If you could live anywhere for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?
If I absolutely had to put down roots it would have to be in a remote mountaintop fortress somewhere in the Rockies (I can’t tell you an exact location, or else I’d have to lock your head in a safe) which is accessible only by private plane. It would be hidden from satelite view by an electromagnetic field which cloned the pixels of the forest around us and shielded infrared sensors. My fortress would include a palatial library that I had to have a rolling ladder to reach all the volumes. I would have a kitchen designed by Alton Brown and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool. Matter of fact, I think I would want my whole house to be like Venice, with canals instead of halls, and I would just swim from room to room. I would be surrounded by forests full of furry creatures for me to scamper with when I am feeling woodsy, ginormous waterfalls for my aesthetic delight when I am feeling poetic, and cliffs for me to scale when I am feeling athletic.
Why do you think the media has essentially made women think they have to be skinny to look good?
I am not sure what has made this era decide that waspish women were the pinnacle of perceptive pleasure. In the times of Boticelli, a much more full figured woman was considered the most desirable. A well padded frame was considered a sign of abundance of sensual desire. The Willendorf Goddess is an example of primal man worshipping the extreme voluptuousness of a fertile and fecund female.
This of course does not answer the question of why they would hold up a standard of beauty which is so extreme (especially when women are traditionally so forgiving of the physical flaws of my gender) and difficult to maintain. Perhaps they noticed the trend that women tend to shop to perk themselves up. By holding up a difficult or even impossible image and saying, "This is how you should be," they set many women up for failure, and brainwashed the men, who should be supportive, into being overly critical judges. This perceived failure will make women sad, and so they will go out and spend money, which is what marketing is all about, anyway.
What is your favorite book and why?
I can’t claim that I have a favorite book, any more than I can claim to have a favorite song or a favorite food. I am far too complex moody for any one thing to always fit, but I have three books which I would save if I were ever in a sinking ship. The first is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because it introduced me to John Galt, who taught me that compromising was not a virtue. The second is Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein, because it introduced me to the character of Lazarus Long, who taught me to always check my facts. The third is The Curse of Chalion by Lois M. Bujold, because it introduced me to the character of Cazaril, who was always a more competent soldier than I, but still I aspire. In all of these, it is the writing that made the books wonderful, the story that made the books meaningful, but it is the characters that keep me coming back
If you could be in any movie that has ever been made, which movie and why?
If I could be in any movie ever made it would be Castaway, because it combines the themes of Man versus Nature and Man versus Himself. These are the two most important themes, I think, and this is the most graphic portrayal of them I have seen. We live in a natural world, and so we must learn to live with nature, or be killed by Her. I think the battle of Man versus Himself absolutely must be fought in order for man to actuallize and evolve into what he can become. In both of these battles, it is harmony, not conquest, which should be striven for.
The other theme I can do without. The battles of Man versus Man are fought for conquest, and are only fought in order to avoid facing ourselves.
If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be and why?
I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone, really. I have worked the project which is my life for too long and have shed too much tears and blood to want to give it up now. My life is not perfect, but it is mine.
If I absolutely had to trade places with someone, I would trade places with the lowest monk in a Tibetan monastery.