Peopleized is fun. This time, I've interviewed the keepers of Urban Thought, which brings a refreshing perspective to the blogosphere, and Wayward Son, my freqent commenter and publisher of Crystal Clean Persuasion, a recovery blog that I read regularly.
thejunkyswife: I was interested in interviewing you because I haven't bumped into too many folks with an urban perspective in the blogosphere. It may just be my niche, but it seems to be the province of stay-at-home moms and computer nerds...what brought you to the world of blogging? Do you think my generalizations are accurate in any way?
Urban Thought: The world of blogging was introduced to me by a friend of mine. When my friend launched his site I thought to myyself 'that seems like a cool idea.' I was looking for a hobby at the time to occupy my time. It also was supposed to be a platform for me to showcase my photography.
There is some truth to generalizations. I wasn't aware of other urbanites (folk) that were involved in blogging until I actually started. But I'm not a stay-at-home mom or a computer nerd.
You're never truly aware of the world outside your window until you open it and stick your head out.
thejunkyswife: What's your goal as a blogger?
Urban Thought: My goal as a blogger is to reach people and engage them in thought. I just thought that up. When I started blogging it was only a means of killing time and exploring my creative side (still a work in progress). But at the end of the day if I can provoke thought then I feel a sense of accomplishment.
thejunkyswife: Where do you get your ideas for things to write about?
Urban Thought: My ideas for writing come from daily observations of my environment. In addition, the web, newspapers, radio, television, and movies play a big role in source material.
thejunkyswife: This isn't a question, I just wanted to say it. I like your music reviews. The personal take is refreshing and honest. You can respond if you have anything to say to that.
Urban Thought: Thank you. I appreciate that.
My approach in reviewing music is the most creative I've been on the blog. The commentary is true to my personality.
thejunkyswife: And that said, while much of your blog feels really personal, I don't get much of a sense of who you are. What's up with that stance...the juxtaposition between being really forthright and revealing a lot about yourself through your opinions but not really revealing much about YOU (where you are, what you look like, etc) creates an interesting tension...
Urban Thought: My life is tension.
Funny you should comment on that. People say that about me who have known me for years. My personality is the same on my blog as it is in my day-to-day life.
I'm not the type to reveal myself. I have a need for affords me the privacy I hold close to my heart while letting me express myself freely.
Besides, people like mystery (until they get bored with it).
Wayward Son of Crystal Clean Persuasion
TJW: First things first, did you choose your "wayward son" name after the song? If the answer is yes, explain. If the answer is no, then where did you get the name from?
WS: No, I’m not carrying on. The moniker Wayward Son was born out of my sister referring to me as the prodigal son. She is this odd combination of an Evangelical and an Episcopalian. I am otherwise evangelical phobic. But I love my sister because she talks the talk AND she walks the walk. The only thing I have in common with Joseph, the prodigal son of biblical lore, is that I am the youngest. The similarity ends there. Wayward son was a better fit to my way of thinking.
TJW: In your blog, you sometimes very eagerly talk about your recovery, and sometimes you seem to avoid the subject. Why do you think that is?
WS: As you know, don’t like to dwell in my addiction much. For me recovery has turned out to be about recovering from a life neglected more than a life addicted. I try and keep my attention on where I am going and less on where I came from. Sometimes I am drawn back to the lessons learned. But if I don’t keep looking forward, it will be pointless to have learned them. That and writing too much about my addiction bores me. I can only imagine it would be just as boring for anyone else.
TJW: How did you get clean? What made you realize it was time?
WS: The decision came to me when I had reached a point that I had to quit using if I wanted to continue living. I am talking about food and shelter mostly. If I were to continue to use I would have had to become a person I did not want to be. That was the stepping off point. The initial act of not using was just a temporary one in my mind. But between the requisite chemical backlash of severe depression and the physiological effects of detoxing, I had a fleeting moment of inexplicable joy. I knew then I wanted to quit for good. I wanted to have a life and to feel joy—two things I had come to understand that had been clearly absent during the last ten years or so.
TJW: If I were to describe your writing with one word, it would probably be "compassionate." You take on a lot of big world issues, from writing about the war to writing about the animals you help. (Sounds almost like you might be gearing up to join the ranks of the codependent! Hah!) Tell me a little about your deeply personal interest in world affairs...
WS: There was the point in the Iraq war when the insurgency began to become a very public horror that things changed for me in a way I could not have ever imagined. I was home in my apartment alone one afternoon and sitting in my bedroom. I don’t recall what I was doing at the time but since I was awake I can assure you I was high. The television was blaring in the living room but I wasn’t paying any attention to what was being broadcast. When the news came on the lead story was about Nick Berg, the independent contractor who was kidnapped by extremist and beheaded with a handsaw. It was videotaped and posted on the Web. The newscaster was saying how the video had over two million hits before a full day had past since it was posted. I remember thinking why would anyone willingly choose to view such a thing?
Up to that point in time, the war had no place in my reality nor in my consciousness. Then the newscaster went on to describe what had happened on the video. When he started describing how Nick began to scream, I flew into the living room and desperately tried to turn off the television. It was this complex setup with six remotes and big huge television with the audio feed running through a sound system. I managed to get the picture off but the audio portion of the broadcast was still blaring. I was scrambling to just turn it off so I would not have to hear about this unbelievably cruel act. I was never going to be able to not be conscious of this war again. Furthermore, I was going to be angry—no, enraged for the next three years, falling deeper and deeper into my drug use but to no avail. The rage would not abate because the world is in a horrible state of existence and there is much more cruelty coming at us from all sides.
I am still learning how to be compassionate. It is the best cure unfathomable despair.
TJW: Tell me about the phrase "Joy Is My Beacon."
WS: Because of that fleeting moment of joy I felt soon after I quit, I made the quest for joy my purpose It’s more than an affirmation. It is why I am here.