And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (since last Monday)! I have picked a handful of questions from all your lovely inquires. If I didn’t pick yours, I’m sorry, there were seriously a ton of really good ones that I did not pick simply because I didn’t have a solid, clear cut answer, or because I wouldn’t be able to answer them in just a paragraph or less. Anyways, without further ado:
jeffbaker307 asks: Do you write any short stories?
Yes! Short stories are like my specialty. That and poetry, especially haikus, because writing long things is kind of proving to be harder than I thought it would be. But, yeah, I love short stories! I used to write a lot more of them when I was in high school and had to constantly write short stories for creative writing class, but I definitely still enjoy it. In fact, I shared one of my short stories on here back when I was writing in 2018!
Susan asks: What is your favorite dinosaur?
I have always really loved long necks, aka the brachiosaurus. Just really seems like a gentle giant, you know? I love that they’re so huge and yet they’re herbivores. They’re always portrayed in dinosaur movies as the super friendly nice ones, and I think it’s made me biased. But honestly their design is just so cool, I mean they’re just ridiculously tall! Like their head had to have been twenty degrees colder than their legs at all times.
David Karger asks: It sounds like you live in an area where your neighbors are rather more conservative than your parents. Has growing up there pulled your politics to the right of your parents as well?
Oh lord no. I’m super far left. Which, in my opinion, anyone who is “radically left” isn’t really that far left, they just want basic human rights afforded to everyone, which isn’t that radical, but some people think it is. I guess I’d say I’m liberal, but I agree with a ton of socialist type stuff, too. In my mind, everyone should have access to a home, a hot meal, and a shower, no matter what. Homelessness and starvation is a failure of our government to serve its people. Growing up here has made me experience Trump supporters and their hatred first hand, and I’m more left than ever.
AlexaJade asks: What is your favorite flower?
I love all flowers! There’s so many fantastic, beautiful, colorful ones. But I’ve always been partial to tiger lilies. There’s something about seeing a big patch of them growing wild in a ditch and swaying in the breeze while driving down a country road. I first saw one when I was ten, at my friend’s grandparents’ house, and her grandma gave me some bulbs, so I could plant them, too. But they never grew. I wish my yard had them, like so many naturally do around here. Any bouquet is automatically enhanced by lilies. They’re show stoppers. It’s funny, orange is my least favorite color, and yet tiger lilies just really take the cake.
mopiegirl asks: I’ve always loved the name Athena; how do you feel about your name (and/or nicknames)?
Thank you! I actually really love my name, I’m so glad my parents named me it (shoutout to them and their awesome name skills). I have always loved Greek mythology, which may or may not be a result of narcissism because of my name, especially since Athena has always been my favorite and I adore her. I also like my name for more vain reasons. I like when strangers tell me my name is pretty, when people say it’s such a beautiful name. I dislike nicknames.
The Wooglie asks: What’s your favorite TV show you’ve watched in 2020 so far?
I don’t watch a lot of TV shows, it’s hard for me to have patience to watch like, nine seasons of something, especially if it’s one of those shows where seasons 1 and 2 are pretty good and then the rest absolutely blow. But I do really like Lucifer, especially since Netflix took over and they only have like ten episodes per season instead of like twenty-five. However, I think The Boys on Amazon Prime is the winner here. It is quite the show. I highly recommend it. I’m currently keeping up with the episodes of season 2 they’ve been releasing weekly, and it’s getting wild. Who am I kidding, it was wild from the get go! I adore it.
Hillary Rettig asks: Which college course to date has had the biggest impact on you, and why?
I would say my favorite so far, and the one that has been the most impactful, was Children’s Literature, aka ENG 262. I passed with a B+! I took it in the spring of my freshman year. It was wonderful! My professor was this lil’ ol’ lady who wore sweaters and skirts everyday and read us picture books. In the class, we started off the semester with picture books like Where the Wild Things Are, and then worked our way up through books such as Charlotte’s Web, Holes, The Giver, The Outsiders, and The Hunger Games. I had to do a report over The Outsiders and honestly, digging deeper into a children’s book I had read in seventh grade was kind of eye opening. There’s so much more packed into these books than you realize. Children’s authors are tasked with taking a great story and making it accessible for young readers, and that is an incredible talent. Children’s authors are shaping the minds of the future, and that’s no small feat. I had never considered being a children’s author before, but now I’m kind of considering it. I want to be a lot of things, y’know? Literature has a lot of variety.
Chris M asks: You were a vegetarian and stopped, weren’t you? What are your reasons then and now and what are your opinions on the ethics of meat consumption?
I was vegetarian for five years, starting when I was eleven, almost twelve, and ending on my 18th birthday. I went to Minicon when I was eleven and met a vegetarian named Isabel, and I had a conversation with her about vegetarianism. I couldn’t imagine not eating meat, but our conversation enlightened me. I started thinking about how utterly fucked up the meat industry is. Factory farming is an abhorrent thing, one of humanity’s cruelest creations, and after doing what meager research an eleven year old can do, I became too disgusted and sad with the idea of eating meat, so I stopped, cold turkey. I stopped for no good reason other than that I grew tired of it.
It’s not super hard to be vegetarian, but it does take more effort than not being vegetarian, especially when you live in rural Ohio. I just try not to think about it anymore. I try not to think about the mass suffering of animals, the nonstop slaughter of creatures who don’t deserve it. It’s just like the consumption of clothes from Old Navy or buying iPhones. You know they’re made overseas in sweatshops and you know the behind the scenes aren’t pretty, but you just don’t think about it. It’s so easy to just pretend to be ignorant to the suffering of others as long as it benefits you.
Our world is so very “City of Omelas”, and meat consumption is a part of that mindset of “just turn away and pretend like it’s not happening” for me. But in those moments you get a steak that’s just a bit too rare, or the heads are attached to the shrimp you’ve ordered, it comes flooding back; the guilt, the disgust, the abhorrence. I used to think hunting was cruel and harshly judged those who could go out and kill something themselves like that, but I see now that buying Tyson Chicken Nuggets or Oscar Meyer Bologna is far worse. I’ve been thinking of going vegetarian again lately.
Dean Rabo asks: Do you believe in life after death?
No. I’m not religious and I don’t believe in an afterlife. Once you’re done, you’re done. It’ll be just like before you were born: nothing. You will have no consciousness, no awareness, there is nothing but the void, forever. I don’t like thinking this way. I wish I believed in something nice, like Heaven, but I don’t. And even if I believed in Heaven, that’d mean I’d believe in Hell, too, and that’s where I’m going, if it exists, so I guess it’s better that there’s nothing. There is no soul, no pearly gates awaiting you upon your inevitable demise. Just the unyielding darkness. This fraction of existence if all you get, and then you will never exist again for all time. Enjoy it the best you can.
peggyleslie asks: What gives you joy?
After that super depressing answer above, I’m glad to end on something lighter! Things that give me joy include (but are not limited to): rainbows, baking cookies, flowers, kittens, eating a ripe cherry tomato right off the vine, the smell of rain, chai lattes, reading a good book in a hot bubble bath, the beach, farmers markets, bubble tea, picking out a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch, making apple cider and hot chocolate from scratch, smelling candles at the grocery store, getting pedicures, aaand spending time with my family.
Bonus question from glinda: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Cotton Candy! Now and forever.
I had fun doing this. I liked a lot of your questions! Thank you to everyone who participated. I’d like to do this again sometime, so if your question didn’t get picked, you could try asking again next time. Have a great day!