1. If you had the power to make one person widely heard (say, a column in every newspaper or in a place online or on TV where multitudes would find their words and thoughts difficult to ignore) who would you choose?
Carl Sagan. Here is what I mean: I would want to find a modern equivalent, someone who has successfully worked as a scientist but has a genuine gift for explaining not only what's going on but why it's awesome. We have some really good science journalists out there, but we need more.
2. Somewhere or other not long ago, you mentioned the religious denomination you belong to. [She then tries to remember etc. and clarifies that she understands that being a member of a particular denomination does not mean you agree with each and every point someone else in that denomination makes.]
My one-word religious self-description has been "Haugean," but you won't find churches listed in the phone book as "Christian - Haugean" or "Lutheran - Haugean." This is what happens when you have a group full of cranky and antisocial Norwegians with a theologically individualist bent. Hans Nielsen Hauge was a reformer in nineteenth-century Norway when the state church there was getting pretty moribund. Like many reformers, he was startled at the way people took his ideas, which he sort of assumed to be purely spiritual early on, and ran with them. Hauge's ideas led pretty directly to the bønder rebellions (bondereisning/farm peasant uprising) and to the establishment of labor unions in Norway. He spent a lot of time in jail for things that sound simple to us, like advocating that believers could (and indeed should) have Bible study without a pastor to supervise. (Which we all know is equivalent to kissing Thor's hairy red butt.) The state church of Norway at the time was a lot clearer on what the implications of additional religious freedoms might be than Hauge was. Now he's distant enough to be safe, like various figures who upset the Catholic church are distant enough to be safe with that group, and the state church of Norway has noticed that he might have had one or two virtues.
3. What countries would you like to visit, that you haven't already?
Iceland and Hungary are probably my top two. There are all sorts of places I'd enjoy with the right company and in the right circumstances -- we've talked about Ireland for a trip with my grands once I'm steadier, for example, and my parents had such a fabulous time in Australia and, on a separate trip, in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, that I'll bet it wouldn't be hard to convince them to go back and show me why.
I will not be much for Third World travel, I'm afraid. Even once we get the vertigo smoothed out, I've had to think in those terms for long enough that I sort of prefer places with comparatively abundant medical facilities.
4. Is there a book you'd like to write that you're just not yet ready for, in terms of current skills?
That's how you do it. You come up with a book you're not ready for, and then you write it and rewrite it and ask your smart friends to tell you how to rewrite it again, and you ignore half of what they say and take another quarter of what they say in a completely different direction. And eventually you get there, and the next book is something else you're not ready for.
There are books I'm just not ready for in terms of research, but that's a different problem. And one I'm working on, a bit at a time.
5. If the vertigo were to vanish, or mostly vanish, tomorrow (my mouth to God's ears) what would be the first thing you'd want to cook?
Well, you notice I've been easing into doing more cooking as things improve. So the thing is not cooking. It's shopping for food. What I cook when I'm steady again will be what I walk into the produce department and smell and build a meal around. That's how I cook when I'm steady. I smell what's really really fresh and good, and then I think what goes with it. And that's what I miss. We've been ordering groceries online, which is convenient but not the same.