Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An Interview with Courtney Anderson

I only know one person who can run a twenty miler every other Saturday and still walk, and I definitely only know one person who can do that and still wax rhapsodical about Bob Marley and the joys of copy editing. That person is Courtney Anderson, also known as C-ney, Court, and CMA, and I've been fortunate to know her for the last fourteen years, not least because few others understand the dark depths of an Ithaca winter and the pain of a cracked metatarsal!

CGCWhat do you think is the most underrated bit of English grammar, the subjunctive or the gerund?

CMA: Hmm. I'd have to say the subjunctive. Mostly because my only exposure to it came in 5th grade Spanish class! I also think it's an interesting mode. French, Spanish, and Italian all have a much greater range when it comes to describing action, especially infusing emotion into action. For example, Italian, particularly in the southern areas, uses a remote past tense for things that happened a very long time ago. An entire set of conjugations to learn! But, you can see how seriously they take describing life in all of its trajectories and emotions. I'm sorry to admit it (and on the 4th of July!) but Spanish, French, and Italian really kick butt in this department. I could go on here and really should stop. I will say that French is stunning and learning it is a complete delight especially when it comes to attempts at transliteration—there is a story in almost every word.

Nantucket, of which CMA is the running queen
CGCIf you could rename the Rock Run after anyone, who would it be?

CMA: Tough question—have to think about this and get back to you. I will say that my sister Aimee was immensely supportive throughout the entire experience. From our first conversation when I mentioned, "has anyone run around the island?" to having to tell me the news before the newspaper did, she was my rock for all of it. She still is.

CGCWhy is Margaret Wise Brown the greatest children's picture book author of all time?

CMA: Showing, not telling, the importance of togetherness and unconditional love, when I read her books I feel tremendous calm and peace. Using nature and the wilderness, she highlights the beauty in exploring the world around you with all of your senses. She uniquely captures the ebb and flow of life. It's not dumbed down; it's soulful and sensitive.

CGCHow would you describe a winter in upstate New York to someone who had never left Honolulu?

CMA: Wow. Um, can you? Ha, ha! I guess I would focus on the positives. Cornell heats its buildings so that Honolulu attire is completely appropriate despite 8 feet of snow outside. So, dress in layers. You just have to make it to the buildings before you start to numb out. The quiet of snow is something I really miss. It's beautiful—so exquisite, that you almost forget the pain. Running is incredible, except for black ice. Watching it fall through the streetlights is almost spiritual.

CGCDefine poetry.

CMA: Ha, ha! When I read this question, I could hear Mr. Isham's voice and the same slight fear surfaced. Here's an attempt: Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. But, the one we memorized I think had, "delight the senses and engage the imagination"...Donna Lee remembers it! Entirely too worried with diagramming sentences, wonderful memories, like this one, have unfortunately faded. Thank you for resurfacing!

1 comment:

  1. I'm changing to the gerund. Out of the basement of the pluperfect subjunctive. Go gerund! 2011.

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