to pull my hair out, that’s not all he is or does. Others are things I keep out because I don’t know how that person would feel having an incident shared with their coworkers – even if by accidental exposure. I do have enough clues here that someone in the community could figure out who I am quite easily, but I don’t blatantly come out and say it for a thin layer of protection.

You work in theatre. What do you love about your job? Watching the pieces come together from a word on the page to what actually is seen by the audience. The hushed whispers as the audience tries to put together the clues. The moment of expectant hush before the lights come up the first time. The discovery of an actor over a particular moment. The strange comraderie between casts that mixes folks up for two months and then we may never see each other again – but for two months we drank, ate and worked as one for a common goal.

Does anything make you want to quit sometimes? Oh gods yes. I’ve had my requisite shows from hell. Saturday paint call for Gypsy in a building with no running water. Moments that make me write this. Tech at 2am and changing the entire show’s scenery. Being treated like the kid because I’m half someone’s age even though I know my craft just as well as they know theirs.

What is the theatre scene like where you are in North Carolina? Eclectic. We have a fairly decent community theater scene (as evidenced by the much locally heralded return of Rachel Evan Wood to play with her father in R&J). There’s a professional LORT stage. There’s two major touring houses – one in Durham and one in Raleigh. Throw into the mix at least five colleges with some level of theater program and then more small professional companies than you can shake a stick at. The SPTs (not the AEA definition, but close) range from focussing on new work, making new work and bringing classics to hitting the modern with a twist. They work with both the local talent pool and (one) imports most of theirs from NYC. I’ve worked on plays that people will recognize from their advanced English class (Road to Mecca, Doll House, Jitney) to things you may not have heard of if you were next to Broadway (oak tree, Receptionist).

You’re an avid reader, and you link to your online bookshelf. How would you describe your book tastes? I go through phases, but fantasy and romance have been around the longest while right now I’ve got a yen for classics (Austen) and mystery (the Mary Russell novels). For a more specific answer — category romance – the modern (Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell are some of the highlights) and your Regency/historical (all over the map) are the most prevalent, though I do branch into the occasional paranormal (C. Freehan, others). I grew up on SciFi/Fantasy  – specifically began with Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey but finally accepting Tolkein & Henlein as possibilities. The books that I’m actually shelling money out for though are rare – George RR Martin, Anne Bishop and Jacqueline Carey are the only ones at the moment. The rest come to me from friends, family and PaperBackSwap.

What book were you most surprised you actually liked? RAH’s  Stranger in a Strange Land. After hating Andromeda Strain, I was ready to give up on books I should like because I liked a genre.

Tell us more about your 365 Photo Project. I’m terrible at it. That’s not quite true. I’ve discovered I do like taking photos and there are some shots I’m absolutely in awe that I was able to shoot such a neat (to me) shot. But there are days I phone it in and some days I look about and realize I didn’t even get that done. However, I am learning much about what I like to shoot and what style I like.

You explain your religious beliefs under the title “Witchy Stuff.” What don’t most people understand about what you believe? That I don’t kill babies and animals. Seriously. You wouldn’t think that was a problem, but I actually had someone at my last job ask me that very question. Some of it I put down to living in the South, the rest I put down to people having a very narrow world view.

How did you find and start reading A Free Man’s blog? Blame Gypsy.

Finally, what five things do you think make life worth living? Often, I think Coffee has to top this list…it got me through OChem and now has jumpstarted my morning for ten years. A good cup is worth savoring. Love, continuing the odd nature of my brain right now – and that way I cover everything from that cozy feeling on Saturday mornings in bed with my husband to the random headbutt from my cat. Wilderness – such as escaping for a few minutes after lunch to take a walk on the grounds here just made the rest of the afternoon being stuck in a beige box livable. Music…I think it often defines my life more than anything else (I can tell you stories just from a song). And for my last point – my iPhone — I get to stay in touch with the world at large and those nearest and dearest in one handy device.



  1. Great answers! It was nice meeting you this way 🙂

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