Alrighty, the second interview in the "Share Your World" series! This one I was particularly excited about because of the location. Hawaii is truly a paradise. I've been to the "5-0 State" six times. Each time was like going for the first time. Each time there was this temptation to just stay. Like, okay I'll just not take that return flight and figure it out or some such. Last year would have been trip number seven, but the Virus threw a wrench in those plans. Still, the times I was there, the views, the weather, the feeling, and the hula...well, since this interview isn't about me, I'll just leave it there.
But get at me later, we'll spill the tea.
Lisa Sparrell calls Hawaii home. Her "Reports from the Lanai" encapsulates in one tweet what it means to live in Paradise. Here are a couple of examples:
Thursday evening lanai report. 79° and all the clouds are clustered around the sun, showing their dark side to we who are down below. The sun will be gone in half an hour. I'll still be here. - December 2, 2021
Tuesday evening lanai report: 75°, and every time I think about moving out of Waikiki, I get a night like tonight, with clouds and yellow sky and black sea layered like those sand paintings you buy at the fair. - January 4, 2022
Okay, what say we get down to the meat and potatoes?
KD: So here's the lead off. Say you stepped off the lanai and on the world stage, give us an overall scope of what makes Lisa, Lisa.
Lisa Sparrell: What makes me, me? Curiosity and a desire to understand how and why pretty much defines the course of my life. This can mean I'm distractible. Curiosity has led me to travel and try living anywhere. When I was in college, I took a semester in Latvia because no one else at our school had done it and I didn't know anything about the Baltic states. When the love of my life asked me to move to Barrow (now Utqiagvik) from Seattle, I didn't hesitate because I didn't know what it was like to live there and hadn't known anyone who did. I want to know how people live where they live, what they do, how they talk to each other. My mom always said, "if people live there, there's a way to live there," and I try to figure out what that is.
KD: "If people live there, there's a way to live there." That's pure wisdom right there. What do you do for relaxation? I mean, I'm assuming the lanai plays a part, right?
Lisa Sparrell: Relaxation. Haha. Yes, the lanai has played a role, especially this past year. When I find myself with a lot of anxiety, it usually means I've been in my head and haven't been outside. For about the last year, I've made it a point to have coffee on my lanai as the sun rises (I'm awake anyway) and/or a beer after stopping work and starting on dinner. It's been really important since work moved home to have a separation between "office" time and life. Sitting on the lanai, I watch the clouds and the ocean. I listen to the sounds--birds, buses, people. It's the same framework but a different picture every day. People come here on vacation to have this kind of view and this kind of relaxation. It'd be a shame for me not to take advantage of it and appreciate it every day.
I also bake like crazy. Mostly breads. Having a finite project that's a combo of science and creativity helps me focus my anxious energy.
And, there's exercise. Never thought I would be one of those people, but now I notice when my body hasn't moved enough. Right now, I love the lyra (aerial hoop) because it requires strength, concentration, and eventually grace.
KD: As readers probably guessed from this interview's intro, Hawaii is one of my fave spots. But as a resident, give us an inside glimpse of what you love about your neck of the woods.
Lisa Sparrell: The best thing about where I live is the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture. There's a connectedness to the earth here, a more reasonable pace, a rhythm. You have to slow down and listen to benefit from it, though.
KD: I am so inclined to agree, as would most who have visited for any length time. One sentence parenting advice. And...go.
Lisa Sparrell: Read to your kid every single day from the time you bring it home.
KD: Okay, so...uh...engagement questions on Twitter. Uh...thoughts?
Lisa Sparrell: Engagement questions annoy me. They feel disingenuous. No one's trying to learn or explore a topic. It's just for superficial interaction and numbers.
KD: I mean, every time I see an engage-...never mind. Music, movies, books - faves?
Lisa Sparrell: Maybe another time. Too many to list.
KD: Agreed, I'll save that one for a future interview. Coffee, tea, or...?
Lisa Sparrell: Is this an engagement question? But, coffee. Always coffee.
KD: Ahh! I see what ya did there. Nice! How would you describe yourself as far as personality and character?
Lisa Sparrell: My friends have nicer words for me than I do.
KD: And how do you think your friends would describe you?
Lisa Sparrell: See previous response.
KD: Alright, I'm gonna need Lisa's friends to holla at me. Gonna need one of y'all to spill the tea! Where do you land on the introvert - extrovert scale?
Lisa Sparrell: So introverted. I'm not afraid of public speaking. I don't mind crowds. But, I like smaller, more meaningful interactions, and people still wear me out. I always need some alone time to recharge.
KD: I can totally understand and respect that. How active are you on social media?
Lisa Sparrell: Too active lately, especially with Twitter.
KD: What, to you, is the greatest aspect of America?
Lisa Sparrell: Its diversity.
KD: What do you feel is the greatest issue facing America today?
Lisa Sparrell: Also its diversity. Lots of diversity of thought and culture and need leads to some inevitable clashes.
KD: That's an interesting perspective. Okay, so name something you wish you would have known or learned way earlier than you did?
Lisa Sparrell: Still trying to learn it--I don't need to be what others need from me. I don't need to build a life around trying not to upset people because I'm afraid of losing their affection. I will always have myself.
KD: Pet peeves?
Lisa Sparrell: Hmm. I have some grammatical ones, of course. In terms of behaviors? When someone tries to tell me how to do something I'm already doing or know how to do well. Like, in my kitchen for example. Anyone who comes in and tries to tell me where things should be or how I should be putting a meal together. Big nope.
KD: I like, just had this image of you swatting the back of someone's hand for trying to rearrange your utensils. What is your biggest accomplishment of 2021? What's a goal you have for 2022?
Lisa Sparrell: Biggest accomplishment is keeping me and my daughter healthy and mostly sane through the pandemic. I had also set goals for submitting essays, and I submitted four (only one turned down so far, no answers on three). I devoted a little more time and space to writing. Goals for 2022--transition to part-time at my day job this summer and actively pursue writing and submitting work.
KD: Nothing like writing, huh? If time and chance affords a future interview, perhaps you could speak on your writings? But for now, here's a good one - what's an unpopular opinion you stand by?
Lisa Sparrell: Hah! I probably have a lot of unpopular opinions, naturally all well reasoned.
KD: Yeah, Lisa's friends? Get at me, okay? So, what are things that you wouldn't mind others knowing about you and your world?
Lisa Sparrell: I don't mind people knowing that I'm widowed. I don't mind people knowing about all of the difficult feelings that go with that and trying to raise a kid alone. I don't mind people knowing that I'm in therapy, trying to see this "power" my shrink tells me I have. I don't mind people knowing how much love I have in my life--my friends are the best anyone could ask for, and I've done nothing to deserve them. Same with my daughter.
KD: Just from the outside looking in, you strike me as having an inner strength that shows in your tweets - and from a couple of your responses in this interview. If others would like to reach out and connect, what would be a preferred method?
Lisa Sparrell: Social media is the best way to reach me. I'm fine with DMs as long as they're respectful. Twitter is good. My Insta is all food pics (I think I'm @vpsharpthings over there too).
KD: I put your Twitter handle as a link to make it easy for peeps to find you. Last item, with each interview I'll provide a chance to get a plug or two in. Any business or project or website you'd like to highlight or promote?
Lisa Sparrell: Those Who Favor Fire blog on WordPress, but I haven't written anything there in months. It's probably good for anyone dealing with grief and loss. They can see my mess and feel less alone.
KD: I also put Those Who Favor Fire as a link for anyone who'd like to check the site out. Thank you for being a part of my "Share Your World" series. I'll see ya around Twitter. Looking forward to the next Report from the Lanai!
My thanks to Lisa Sparrell for sharing her world with me...with us. And, as before, my thanks to you, the reader, for engaging in this series!
I dunno, I guess my thing is this - with so much division in this world, maybe the key to at least some semblance of unity is to try to understand each other. Learn a bit more about each other. Perhaps that starts with sharing just a bit of our world with each other? Maybe, maybe not. But let's at least give it a shot, shall we?