Well, here it is, as promised (or threatened). The post where I answer the questions from last Tuesday’s award acceptance. There was even interest in my archaeology work. Apparently I haven’t killed your curiosity about it with my Poetic Archaeology posts. So, ready or not, here we go.
The General Questions
If you could choose to be remembered for one thing only, what would it be? (Vanessa Chapman)
This was the hardest question to answer. In some ways, I’d like to leave a minimal footprint on the planet. But if I’m remembered for any length of time, I hope it would be as someone who tried to do the right thing and was a nice person to be around. Is that two things? If so, cut it off at doing the right thing.
If you were stranded on a tropical island, list the following things you’d want to have with you: one friend; one mode of entertainment; one survival tool; one food; one skill. (4amwriter)
If I could only have one , I’d go with the survival tool. If I could have one thing from each category, I’d choose my husband, who’s also one of my best friends, a musical instrument that doesn’t require batteries or electricity, a good Swiss Army knife, Belgian chocolate, and the ability to build a fire from scratch.
Do your work colleagues know you write fiction, or do you keep it to yourself? (Carrie Rubin)
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but not because I don’t want them to know or I’m embarrassed about it. A part of me is toying with the idea of seeing if anyone figures it out once I do get the books published. My family and friends know I’m writing.
If you could travel to any time, any place, where would it be and what would you hope to achieve/experience there? (Mskatykins)
Now that’s a great question for someone who’s writing a book with time travel! The temptation to try to “fix” something would be so great—prevent Lincoln’s assassination, for example. If the “Grandfather Paradox” is true, however, Nature would find a way to prevent you from doing that—possibly killing you to do so. I’m not going to risk that. I’d like to go back to 1780s Virginia and meet my brick wall of a GGGG grandfather so I could ask him about his family. Who the heck were his parents? And where did they come from? Learning that information shouldn’t affect the past, so Nature shouldn’t have a problem with it. Then I’d look up other brick wall ancestors. Getting the chance to experience history as they lived it would be fascinating (as long as I didn’t catch the plague or something like that).
Imagine your life as a writer was made into a movie — who would play YOU? (Brigitte)
I’m thinking Stana Katic, currently on Castle. If an actor of Serbian/Croatian descent can play an Irish detective, then surely she can play an archaeologist and writer of Serbian-Irish-Greek-English-Czech-Scots-Welsh-Dutch-French-German descent, don’t you think?
The Archaeology Questions
What was a meaningful moment for you during your archaeological career? (Anne Woodman)
This may not be what you’d expect. I intended to do Maya archaeology in Central America and Mexico. I did Master’s fieldwork in Honduras and worked in Mexico for dissertation research. But the sexism and chauvinism were more than I wanted to deal with. Had they come only from local men, maybe I would have persevered—that’s part of their culture. But seeing it from male colleagues directed toward female colleagues was more than I would take. I switched to North American archaeology.
What is your favorite discovery and why? (Lisa Anne Hayes)
It’s something so insignificant, I don’t think twice about it today. But it was something from my first archaeological field school. It was the first flake I properly recognized. In Illinois, there’s a lot of “glacial till” in the fields. Basically, till is gravel and rocks that were caught up in ice as the glaciers moved southward. When the glaciers melted, they dropped those bits of stone. Learning to recognize “chipping debris” in all that background noise takes some practice. That’s when I knew I’d be able to identify even small, ephemeral sites on my own.
Are you an Indiana Jones fanatic or do you pick movies like that apart because Hollywood gets things wrong? (Char)
As long as I turn off my internal archaeologist, I enjoy movies like the Indiana Jones stories. They can be a lot of fun. Personally, I don’t think they should have made the last one. That plot was just too far-fetched and stereotyped for me. (Come on, Russian Cossack dancing in the rain forest?) And there’s no way Indy would survive his “escape” from the Nevada test site. Things like that are hard for me to get past, but not because I’m an archaeologist. There are just some areas where I can’t “suspend disbelief.” (Note to self — be careful about that when writing novels!)
So there you have the answers to all the questions posed. You can wake up now.