Jamie: You write, sequence music, garden and cook, among other various and sundry things. Which activity gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction in the end? Why?
Kay: What gives me the greatest satisfaction isn't an activity in itself, but is, I suppose, the motivation behind activity. I like to do things for people. The pleasure I receive directly from doing those things is much less significant than the pleasure I derive from other people's enjoyment of what I do. I write for my readers; I sequence music so that people can hear and enjoy works they might otherwise not have been able to; I like to give gifts of preserves, and, well, what's eating for if not pleasure?
Why? It's certainly a different reason than it used to be. Even until not too long ago, it was insecurity and poor self-image: I was quite sure that nobody liked me, but they certainly appreciated the things I could do. I was quite wrong, of course, but that's how it was. Now I think it's simply that I believe the old saw about a pleasure shared being a pleasure doubled.
Jamie: You mention in your bio that Wombat is one of your totems. When did Wombat first appear in your life? Was it random or did you call? Was it in direct response to a situation you were in that you needed guidance to get through, or did you just feel a natural kinship toward the furry little beastie? What has it taught you (or what does it signify to you)? (You can answer any or all of the above questions and, if you would be so kind, I have a bonus sub-question: What are some of your other totems?)
Kay: First appear? I'd say I would have been around ten or so. There were a couple of wombat characters in a kids' television show, and somehow we clicked. Ever since then I've become increasingly a wombat-magnet; more and more wombat-related things happened to me. It's a kinship thing rather than direct guidance: I've never had the Great Wombat Spirit manifest to me, or at least not in any form I'd recognise as such, but the toughness, tenacity, solidity, resistance to provocation coupled with ability to defend... they're good things. It's just tough having to be related to koalas.
Other totems... there are a couple. They don't encompass me quite so much, but there are bits of Snake and Raven in there. The dispassionate analytical mind and the thing with puzzles and sparklies, whether physical or mental.
Jamie: Imagine that I, through some miracle of scheduling, have managed to fly across the pond to spend some time with you in-person for the very first time. I've just decided to be unabashedly nosy and have asked you to share with me something that's important or dear to you--something that will give me a glimpse of what moves you or makes you tick. What is it that you show to, or do with me? (I'll accept a thing, an activity, a place, or whatever your large wombat heart desires.)
Kay: Actually you get two things for the price of one that way, but the first may not be an acceptable answer because you'd get it before you could get the chance to make the request. That first thing would be a hug - assuming you weren't radiating "Don't touch!" vibes, of course. See, I already know quite a bit about your head, and you mine; we have each other's phone numbers, so (modulo your phone-loathing) we could even have become familiar with each other's voices by that time - what would be lacking is the physical knowledge. I'd want to share how I feel to hold and be held; where our hands would start and end on each other; whether it's an easy fit or one that'll take adjustment - you know, all the stuff that really only can be known and shared through the skin.
The second thing would probably be in or around London, since you'd probably be flying in to Gatwick or Heathrow. The thing is, flying east is always grim, and you'd probably be all achey and tired and definitely not in need of stimulation, so obvious things I like in London such as galleries, museums or would really be out, unless you felt up to it. I'd also want you to meet my friends, but again that would probably be better left until later. No - I think I have it. I'd like to show you York, the city where I lived for the first eighteen years of my life. It's 'home' in a way that nowhere else ever can be, and I could show you all kinds of interesting things that don't tend to show up on the tourist trails.
Jamie: A clock (that ticks), an egg timer, a metronome, and a heartbeat. Of the four, which do you prefer and why?
Kay: In a heartbeat - a heartbeat. It's responsive, human, in ways that the other three aren't. They're 'for doing'; a heartbeat is 'for being'.
Jamie: If you were given the opportunity to program one piece of knowledge--be it a phrase, a piece of advice, or whatever--into the minds of all newborn children from this point on, what would it be?
Kay: This question has already had me thinking for longer than answering all the others together took. If I'm to be the only person who can do this, and I'm allowed only the one piece, then it would have to be the 'most important' thing possible, or the opportunity would feel wasted somehow. But is there a 'most important' that could apply everywhere, to everyone, and forever after?
I'm still thinking...
I'm going to go for very practical advice, which, despite the obviousness of it, obviously isn't obvious, or there wouldn't be the continuous refrain of "RTFM!" and similar cries of despair: "If you don't know something, find someone who does."
Thank you for asking those questions, Jamie - they provided an opportunity for some interesting thinking. They were all pretty tough apart from the 'timers' one, and the last... sheesh, that's a stinker. I'm still not sure I gave an adequate answer.
As usual - c'mon, you all know this game by now - if anyone wishes to be interviewed by me, drop a comment below and I'll try to think of five good questions for you.