Cool Maplewood

August 26, 2014

Toward a More Tranquil Standpoint

Based on responses by Eric McCormack in “Hot Hollywood,” US (14 July 2014) 6. His words appear in bold with statements completed as I would respond in following the setup.

  1. I’m happiest when I finish something to my satisfaction.
  2. especially if the project is a worthy one.
  3. I’ve always wanted to be able to sing on tune.
  4. My family and I have persisted in our differences.
  5. I was a terrible math student and had no business taking calculus.
  6. My first job at age 9, for which I was paid, was delivering newspapers.
  7. I could probably eat the same menu in weekly rotation.
  8. I stole a lot from reading history.
  9. I was born (2 May 1940) on the same day in history as Czarina Catherine II (1729), Manfred von Richthofen (1892), and Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903).
  10. My all-time favorite film is Slaves of New York.
  11. And I do not care for anti-heroes.
  12. I’m still mad at no one: what’s the point?
  13. I met my wife over a 4-member post theater conversation and then three years later through a mutual friend in her dramatic production class.
  14. I knew I wanted to be a historian from reading histories and historical novels.
  15. I’m not afraid to mix imagination and reality.
  16. I make the best smoothies from half a banana, applesauce, Greek yogurt, cranrasberry-orange juice, and either strawberries, a nectarine, or some kind of flavorful jam, especially if rhubarb.
  17. I have almost no athletic skills, but I bicycle in good weather and enjoy walking or other physical exercise.
  18. I never cry at the end of a book – except once, I think – and now I cannot recall the author or title.
  19. I’m a U.S. citizen who has only been out of the country to Canada.
  20. I spent five years with party politics before I realized how hard it was to get citizens to do their democratic part.
  21. I wish my folks would have lived to tell me more about their pasts.
  22. At 5, I was deeply in love with Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf.
  23. I believe that if everyone had the good of others in mind, we could throw our weapons away.
  24. I can’t stand anything foolish, stupid, or derogatory, but I manage to keep on breathing.
  25. Whenever Game of Thrones is on, I’ll watch it.

This entry parallels Roger Sween Revealed and What I Learned, both linked from the MY TYPE page.


Copyright © 2014 by Roger D. Sween

I welcome comments on this post. For personal comments to me, send to my email.


What I Learned

July 31, 2014

At Least, So Far: Responses by Roger Sween


I do not see much evidence that humans have learned how to live together.

Given free rein, I imagine I would carry on as I have.

A couple of weeks away from civilization would feed my concentration.

I would go to Granada as an afterthought from Provençal.

Phaeton Flight I wrote one summer; everything else has taken the rest of my life.

I do not talk to young writers because they do not talk to me.

Once in twenty years, I think I may catch up. That thought passes quickly.

I most probably would not have been a librarian except for Rolf Erickson recommending I take library courses as employment insurance.

It is just like when I was twenty and I pondered where I was going.

If all I did was read books, I would be deliriously happy.

It is like hunting for any lost item: there is always a logical explanation for where it went.

I do not hunt mammals; only ideas.

Unlike a lot of writers, I think most reliance on conflict for story tends to be stupid.

They published many of my poems in Poetic Strokes, but politely ignored all my suggestions for improving the publication and its program.

I do not think I suffer from writer’s block; rather I lack confidence in measuring up to standards of excellence.

Fifty-two years later and we are still married. I often think of Narum’s statements in Ethics class about the ontology of marriage – shared values.

The interesting thing about the writers I most admire – Hugo, Heinlein, Le Guin, Lively – is their ability to make the nonexistent convincing.

It is overwhelming when you learn something from history that you never knew before, and then you realize how much more you still do not know.

The reason why writers write is that they must unravel their sentiments.

I revere bears and almost all animals in nature, though only at a distance.

I work every morning and most of every day attempting to bring order to my life and thought.

If you have written all day, that day is another good one.

My grandmothers lived into their eighties, each different from the other: knowing them into adulthood became my good fortune; now I miss their steadiness.

All people are unique individuals, their essential worth.

I do not want to die until I have finished at least one novel to my satisfaction.

Has happiness changed with age? My standards are higher, but I expect less.

No conclusions on time; despite, since reading Schnackenburg’s The Uses of Time (1957), I have been obsessed with the dimensions of history.

You end up respecting complexity in an appreciative way.

What is the meaning of it all? However much we persevere, our lives remain essentially minuscule in the ultimate scheme.

Now, where can I do the most good today?


Based on “Jim Harrison: What I’ve Learned,” Esquire (August 2014). With appreciation to Robert Hanson for sending me the web location.

I followed the opening lead on Harrison’s responses, altered so the words fit me and answered in ways as I understand myself.

Roger Sween Revealed

May 27, 2013

Based on Author Revealed at Simon & Schuster (

I discovered the source by looking up Jonah Winter, whose poem was credited as a base for another poet in the May 2013 issue of Poetry Magazine. Winter’s responses were zany, I would say, and I wondered how I would respond to similarly phrased profile categories.

Birthdate: 2 May 1940.

Occupations: paperboy, snow shoveling, baby-sitter, student library aide, school librarian, serials librarian, reference librarian, library science instructor, head public librarian, interlibrary loan coordinator, information broker, state library consultant and grant administrator = adult educator and lifetime learner.

Favorite job: planning for Governor’s pre-White House Conference on Library and Information Services.

Education: Granite Falls (MN) Public Schools, Saint Olaf College, University of Wisconsin (M.A.L.S.), University of Iowa (American intellectual history), Western Michigan University (library specialist courses).

Learning: lifetime reader of literature, history, philosophy, theory, social issues, and cultural studies.

Favorites: Shakespeare (poetry), J.S. Bach (music), Vermeer (painting), Slaves of New York (movie), Masterpiece Classic (television).

Life in Brief: As I never know enough, ignorance humbles me.

My prompt: How far we have not come.

Perfect happiness: Every fresh morning comes close.

Greatest fear: Lack of completion.

Choice of place: Right here.

Historical identification: Montaigne.

Most admired living person: Nelson Mandela.

Most overused word: is

Regret: procrastination

Talent desired: Able to sing from the diaphragm.

Greatest achievement: Helping to bring freedom to marry to Minnesota.

Greatest flaw: Naïveté.

Best quality: Empathy.

Who would you rather be: No one else.

Most noticeable trait: Seriousness.

Favorite fictional hero: Mike the Computer (Adam Selene) in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

Favorite fiction villain: I prefer heroes.

What would you say to a chosen historical character. The prophet Deborah: “How did you gain a leadership position in a man’s world?”

Pet peeve: Noise.

Favorite other occupation: Landscaping.

Fantasy profession? Orchestra conducting.

Three personal qualities most important: Curiosity, persistence, judgment.

One thing you would eat for the rest of your days: I do like baked potatoes.

Five favorite songs: Define songs.

Favorite authors: Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert A. Heinlein, J. M. Coetzee, Robert Penn Warren, Penelope Lively.

A book you love to reread: Bible (NRSV).

Five favorite books: The Dispossessed, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Lord of the Rings, All the King’s Men, The Photograph.

Advice for new writers: Be critical, but confident.

Most frequent reader’s comment: “This is a lot of work.”


Copyright © 2013 by Roger Sween.

I welcome all public comments to blog articles. For personal comments from those who know me, sent to my email.

Scope Note

March 28, 2011

I tried a diary, but that is too cumbersome of time, and a bit boring I suspect to readership.  So, I decided on a more summary approach, also more suited to my reflective personality.

These highlights allow me more narrative than Facebook provides and may satisfy those who want to know me better as I do myself.