Awful Interview: Micah Ling

23 Mar

Micah Ling believes in poetry like she believes in shampooing. If she didn’t grow up to be a poet, she’d have found herself on the cover of the Sports Illustrated with a huge Nike Swoop (or maybe she runs in Asics or Adidas; if so, I’m sorry, Micah), or perhaps working as a dental hygienist, polishing up some smiles.

So, you’ve just moved to Indy, yeah?

Yeah! Right downtown, which is cool–like living in a real city. Like being a real person in a real city with city food and sidewalk to walk a city dog on. A lot like that.

Now that you’ve moved to a relatively metro area, are you going to like, take lunch breaks and walk around downtown and write about eating sandwiches and buying newspapers?

Oh yeah. I’ve already taken to planning out my lunch break as soon as I get to the office. I mean, I don’t have an office, and I still commute to the tiny towns of Greencastle and Franklin to teach, but if I did have an office in the city, I would totally start talking about lunch as soon as I got to there. And I’d spend the rest of my day after lunch working on my new collection of poems, Lunch Poems. Has that been done?

I don’t know. It sounds vaguely familiar, but I don’t really like poetry. Don’t read much of it. I don’t get it, you know?

Oh, I totally understand. I generally expect that reaction. Teaching poetry is like teaching people how to floss; initially they’re like, “What? I don’t need this! I brush!” And it hurts a little–sometimes there’s blood. But then afterward, they’re like, “Wow, I’m really glad I did that.” And they promise to keep doing it, but, most don’t. And then every once in a while a student will come back to see me–one who has kept with it–and goddamn, they’ve got the best smile.

That was a really great extended metaphor. I mean, you really pulled that one off. I can see why you’re a good poet. I do need to floss more. I have these molars in the back that are slightly off-kilter, and cause a lot of problems with build up if I don’t floss and Listerine and stuff. It’s all very weird. I hate dentists. Hey, would you ever go to a dentist that had someone give you a hand or foot massage while they were dentally hygeining you?

That’s a really good question. Really good. I’m pretty ashamed of my feet. Isn’t that sad? Did you imagine, when you read that, feet with little sad faces? Like, Eeyore-looking feet? That’s kind of how I think of my feet–like Eeyores. I’ve been a runner since I was a kid. I used to ride my bike next to my father when he was training for a marathon, and then when I was big enough, I started running. Anyway, I have high-arches and, what I consider to be, ugly feet. So I’ve never been big on foot massages, but you know what I love?! Having my hair washed. Is that weird? I’ve had short hair for about 2 years, so I get my hair cut fairly often now, and having someone wash my hair is…really great for me. If I could go to a dentist (or get my oil changed, or deposit a check at the bank, or grocery shop) and have my hair washed at the same time, yeah, I’d sign up for that.

Oh hell yeah. I used to fall asleep at the barber whenever they’d wash my hair. That shit is amazing. So, do you get any inspiration from running? I’ve read some writers talking about how running is the perfect exercise for writers for various reasons.

Inspiration?! No, I’m just trying to make a new name for poets as “the hot writers.” I think poetry should be more physical anyway; like, maybe a physical test every year. Can’t run a 7-minute mile? Sorry, not a poet. Seems like we could hang onto some of that federal funding if we were worthy of a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s one of my many goals: poetry in Sports Illustrated.

Seriously, though (not that I’m not serious about Sports Illustrated), running is my meditation. I run 5 or 6 miles a day and it’s a way for me to think about things in a digestible way. Think, think, think, breathe, avoid puddle, don’t get hit by car, think, think, think, breathe. As long as I continue to not get hit by cars, it’ll continue to be part of my writing process.

But also, seriously though, you’re all about poets looking hot. It’s okay to admit it. And, if I do say so myself, Vouched Presents this Saturday is a pretty dang attractive line-up. Any final words to anyone on the fence about attending? Or to anyone at all, really?

Hey, all I’m saying is that everyone likes a handsome cover. I do. I prefer a very handsome cover; and muscular, and a little scruffy. Wait…what was the question? Oh, people on the fence: “What in the world, people on the fence?! How is it even reasonable to sit on a fence? The Vouched Presents reading will certainly have chairs, and beer, and lots of handsome covers; can you say any of that about your cold, cold fence? I doubt it very much.”

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One Response to “Awful Interview: Micah Ling”

  1. marathon runner bracelet September 10, 2014 at 2:28 am #

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