the beach at Arbroath, Scotland

31 May 2004
from the mail bag

Have you had any real "life-defining" moments yet? Explain.

life-defining experiences, yes. single solitary moments, not so much. the two i can think of are intimately connected with my development as an artist: one was the PA Governor's School for the Arts, which was a summer program i went to when i was 17. it opened up my eyes to many things: the art world and world in general outside of Lebanon, that there were people who were just passionate and consumed by their art as i was (and that i wasn't a freak for it), and that i could make a life (and a living) for myself as an artist. i met so many wonderful people there, most of whom i haven't talked to in years.

the other was going to Scotland last summer. not so much Scotland itself, but how i chose to process being there. i think sometimes you have be in certain places to allow parts of you to open up. what i felt during that month and immediately after is something i am still trying to regain and recreate.

Do you believe there is a God, and why or why not? What are your thoughts about organized religion?

god? no idea. i'm not sure if i'm supposed to know, really. i went through a self-righteous atheist phase and a ho-hum agnostic phase, and now i have to say that my religious beliefs are something i like to call secular humanism: in other words, i believe in the ability of the human race to be enough for itself. to redeem itself, if you want to call it that, without an omnipotent unknown power from above interceding.

as for organized religion, it works for many people. it doesn't for me. and i'm really fine with that (i wish more people were). in my opinion, the whole concept of organized religion has done just about as much bad as it has good. which i guess makes it fairly neutral in terms of its effect on the world. ha.

Which group(s) did you hang with in high school? Do you find you still tend to chill with the same type of homies now?

i've always been one of those people who gravitates to a few select people, instead of having a large group of friends. in high school, i didn't belong to a group - i wasn't outcast enough to be with the outcasts, i didn't wear enough eyeliner for the goths, i wasn't intellectually cutthroat enough to be with the honor kids, and i was too weird to hang out with the chorus kids. so i straddled a few groups, and found a few close friends who did the same thing.

if i had to pick out a similarity in the people i hung out with in high school to the people i hang out today, it's that they all make me laugh. an absolute must (an absolute must for all significant others, as well). they also must like going out to nice restaurants and dropping a lot of money on good food.

What is the bestest thing you can tell me about Bethany?

that i am very driven. i don't give up. i can be very single-minded, which can be both a good and bad thing.

Do you have a particular "cause"?

i have always been pretty passionate about abortion rights. i am vehemently, vehemently pro-choice, and have always been and will always be. i could talk about it until i'm blue in the face, but been there, done that. time to put the soapbox in storage.

since my dad changed jobs and started working at the counseling agency, i've also become increasingly more aware and active in working on sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape issues.

So did you ever end up mosaic-ing your parent's house? (What about a source for surplus tiles?)

i didn't (i mentioned this notion in an entry a long, long time ago that i'm too lazy to dredge up at the moment). one of my many unrealized projects. i do, however, have a source for tiles should i ever need them - my job. we sell them by the box - unglazed, of course.

Have you ever stolen anything? Elaborate.

i stole a piece of candy from a Murphy's when i was six years old. my mom saw me and waited until i was hidden in my room, about to eat it, to confront me about it. she made me go back to the store the next morning (before kindergarden), found the manager, and made me apologize to him.

parents, take note: i have never stolen anything since.

If you had "it all" to do over again, what one thing would you do differently?

i was such a fucking drag in high school. i was moody and pissy and self-absorbed and angry. i wish i could've enjoyed myself during high school more, taken myself less seriously, been more able to say "fuck you" to the establishment and done what i knew was right for me at the time. i wish i had been braver, both personally and intellectually. i wish i could've figured out how to dress in something other than tents. i wish i had given more to the people around me. these are a lot of the things i still wish for myself now. i would give anything to go back about seven years and kick everyone's asses around the curb.

that and i would've been a little less clueless during my college search.

Give up some dirt on the roommates? Go on ahead and vent, girl.

oy. i think i am tapped out on that one. only two months to go until i am out of here. never did find my cooking pot. i am holding payment of the cable bill to Liz hostage until it surfaces. fat fucking chance.

What is it that draws you to New York? Have you ever been mugged or scared in some way? (Big cities scare and thrill me!)

New York is the center of the universe. anyone who tells you otherwise is just jealous. i went through the "New York is so played out and i should really move to Sante Fe" phase, but i was just kidding myself. i visited there for the first time when i was 14 and i've wanted to live there ever since. there are so many people i love in that city, that's 90% of the reason. the other 10% of the reason is this: to say i've lived in New York, and survived.

never been mugged in New York (or anywhere else), not even close. the city's actually pretty safe, as far as my experience goes. and i've actually found New Yorkers are nicer than Philadelphians. the only times i've really been scared was in Philly, and that was just because i put myself in potentially dumb and hazardous situations. Philadelphians are big into intimidation (i think it's the inferiority complex, really), and that can be scary.

Tell me more about your art.

i talk about it a lot, i know, so i'll just be overly dramatic and say this: if i didn't have my art as an outlet, i'd probably be dead. strange but true.

(this has been a rather tardy Wordgoddess collaboration. questions provided by the lovely Becky. i'll try to be on time next month)

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