NOTE: This is a second response to another Lavender interview since May this year. This time I have generally fleshed out what I said before.
Name: Roger David Sween. According to my mother, when I asked, these were the names my father liked. I used to think I was named after Will Rogers or Roy Rogers.
Age: Between birthdays at 77.
Hometown: Eighteen years in Granite Falls, a place I dearly loved and like to return there, meet with past classmates and ramble in the woods. My Sveen great-grandparents settled nearby in 1870.
Where live: After college and early moving around, I settled down in Red Wing for most of 35 years, though commuting a lot and traveling the state 16 years as a library development consultant while working with Minnesota’s 7 inter-type library regions.
With whom: Continuously for 55 years with Patricia Anne (Worringer) Sween.
Occupation: Since quitting employment, I see myself as an independent scholar, freelance thinker, and writer, struggling to say something significant and satisfying.
Wake up: Part of my routine is to keep regular hours, meaning awake at 5 a.m. and to bed by 9 p.m., which often works.
Alarm: The radio comes on with soft, delicate, mostly quiet classical music selections from Minnesota Public Radio.
First thing: My routine at its utmost regularity – drink water, dress for the temperature, wash leftover dishes, make coffee and take it with a little treat – sweet breads and oatmeal cookies are my favorites.
Breakfast: Rotates mostly between cereals, eggs, waffles/pancakes and nearly always with mixed fruit.
Coffee: One 14 oz. cup of French Roast in my new cuisinart pot, a great improvement on the prior model used for the previous seven years.
Addition(s): Enough Half n’ Half to cover the bottom of the cup. I avoid spooning sugar. Most days, I have the morning cup only. A far cry from our four years at St. Olaf where we drank greater amounts of what we called “Norwegian plasma.”
Your commute: Between the upstairs living level and my study and library downstairs. The arrangement was one of the many features that led us to prefer this house when we moved in 7 years ago. We know our neighbors since we moved into a six-member association of detached townhouses.
If your days resemble a yearbook, how would you be recognized: As an academic and being called “professor.”
What inspires you: Ideas keeps me thinking, politics (which for me constitute the dismal science) keep my attention, and commanding literature from The Wind in the Willows to The Dispossessed keep me probing.
Break for lunch: I’ve become irregular and sometimes forget to eat, evidenced by now weighing less than in high school.
My work space tidy or not. Tidy is my wish and intent, but I find it hard to put most papers where they belong, and they then pile of their own accord. I quickly wear out from sorting and filing. The grand exception is my book collection, cataloged, classified, and in close to 800 linear feet of loaded shelving. I can retrieve a subject or book in about 20 seconds.
Favorite past job: Teaching in a library class where there was a lot of discussion. My favorites were the basics of library services and primarily reference (pre-online). I always felt I learned more than the students. I am in my third year as President.
Your heroes: Still Aristotle and Le Guin.
Favorite weeknight meal: I like anything that is healthy and not complicated.
Most embarrassing moment: In the 4th grade, I inattentively gave a card intended for a mother to my teacher.
Usual weeknight activity: Inevitably watching the PBS news hour and some program, dramatic presentation, or quality movie by disk, television, or online. As a rule, I do not watch commercial television.
Bedtime: Hopefully 9. I get to sleep fast and often sleep through the night. In the cold months, I use an electric blanket on a timer to warm up the bed – a wonderful feeling.
Favorite weekend activity: Time with family members, since the immediate ones are local.
Words of wisdom: Strive to accomplish the best and seek the will to persevere.
Copyright © 2017 by Roger Sween.
Based on the Jaysen Saly interview by Andy Lien, Lavender #588 (Dec. 2017) 12.