Tuesday, April 05, 2005

PeggiKaye Interviews Me

The meme spreads...pretty soon I'll be interviewing Barbara Walters.

1. Start with an easy one: Why did you choose your blog name?

Ok - The Inn of the Last Home is the name of a fictional inn from the Dragonlance series of fantasy novels. It's the "home base" of the main characters in the stories, and serves as a respite and gathering place for the principles when in their brief periods of downtime. My wife and I have always joked that if we ever bought one of those beach houses that people have given cutesy names to, like "Sea Haven" or "Gulf Bungalow" we would name our "Inn of the Last Home," so our friends and family would always know they were welcome. So when I created the site I wanted it to be a "calm spot in a world of dragons," where people could come escape some of the heated rhetoric and side-taking of some other sites and hopefully enjoy some interesting stories and conversation.

I don't know - have I succeeded?

2. What has been the hardest & most rewarding thing of being a parent?

The hardest thing so far (our kids are 9 and 5, and I'm certain the problems evolve accordingly as they get older) has been a constant, nagging fear that I will do or say something wrong at a critical time...or not do or say something at a critical time that should've been done or said, that will cause some harm or otherwise neglect to our children when they need it the most. I tend to over-obsess (is that a hyperbole?) when they're sick, or seem to be sick. Only recently have I let them venture out of the confines of the yard by themselves to visit a neighbor. I hear so many stories about kids who had loving parents and good homes, but turned out to be rebellious and causing tremendous family strain - I can't allow that happen if there's something I can do to prevent it. I want to be the best father I can be, at all times and in all ways - any less than that I consider a personal failure and a source of potential harm to the kids. That's a hard obsession to fight.

The most rewarding thing I think is simply spontaneous hugs and kisses from them. I'm sitting by yourself, reading a book or watching TV, and Tink will trot by, hop up on my lap and give me a hug, saying, "I love you, daddy". Then snuggle in. That's the reward like no other, there, and evidence I must be doing something right...

3. If your life was a sporting team, what kind of team would it be, and what position (player) would be missing to make it the most balanced, highest quality team possible?

My life is a baseball team - many specialties, all working together for the common good. No DH - no shortcuts for me. Everyone pulls his weight. The one thing that I'm lacking is a good Relief Pitcher... that one guy who comes in during the middle-late innings to pick up the pace and push through in the stretch toward winning the game. I'm afraid I may become complacent, eventually in life. Right now I figure in my life it's about the top of the fourth, and my starter is still in - but who knows? I need to have confidence about the future that everything is well taken care of...

4. If your life was the team stated above, and you had to sell that team to a buyer, what qualities would you say it had to make it worth the buy?

The players and coaching staff would be honorable, and worth the investment made in them. They would play fair, with sportsmanship and creativity - not always going for the orthodox or standard type of game, but finding ways to improvise and improve on existing strategies. They would be able to understand the other teams strengths and weaknesses, and deal with them accordingly. Finally they would win with grace and lose with dignity but realize that the important thing is to enjoy the ride.

5. If there was on turning point in your life that you could say changed the direction of your life, what would that be, and why?

Ok, here's one I hadn't really thought of until you asked. After I graduated from college with a degree in Theatre, I applied to several schools for graduate study in Directing. Although I was accepted at most of them, none of them came through with the financial support I would have needed to continue my education at that level, so I soon abandoned the prospect of going on to grad school. Incidentally, all of the schools (except for Memphis State) were outside of Tennessee.

Had I decided to attend, it would have taken my away from Laura who was at the time my girlfriend, but not yet a fiancee. Since we both stayed in Knoxville after she did graduate from UT Grad School, we got jobs and built careers here in town.

If I had gone out of town to Graduate School and gotten an M.F.A, who knows where that might have taken me? The career track for directing M.F.A.'s is either into Artistic Director-ship at professional theatres, or traveling around the country to direct shows wherever. Either one might've signaled the end to our relationship, which would've meant our present together with our family would've been nonexistent.

Strange what happens in life, isn't it?

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