Natalie Tyler is as reclusive as possible. As a second-grader in the USA, she was stopped by a police officer for reading Tom Sawyer while walking. Reading with a congenial cat on her lap has been the passion of her life. She recognizes that she is a woman of 'mean understanding'. She finds ample consolation in her books, her fountain pens, and her occasional forays to Italy. Natalie blogs at Gubbinal.
Why do you blog? > As an aide mémoire.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Try to keep it up.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Herman Melville, Karl Marx, Wallace Stevens.
What are you reading at the moment? > Posthumous Keats by Stanley Plumley.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Middlemarch.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Ode to a Nightingale'.
What is your favourite song? > 'Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Puccini.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I've moved from vague agnosticism to specific atheism.
Who are your political heroes? > Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'All men are created equal.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Prosecute torturers and war profiteers.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > The Dalai Lama.
What would you do with the UN? > Have it start a strong movement to prosecute Bush/Cheney et al as war criminals.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The continuing ambition of the Bush brothers.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I think that the best point was in 1911 or 1912.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Be liberal, (com)passionate, and learn when to retreat.
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? > Never.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > An ability to appreciate beauty without sentimentality and use an aesthetic sensibility as a moral guideline.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Smugness.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I'm not crazy about religious fundamentalism of any kind.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Hunting.
What would you call your autobiography? > A Flock of Fresh Hells.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Lucca, Italy.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A month in London with many theatre tickets.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Edith.
What talent would you most like to have? > I would like to be able to carry a tune.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Jane Austen.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I'd like many books to return to print.
What animal would you most like to be? > A very pampered domestic cat.
[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.]