Stephanie Stricklen

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The Great Portland Interview Experiment

by Stephanie Stricklen

Posted on December 12, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:42 PM

About a month ago I signed up to take part in this cool get-to-know-your-twitter neighbors assignment. Basically, you get the chance to ask a perfect stranger whatever questions you want. It's more fun than you might expect, and I liked coming up with the questions. You can learn more about it here:

So with that, I hooked up with Corina, a gal who I learned loves writing, twitter, and her move to Portland. PS. Nanowrimo (you'll see it explained below), WOW... talk about a hefty mission! Impressive. Anyway, what follows is my interview with her:

[Quick note: Twitter explainer here, in case you're wondering what the heck it is]

#1) You clearly have a passion for writing. Describe what a nanowrimo novel is and why you choose to write in this fashion.

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is in its tenth year. Basically, during the designated month, which is November, people all over the world sign up to attempt to write a novel with a minimum of 50,000 words in the thirty days of the month. The novels produced during this month are, for the most part, not really intended to be published, although some have been. As most writers know, it takes a lot longer than thirty days to complete a novel. You might be able to complete a first draft in thirty days but then there is the long, difficult work of editing the novel. Nanowrimo is really an exercise in self-discipline and it just writing for the love of it. I have participated in Nanowrimo four years. The first year I tried it, I was overwhelmed and gave up after a week or so. Then over the course of the year, I came to realize that it was not a polished novel that had to be the outcome so I buckled down and finished the 50,000 words on November 17th of that year. Last year I completed the project on November 28th and this year I reached the goal on November 29th. I choose to do this as a challenge to myself and as an opportunity to focus on one long piece of writing. I actually like this year's novel so I will be working on editing it during March which is designated as NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).

#2) Do you seek publication? Self-publication? Or is this just an outlet for your creativity?

I have a book length collection of short stories that I would really like to see published. There are also some other things I've written that I think can be worthy of publishing. I do hope that some day I will be able to see my work in print. If necessary, I will seek the funds to self-publish. In any case, I do look forward to it, although it may be a long while because I simply am not good at promoting myself or my work.

#3) Welcome to Oregon. What caught you by surprise here?

I visited Oregon many times over the years so I was pretty well prepared. However I was really surprised by Oregon drivers. They're very different from California drivers, and that's a good thing! I've noticed that Oregonians, for the most part, drive the speed limit; Californians don't. I've also noticed that Oregon drivers are much more courteous and patient than are their California counterparts. And Oregon drivers actually slow down when it rains! That's not something you see in California.

#4) Why do you think Twitter is cool?

For me, Twitter is a way to make a connection with others and become exposed to a number of things that others are doing right under my nose. I like following links to read about some of the things that are going on in Portland because each time I read something new, it kind of educates me a little more on Portland and Portlanders. I also like to read the tweets of people who post about their every day lives and frustrations. It's a very human way to connect.

#5) Words of advice for other 'empty nesters' like yourself?

I'm still trying to wrap myself around being an empty nester. There are days that I love it and days that I wish my kids were here with me. I guess you have to take each day as it comes and try to plan things to do that distract from missing the ones that aren't here. I have always done a lot of volunteer work in the community and I know that as soon as I am settled here, I will be looking at a couple of organizations that I would like to volunteer for. In California that volunteer work included working as a Crisis Line Counselor on the 24 hour sexual assault hotline. I'd like to do that again here. I also think I might be doing something with FreeGeek because I think that technology should be made more accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic means. There are other organizations I have my eye on, too.

#6) How would you order these values in terms of their priority in your life:

  • health
  • happiness
  • security
  • love
  • friendship
  • family

That's a tough one. Some of these seem to need to be placed higher than others because without them, you can't have others. So I'll take a stab at it...

FAMILY is always first, period.

Without HEALTH, you can't have or enjoy happiness or security or love.

HAPPINESS kind of encompasses SECURITY and FRIENDSHIP and LOVE.

#7) What has been your greatest obstacle in life and have you overcome it?

I am not a self promoter. I think that's the biggest thing I have working against me. There have been periods in my life that have offered me many opportunities and I have grabbed them but when it comes to tooting my own horn, I'm the last one to do that so many opportunities have simply disappeared because of that flaw. No, I haven't overcome it. It is, somehow not in my nature to do this. Or perhaps I need to see things differently in order to be able to take advantage of some of the things available to me.

#8) I'm curious about the kinds of books, movies, and other entertainment you enjoy.

I used to read a lot. These days my vision is failing so I don't read as much. I love legal thrillers and crime fiction. And I won't even try to hide the fact that I'm a sucker for a good love story. My favorite novel is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. I own a lot of movies on DVD because I love to watch them over and over and I don't get out much so if I don't watch on TV, I won't watch at all. My favorite movies include The Godfather (all three of them), To Kill A Mockingbird, It's A Wonderful Life, and anything with Andy Garcia, George Clooney, or Richard Gere. On TV I enjoy medical and legal dramas and I cannot turn my head from the "trash" of Desperate Housewives and the family topics that come up on ABC's Brothers and Sisters.

and.. #9) This is how I conclude all of my TV interviews: Is there anything I didn't touch on that you'd like to add?


And here's my interview conducted by J.P. Voilleque. Question #3 was actually several questions.. I'm not asking myself if I ever had a crush on a TV personality..