It turned out that James had been thinking about doing a blog for some time, and thought of calling it "The Loneliest Liberal," which he explained is based on "the fact that despite voting for Barack Obama twice, being a registered Democrat, actor, educator, yada yada yada—there are things that put me on the fringe. I'm a U.S. Marine (current Commandant General Amos sent out a memo: We can't say 'former') and a gun-owner. I like to watch NASCAR but hate the hillbilly patriotism. So what's a fella to do?"
He even allowed as how "Maybe writing for you isn't such a crazy idea after all." And he suggested that he could write about his plight as a liberal gun aficionado, or how we "MUST teach our children about art because as machines become more adept at...everything, all that will be left for us to do is that which is uniquely human," or his "crazy conspiracy theory that eventually computers will seek suffrage and then things are really going to get ugly."
We asked him to have at it, and could he start with a monthly column, maybe called "Second Saturday's Loneliest Liberal”? [First Saturdays are reserved for motomynd’s “Green 101”].
But then, nada. We didn't hear from James again. That really disappointed us, for he had proved that he's as charming in writing as in person.
We couldn't let that stand. We sought him out for an interview. [Our questions are in italics.]
James, why haven't you gotten back to us? Did we seem to have spinach in our teeth or something?
Well, currently I'm at the end of the semester at Fresno City College. Factor in my first semester juggling...Sorry, I’m teaching three classes and I am a bit overwhelmed.
That’s a relief—for us, anyway. We were starting to worry that we had turned your head and caused you to go looking for a better writing gig somewhere else. If we googled "james knudsen blog," what might we find?
There’s still no James Knudsen blog.
…There’s also a script I should be reading daily….
Or, we had been wondering, maybe you've just been hard at work on one of the ideas you suggested. And if we'd said that next, which one might that be?
The critical flaw with that statement is "hard at work."
Or, we were going to ask next, maybe monthly is too frequent? How fast do you write?
Better question: How fast can you edit?
Truthfully I'd say I'm on the fast side—with this qualifier, it just sorta comes out. I try and do my editing on the fly and while my style has been described as conversational, I will also take literary detours and who’s to say if I get back on the same road, in the same direction.
We’re very fast! Is Second Saturday not to your liking? Third? Fourth?
That sounds Catholic, like first Friday of the month.
Believe us, James, we don’t think there’s a Catholic thought in our body…Or could it be that you meet so many girls in the acting profession, you can't predict your availability for a solo activity like writing? How many girls have hit on you since the class reunion a year ago?
1. You have to act for that to happen.
2. I'm very fortunate to have met someone 33 months ago who is oddly lacking baggage.
3. I will shortly be invisible to the co-eds I teach.
Congratulations! And you’re even counting the months! And to think that our next question was: Horrors to think of, but if your not getting back to us has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of interest in the project, please tell us what has befallen you in the few weeks since we made our offer.
Just the aforementioned end-of-semester madness. I'm also slated to direct a play that will open at the end of February so there's that hanging over my head, and it’s looking uncomfortably like a guillotine. This will be my first full-length play directing assignment and it's clear I've already made some errors. I picked a play, first, that won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, so it has legs. But it doesn't have me...jazzed. And I have something of a siege mentality, and as yet I just sense the Mongol horde at the gate, so to speak.
What can we do to help? Moristotle may not pay its contributors (even its contributing editors, let alone its editor in chief), but we are good at sympathy and well-wishing.
I think something to remember is that I was trained by drill instructors. Give me a mission and I'll probably get it done. Please include a deadline.
THANK YOU, that knowledge sounds like something we can use. But—we were going to ask next—assuming the best, when do you expect to submit your first article, and will it be the first one of your new regular column, or just a one-off, with a second to follow whenever and maybe/maybe not?
Grades must be posted by the 17th, so that's yet another guillotine. I'm reasonably sure I can get an introductory piece done before Christmas. But then the new semester will start on January 7 and shortly after that I'll be rehearsing, during which there will come a time when I spend three weeks straight at the theatre. The good news is that a big chunk of my semester will be done by early March.
BEFORE CHRISTMAS! WONDERFUL! And our final question was going to be, and is: Is there a question (or questions) that you would have asked yourself if you had been leading this interview?
James, are you always this flaky?
Alas yes. But it's better than being doughy.
By the way, the impromptu monologue from Hamlet III, iii is the first Shakespeare piece I ever learned, some 25 years ago. King Lear someday. For now, I'm too young for Lear and too old for Edmund.