Convening the Curious

5 Questions

Introducing Holler's editorial board


COLBY_WEB.jpg

Colby Caldwell

 1.  What was the best dream you had recently, where you felt totally swept away in the dream world?

I dreamed I was walking along the beach and came upon Nick Cave (I just saw him in concert recently for reals) and he asked me why I didn’t buy his last two records (which was what I was thinking while watching his concert, for reals) and when I answered in sign language, he laughed maniacally.

2.  What was the last thing you ate or drank (be honest)?

I ate a banana and vanilla yogurt plus coffee.

3.  Writer, artist, performer, whatever--when, why, and how did you know this was what you were going to do in life?

In my first year of college, my friends and I decided to form a band (as you do).  I tried playing bass, then vocals, then it was suggested I become manager.  But there was nothing to manage, but we needed a band picture for a flyer for our first open mic gig.  I decided I’d try that. I asked for a camera for christmas, signed up for Photo 101 and took my first roll of film of the band looking through a chain-linked fence.  I subsequently dropped my 20th century European history classes and took all the photo classes I could.  I soon transferred to art school.

4.  Share a fun fact about yourself that folks might be surprised by.

I played football from 3rd grade to 12th.  My senior year I was the third leading scorer in North Carolina and was chosen to play in the East/West All-Star game.  I had a tryout for Auburn, and offers for smaller schools.  Needless to say, after seeing the size of my peers at the All-Star game, I hung up my cleats.

5.  What new hobby, practice, or philosophical belief have you recently taken on?

That it is ok if my records and CDs are out of order and sequence.

URSULA_WEB.jpg

Ursula Gullow

1.  What was the best dream you had recently, where you felt totally swept away in the dream world?

In a recent dream I was having tea with Michelle Visage and her husband and we were having a great time!

2.  What was the last thing you ate or drank (be honest)?

Eggs, toast and coffee

3.  Writer, artist, performer, whatever--when, why, and how did you know this was what you were going to do in life?

Honestly, I had a very difficult time getting any “real” jobs when I was out of college, so I worked in food service while dabbling in creative work on the side. I’ve tried out a lot of disciplines — from guitar to glass-blowing — but painting has always been the practice that felt completely right for me. After having my first solo show 15 years ago I knew painting would be a lifelong vocation.

 4.  Share a fun fact about yourself that folks might be surprised by.

I worked at an animal hospital briefly while I was in college. I sterilized medical equipment, walked dogs, bathed the animals, trimmed their nails and cleaned cages. I also bagged up euthanized cats and placed their corpses into a big freezer for burial and cremation purposes.

5.  What new hobby, practice, or philosophical belief have you recently taken on?

This spring I’m learning how to garden and take care of plants.

ANNA_WEB.jpg

Anna Helgeson

1.  What was the best dream you had recently, where you felt totally swept away in the dream world?

In a recent dream I was moving through my house very low to the ground, almost like I had been shrunk to be less than a foot tall. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and realized that I was a cat.  

2.  What was the last thing you ate or drank (be honest)?

Black coffee and one date.

3.  Writer, artist, performer, whatever--when, why, and how did you know this was what you were going to do in life?

I was studying abroad in London my Junior year of college and one Saturday I decided to visit the Freud Museum, where I stumbled across the installation “Appointment” by Sophie Calle. This may sound like hyperbole but my life was never the same. I had no idea who Sophie Calle was but the way she unapologetically wove fantasy with reality, and used her life (and fictionalized versions of her life) as art blew my mind.

4.  Share a fun fact about yourself that folks might be surprised by.

When I was 14 years old I spent the entire summer wielding a machete, shaping Christmas trees for money.

5.  What new hobby, practice, or philosophical belief have you recently taken on?

My new hobby is cleaning bathrooms. Actually, just one bathroom in particular - my partner and I recently opened an Air BnB, so I am learning a lot about the hospitality business, which is 90% cleaning toilets.

 
ALI_WEB.jpg

Ali McGhee

1.  What was the best dream you had recently, where you felt totally swept away in the dream world?

I was in a world called Elanthia (the name was repeated continuously in my head during the dream!) that was located in an old mansion. The basement was a land of vintage toys and strange creatures, very mazy and confusing. I got the sense that it was dangerous. The middle floors housed an outdoor marketplace and gardens that went on as far as the eye could see. It was filled with bizarre beings and was very lively.

 2.  What was the last thing you ate or drank (be honest)?

A grilled cheese and fried egg sandwich (with ketchup. I know.) and some creamy tomato soup. Oh, and a German chocolate cupcake. Apparently I have the diet of a seven-year-old.

 3.  Writer, artist, performer, whatever--when, why, and how did you know this was what you were going to do in life?

As a child I continuously made up whole worlds filled with all kinds of characters. I had an elaborate and extensive imaginary friend group and eventually I created complex scenarios where they had to go on quests. I think at that point it was obvious to everyone that I was a storyteller.

 4.  Share a fun fact about yourself that folks might be surprised by.

When I was three or four, there was a lengthy period of time in which I was completely convinced that I was Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol. I introduced myself to everyone as Jacob Marley (even on the first day of pre-school) and wore plastic (pink and purple) chains around. I was very resistant to the fact that I was not Jacob Marley and did not react well when people pointed it out.

5.  What new hobby, practice, or philosophical belief have you recently taken on?

Recently, I’ve started waking up in the mornings and stepping outside to get a feel for the day, the weather, and the life happening in my yard before I start checking in with social media and the neverending onslaught of Things to Do. I might even play my Peruvian flute or do a little yoga if I’m not running late already (because I love to sleep above all things).


Illustrations by Justin Noah Wells

jnoahwells@gmail.com

BERNARD_WEB.jpg

Bernard Welt

1.  What was the best dream you had recently, where you felt totally swept away in the dream world?

About two weeks ago, I woke up from a lucid dream. Usually you just know you’re dreaming and maybe can control the dream. But in this dream, I knew within the dream that lucid dreaming was the way that I could experience fully how past, present, future, and the differences we imagine are due to the limitations of our senses.  I’ve been teaching and writing about dreams for 30 years, and this is VERY unlike me.

2.  What was the last thing you ate or drank (be honest)?

Dry-fried eggplant; Tea-smoked duck; Bamboo flounder; Crazy beef w ghost chili (Peter Chang, Richmond)

3.  Writer, artist, performer, whatever--when, why, and how did you know this was what you were going to do in life?

I wrote poetry in my teens but got serious about it in college, attending an open reading series in Washington DC called Mass Transit. I knew I was a pretty good writer and was sincere; reading week after week, I learned that I liked playing with words, and that I could get a lot of positive attention and even make friends by writing and sharing amusing, sometimes insightful stuff.  I still find writing this combination of introverted pleasure in plumbing my mind and solving verbal puzzles, and the extraverted pleasure of making connections to people when the work becomes public.

4.  Share a fun fact about yourself that folks might be surprised by.

I was on JEOPARDY!™ It’s a fact, and it was fun. (Only won one show --  $13,000; Alex doesn’t talk much to guests; it’s weird being on the set because you feel like you’re inside your television.)

5.  What new hobby, practice, or philosophical belief have you recently taken on?

I’m learning to type.