Well, anyone that reads Citizen of the Month, knows about the interviews. I was the lucky gal who got to interview Hey Joe. Fun blog! The interesting thing about this process is getting to learn about the people whose writing you enjoy. I was interviewed by cookie-bitch.
Here are my questions to Joe.
1. I take it you are a writer. Your blog is very well thought out and literate. When did you realize you liked writing, and how have you fit that into your life?
First of all, thank you for the "well thought out and literate" comment. It's nice to hear that it comes across that way because so often I feel like I slam some of this stuff together and post it when I really should be spending more time revising and thinking about what I want to say. Oh, and working on my grammar and punctuation. My wife is forever sending me notes with corrections! So, anyway thanks for that.
I like to think of myself as a writer, but most of the time I think of myself as someone who's trying to be a writer. Part of my problem is that when I envision a "writer," I always picture that stereotypical someone who writes novels from their beach house, overlooking a stormy sea, a cup of coffee at hand; so far from the reality of it, except perhaps for the coffee. And I don't write anything of any great length either. The idea of writing a novel completely overwhelms me. I can't imagine writing for hundreds of pages about ANYTHING.
I realized that I enjoyed writing and had some sort of calling to it back in high school. I wanted to work for a magazine or something along those lines. That never happened, but after 15 years in insurance I landed a job in corporate communications. So while I technically write for a living, it's not the type of writing that feeds the soul, hence the blog and other projects. But I am thankful to have landed in a position that I actually enjoy. It's very nice to not dread coming to work.
2. Did you ever want to do comedy writing? you have a very dry wit.
I love comedy. Thank you for noticing. To me, stand-up comics are the closest thing to gods, and probably the bravest performers out there. But to answer the question, yes I did and do some comedy writing. I've been writing a somewhat regular humor column for our local small town paper, The Clayton Pioneer, since 2003. Most of what I write is at least an attempt at humor in some way, shape or form. I'm not a very serious person (not always a positive trait).
3. If you could name your biggest influence to your writing style who would that be and why?
That's a tough question. I feel like I'm influenced by so many writers. The author of every book that I've bothered to read more than once; Chuck Kinder, Hunter S. Thompson, Hemingway, Michael Chabon have all written books that I've read multiple times. Dave Barry was a big influence when I first started to try my hand at the humor column. I come across bloggers that are so good at telling stories, a talent that I often feel I lack, that I can't help but admire them and some how be influenced. It's very hard NOT to be influenced when there's so many good writers around.
4. Were you born and raised in California? If not where did you grow up? And what brought you to the west coast?
I was born and raised here in California, yes. A proud San Francisco/ Bay Area native.
5. When you were in high school, what were your dreams of the future? How are they different now?
High school is such a goofy time, but I think had a pretty common vision of my future; career, marriage, family. I think my generation may be one of the last ones to still grow up with that vision, with the idea that you get an education and you get a job and become a productive member of society. Younger generations seem much less interested in playing by those rules. They stay single much longer, travel more, try more things, take more chances. But to answer your question I guess I dreamed that I would be a successful (read rich and famous) writer, but I'm not sure if I knew what success even meant at the time. Ideas and opinions change as we get older. Now my dreams for the future involve getting more sleep, having a little more disposable income, my wife and I having more time for fun, and my children growing up to be happy.
6. How has being a father changed the way you see the world?
This ties in a lot to the last question. Again, I grew up in a different era, having parents that were very much old school in terms of what they expected of me: "education-good job with stable company-productive member of society." My parents never really understood the whole concept of job fulfillment. To them, a job was a means to an end. I always felt that enjoying what you did was the most important thing, even if I never followed my own advice.
As a father, I'm much more interested in helping my kids figure out what they enjoy, what makes them happy. I want them to get an education because you're at a huge disadvantage without it. Even if you never use your degree for your "job," school and education provide more life experience and opportunities that you'd otherwise never have. But I won't push them toward a job or career just because I think it would offer security. I will encourage them to take chances and have experiences and not tie themselves to anything too early in life.
7. Why are you fascinated by celebrities and their lives?
I really have no idea. I guess because I'm intrigued by fame and I find it fascinating that our society seems to care so much about them, myself included.
While I'm certainly not a geeky celebrity stalker type, I do find myself drawn to them somehow. My wife, on the other hand, couldn't care less about so and so. They're just another person so far as she's concerned. I watched a lot of television growing up, much more than she did, so maybe that has something to do with it. They're more a part of my make up. Maybe it's just a jealousy thing.
More interesting is why I'm fascinated with celebrity deaths. I have no answer for this either. I find death intriguing and the idea that people I've grown up knowing, either through movies or television, suddenly are no longer there.
8. What kind of music do you prefer? What was the first album/CD that you purchased?
I have to admit that while I enjoy it, I've never been a rabid fan of any particular music. I guess if I had to choose, I'd probably fall into the "classic rock" category. I like music that I know and can sing along to. I'm just not very interested in discovering new music.
The first ALBUM (yes, I'm old) I purchased was Pink Floyd The Wall. I wasn't really into it though. I found it kind of creepy and weird. Maybe because I hadn't yet reached my pot years. The Wall was a big album when I was in high school and I think I bought it because it was a popular album. I probably listened to it once or twice.
I'm trying to think of what's in my music collection....Joe Jackson, Tom Petty, The Black Crowes, Elvis Costello, Chicago, Green Day, Billy Joel, Jackie Greene, Johnny Cash.
9. What is the one thing you wouldn't want your children to know about you.?
While my kids don't currently read my blog, they do know about it and I'm sure one day they will. As such, I'm not inclined to spill much along those lines. I'm not proud of everything I've done in my life. Maybe one day they'll hear about some of them, but if they do I'd rather they hear it from me and not read about it here.
10. If you had to do it all over again, how much of your life would remain the same, and what would you change?
Much would remain the same. Once you have children it's hard to imagine making the decision to go back and NOT have them. But if I could go back, I'd take more chances. I'd make some better choices so as to take back the hurt that I've caused some people in my life. I'd trust myself more and have more confidence in my abilities. I'd certainly travel more, move and live in a few different places before settling in one. Basically just live more without worrying about my security. I blame my parents for that one. :)
Thank you Joe for taking the time to do this. And one thing I am going to say? they will find out about your blog someday! ;-)
Being a parent rocks, except for that "no sleeping, no disposable income, no privacy (even in the bathroom), being asked a million questions, explaining each answer ad nauseum, washing their clothes, feeding them and disciplining them" stuff.