Laura Carroll ('Lucy Tartan') was born in Australia in 1972 and has resided there ever since. In 1977 she entered the education system and has resided there ever since. She leads a life that is quiet, if somewhat hamster-on-treadmillish. Laura blogs at Sorrow at Sills Bend.
Why do you blog? > For the feel of the free, fresh wind in my hair. And because I can't stop.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Feeling part of a community, making friends and discoveries.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > A newspaper op-ed writer went in search of an example of the shrill and ignorant tenor of bloggerly interventions in public discourse and lucky me got to be the patsy.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't be precious but do be careful. Read widely, follow links, and write to please yourself.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Primo Levi, Mary McCarthy, Donald Winnicott, Stanley Cavell.
What are you reading at the moment? > Sacagawea's Nickname by Larry McMurtry.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Elvis Presley, Sidney Nolan, François Truffaut, The Beatles, Roland Barthes, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rover Thomas, Abbas Kiarostami, Morrissey.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Emma. As Terry Castle says, reading it is like being held again by a loving, but not suffocating, limitlessly benevolent mother.
What is your favourite poem? > Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese'.
What is your favourite movie? > Ken Russell's Tommy.
What is your favourite song? > 'I Know It's Over' by The Smiths.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > John Berger's Ways of Seeing vividly introduced me to a set of interlinked ideas: that perception and representation are conventional structures, that beauty is not independent of social systems, and that art criticism is an inherently political activity.
Who are your political heroes? > Rosa Parks, Vincent Lingiari - ordinary people who had the immense and quiet courage required to sit down and refuse to get up. I have a soft spot for Harvey Milk too.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > We'd make an honest, explicit and spirited commitment to multiculturalism, human rights and indigenous reconciliation. That looks like three policies perhaps, but you can't really separate them.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Hmmm, I think at this stage in Australia's career as a nation, what we really need is somebody who is barking mad but good-hearted, and thus thoroughly impossible for smooth-operating envoys of various Empires to manipulate and schmooze. Maybe Germaine Greer? I don't know that she's sufficiently sexually perverted to carry out the kinds of behaviours I have in mind.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The doctrine that the open market will avert peak oil-induced economic collapse by its own dynamic and magically take care of global warming in the process.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Know thyself.
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? > No, I can't imagine how that could ever be made to work. Meet and happy conversation, etc.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Empathy.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Wilful cruelty.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I don't much like sitting next to smokers on the bus.
What is your favourite proverb? > It's really more of an epigram, but I've always liked Wilde's remark about the daily difficulty of living up to his blue china.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Recreational shopping; adultery; reading Dan Brown novels; having plastic fingernails glued to one's fingertips.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would finish my PhD much quicker and get the hell away from universities.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Teasing baby animals.
What is your most treasured possession? > My own body. I'd hate to have to live in a jar of saline solution or a tin of Spam.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Phuong.
What talent would you most like to have? > Total recall.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Next to the people I've already mentioned, Stephen Potter.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would stop working, get several dozen massive tattoos, have some babies, and buy a nice big sailing ship, crewed by kittens dressed in sailor suits, for us all to go cruising around the world in.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]