I just met Miss Nelson online two and a half months ago. On our mutual birthday. You know how sometimes you meet someone, either in real life, or online, and you just get each other? That’s me and h. l. We clicked. We’ve had long rambling Facebook conversations about nothing and everything. So needless to say, my delight abounds that she wanted to answer The Questions.
Enjoy getting to know my birthday twin!
5. What skill(s) do you wish you’d learned as a kid?
I was disappointed in junior high when we chose our instruments for band. I desperately wanted to be a percussionist, but they told me there were enough of them. So my parents chose the cheapest instrument, the flute. I did well with it, was usually first chair, but I always wanted to be back in the percussion section with the boys. I did the next best thing: I dated one of them. I dated drummers off and on for years. My better half is a drummer. I’ll take that.
Also, stilt walking. I learned because my dad made me stilts. But I wanted to take my stilting to the next level: the Macy’s Day parade. That was the big time. Oh yeah. Sadly, the closest I got to a parade was in my own front yard, stilt-running after my dogs. I was a lonely child.
8. Your favorite book growing up? Your favorite book now?
I loved loved loved (Did I say loved?) The Lord of the Rings. I read it THREE times in a row in junior high. Tolkien’s descriptions captivated me. I wanted to live in a little community and have a round house. The hobbit way of life seemed so lovely and comfortable. And I could relate to the overarching themes of loyalty, betrayal, self-sacrifice, and testicular fortitude. In retrospect, it’s a pretty heavy series for a junior high school kid. But, I was not an ordinary kid. I was one of those intense, artistic types. I’m sure you don’t know any others.
(dSavannah note: Who me? *looks around* Nope, not a one.)
Can we just skip the question about my current favorite book? No? Sigh, well all right. This is so difficult! I love anything from Palahniuk to Emily Brontë. From Octavia Butler to Steinbeck. Crichton to Carver. In college, my mind was blown open and I began to read more sci-fi and science-based, as well as women’s and minority literature. The Xenogenesis series, Beloved, Brave New World, Lives of a Cell, Fight Club, Travels with Charley, The Giver, and Bless Me, Ultima immediately spring to mind as transformative. And the short stories “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and “The Lottery”.
I highly recommend them all.
(dSavannah note: must add a few of these – the few I haven’t read yet – to my TBR pile…)
11. What three items will always be found in your refrigerator?
At least three kinds of fruit! I’ve never met a fruit I didn’t like. However, I’ve never had durian. I bet I wouldn’t like that one.
(dSavannah note: I think you’re making that one up.)
I once told every guy I knew that if one of them brought me peaches, fresh from a tree, I would bear his first-born son. And one actually did bring me some! I lied, though. I didn’t bear his first-born son. I took the peaches and ran. Bwahaha!
20. When did you know you wanted to be a writer/artist?
I think I knew in 5th grade when my English teacher had us write stories each week. More often than not, she read mine aloud. I remember the feeling of accomplishment when I finished a story. Then the pride when the teacher read it. It was a rush!
I lost this feeling off and on over the years, but within the last year decided to become serious about my craft. It’s been a freeing, soul-uplifting experience. Words just feel like home. Plus, writers get all the babes, right?
22. Would you rather be lost in the forest, the desert, the ocean, or deep space?
If I’m answering realistically, definitely the forest. A forest could potentially have everything life sustaining: food, water, shelter, warmth. But, that’s a really fucking boring answer. My actual answer is…
*cue sci-fi-sounding soundtrack and Star Wars-esque scrolling word thingie*
Not only do the words “DEEP SPACE” resound with awesomeness, but they make me think of Deep Space Nine, which I’m pretty sure my better half has tried to get me to watch. Was that the one that was more politically based? If so, it’s no wonder I haven’t watched it yet. I’m more a fan of TOS and Next Gen.
But I digress. How badass would it be to be lost in the deepest, darkest, oxygen-less reaches of space?… You know, on second thought, I take it back. That sounds pretty damn scary, actually. Can I change my answer?
31. What aspect of your art gets you passionate, gets you excited? What gets you pumped?
Getting the words onto the page exactly as they flowed into my head, clearly expressing an idea about our society in a collage, feeling the beat of a song and singing/dancing my heart out, or releasing my emotions with brushstrokes onto a canvas are all better than sex… Ok, maybe I wouldn’t go that far. But they’re damn close.
35. Tell me one random fact about you that not a lot of people know.
In between junior and senior years of high school, I vacationed in south Texas with a friend of the family. Her sister owned a boutique clothing store on the main street of this small town. Needless to say, business was slow and her prices way too high. So, I volunteered to help her. I rearranged the window displays, made them more artistic and interesting. Still no customers.
In a fit of desperate inspiration, I donned an outfit and headed outside. I stood, in the blazing sun, perfectly still for HOURS. I did this every day for several days, trying different poses (some hilarious). People would come up, wave their hands in my face, smile at me, mimic me – anything to get me to move. One made me smile a little and their gang laughed their asses off. I’m not sure if sales increased, but it was a hell of a good time. And that’s how I try to live my life, though I falter at times. I try not to worry about sales – money is just money, after all. But a good time? That’s where it’s at.
About h. l.:
h. l. nelson was born out of a West Texas dirt storm. She has tumbleweeds for bones and flash floods for blood. Her sense of humor is as dry as the cracked plains and her wit is as sharp as a scorpion’s sting. She is a poetess, novelist, short storyist, singer, dancer, painter, drawer, and collage-maker. Most days, she does none of these things. But she awaits the day when her small boys are large and her time is hers again. She will be a sad panda when they are grown, though. She realizes this is a quandary.
Her works have been featured in BHM (pre-employment), the Texas Tech Honors Program magazine, and Black-Listed. She is writing her first novel, which she describes as “Fight Club with soccer moms.” Dinner parties, Vicodin, a homeless intersexual prostitute. She hopes Chuck approves.
AND, in super-exciting news, she just got accepted to the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. Woot!