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Spotlight On Writers
- Where, do you hail from?
Where I am from is toughest in this prompt. I could be lazy and write that I've lived mostly in Boston — 40 years, or be pretentious and claim to be like Odysseus, traveling to many cities and knowing the thought of each. I have lived or gone to school in OK, two places in Japan, Denver, two places in WV, two in VA, one in NJ, in SC, GA and a decade in NYC's Greenwich Village. However, pressed, I think of where my mother's family was and where I spent 15 summers and holidays, orchard and farm country WV in the Eastern Panhandle. I can say I am a Romney lad.
- What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The natural beauty of the Potomac Highlands makes the locals kind.
- What turns you on creatively?
Learning new things catalyzes me. Hell would be living the same day repeatedly. In jobs and writing, not learning brings both ennui and impatience.
- What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
Boustrophedon is splendid in sound, meaning, and implication. Words snaking and reversing down a page is as intriguing as the visual of a farmer plowing with an ox. Boustrophedonic ancient texts avoided spaces and punctuation, involving the reader in the meaning.
I plow my life as a boustrophedon, forever covering the field, yet forever turning, and again.
- What is your pet peeve?
I largely, but unhappily, restrain myself when speakers and writers misuse classical terms (the data shows or the hoi polloi) or acronyms (ATM machine or PIN number).
- What defines Michael Ball?
The last seems a trick. For background, I lived in the Woodbourne section of the Forest Hills area of Jamaica Plain for two decades. The original owner of the area built houses for himself and a few of his children there. One daughter was disabled and a serious reader. She loved Sir Walter Scott's romantic novel Guy Mannering; or, The Astrologer, she had Dad name their house, and thus the area, after the mansion in that book. It is now full of arts-and-crafts houses. I raised my sons there and associate it with my writing and photography. Woodbourne is my non-political handle. That's opposed to my political massmarrier, which came from many years of a blog that started advancing marriage equality (Marry in Massachusetts) and from performing seven marriages either under petitioning the governor or from a Universal Life ministry.