Meryl Yourish was born in New Jersey and moved south to Richmond three years ago because of the refusal of her native state to hang out a 'No Vacancy' sign. While there are fewer people per square mile in central Virginia, there are also no decent Italian bakeries, Chinese restaurants, or kosher butcher shops, so she makes frequent trips back north to supply those needs. She started blogging in April of 2001, beating Instapundit by nearly four months. At the moment, she writes mainly on Jewish issues, but a change is once more in the wind. Several recurring subjects will remain: Israel, Judaism, Zionism, feminism, catblogging, and of course - the Hulk. As for the rest? Stay tuned. Meryl blogs at yourish.com.
Why do you blog? > Because I love to write. I started my blog in order to discipline myself to write every day. Now that I'm satisfied I've brought my nonfiction writing skills up to speed, it's time to switch that energy over to my fiction - which will not be posted on my blog. And yes, I'm working on a novel. Isn't everyone?
What has been your best blogging experience? > Making friends with a family in Richmond, Virginia, via Larry G., who was reading my blog when I lived in New Jersey. He invited me to dinner when I got settled in Richmond, and the friendship grew from there. Larry's wife, Sarah, is now one of my closest friends (and one helluva good cook).
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Well, having my private email posted and my views ridiculed by a [former] friend was not exactly the nicest thing to happen to me.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Keep your temper. I've stopped reading and linking a number of bloggers who get mad over something I wrote, whether in email, in a comment, or on my blog. I think if you're trying to cultivate people to link to you, perhaps you should give them the benefit of the doubt and not get into an email war with them.
What are your favourite blogs? > Laurence Simon's Is Full of Crap, Little Green Footballs, and Instapundit are my three daily must-reads. There are a host of other blogs that I read regularly as well.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > America's founding fathers, the authors of the Constitution and the creators of American democracy.
What are you reading at the moment? > To Kill A Mockingbird, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Around the World With Auntie Mame. (Not all at once.)
Who are your cultural heroes? > Mary Chapin Carpenter, Stephen Sondheim, Patricia McKillip, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien and Shirley Jackson.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Who can choose just one?
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 elections. I'd never voted Republican before, ever, but I felt that Kerry was not going to carry on the war on terror. (By the way, I'm regretting that vote at the moment, and may never vote Republican again.)
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Democracy. American democracy has changed the world, is changing the world, and must continue to change the world. When every nation is a democratic nation, we'll have world peace, more or less. We'll still squabble like children, because you can't change human nature. But every person on earth deserves to be free.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Marxism. It. Does. Not. Work. (And neither does unbridled capitalism.)
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > Me. I'd make a great president.
What would you do with the UN? > Restrict voting membership to democracies only. Non-democracies would have observer status until they instituted real democracy in their own nations. Oh, and institute transparency in UN finances.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamic fascism and terrorism, and the world's insistence on ignoring these threats.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > It is yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Never stop learning. Never think you're too old or not smart enough to learn something. There are always new things - good things - to learn.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Yes and no. It depends on the issue. My best friend and I disagree completely on Israel, but I wouldn't want to have a husband that disagreed with me on an issue that is so important to me. A Republican I could deal with. But not a non-Zionist.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Supportiveness. I think friends should be supportive, and not cut you down 'for your own good'. I'm not saying they should be uncritical, but for the most part friends should be there for you when you need them.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Negativity. Being around someone who is entirely negative is unpleasant and depressing.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Circumstances requiring tact, or that prevent you from hurting someone's feelings.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I hate anti-Semites. But then, they hate me, so we're even.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > All computer games in the Zork motif. I hate games like that, including Myst.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I'm back to worrying about nuclear war. For a number of years after the Soviet Union collapsed, I stopped having nuclear nightmares. They're back. They've been back since shortly after 9/11. I'm quite worried that an Islamic terrorist group will get a nuclear bomb.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd never have started smoking as a teenager. And I think I'd have gone to Rutgers after all.
What is your most treasured possession? > I changed that question in my head to 'What would you grab first if you had to run out of your burning apartment (excluding the cats)?' Turns out it's my laptop. Who knew?
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Mark Twain.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I wouldn't mind finding a decent man to spend the rest of my life with.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd have a lot more toys (ooh, flat-panel large-screen TV). But I'd also establish a philanthropic foundation and give a lot away to charitable causes.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > John Adams, Mark Twain and Judy Garland.
What animal would you most like to be? > A cat. In a rich old lady's house. With a will specifying my care after her death (just in case). Although I wouldn't mind being a cat in Lair Simon's house, either.