Friday, March 13, 2009

Women's Month Interviews: Chick Drummer

Next up the lovely and talented, Chick Drummer, a woman of many talents.

How do we know each other?
Grad Hell ... oops, sorry. I mean, school.

How would you describe yourself?

Teacher. Drummer. Writer.

In what part of the world are you located?

Chicago, IL. You bet, I'm happy. But I would also consider being happy other places too.

Where can we find you on the web?

What don't people know about you that they ought to know?
I taught myself to whistle when I was 12.

What's the most common mistake people make about you?
I'm a quiet Asian girl.

What are you most proud of having accomplished so far?
A couple of things (not necessarily in the order of importance):
1. Finishing a doctorate. It took 10 years, but I did it.
2. Learning to play the drums when I was 37 years-old.
3. Staying married for 6 1/2 years.
4. Learning to meditate.
5. Finding my passion and purpose(s) in life.
6. Knowing that there is more to accomplish.

What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
1. Be a better musician and not just a better drummer, which I think also makes me a better person.
2. Travel more
3. Finish the 2 books I have in my head but have not worked on yet
4. Continue to practice meditation and yoga on a daily basis
5. Learn tai chi
6. Achieve near-fluency in another language
7. Hear the Dalai Lama speak (check: getting tickets on Friday)
8. Stay married happily (this is a big one)
9. Meet more interesting people (not a huge challenge given my interests)
10. Sing a whole song of my own on our next CD.

What's the best compliment you've ever received?
A four-way tie:
1. "You're an awesome English teacher."
2. "I like what you're doing on the drums."
3. "There's something about you..."
4. "Could you fill out this Women's History Month Interview with Fabulous Women I Know?"

If something great happens to you, how do you celebrate?
Be quiet and thank the universe.

What's your best method for coping with stress?
Meditation. Yoga. Those are simple, misleading answers, I know. But it is both simple and very very hard. By meditation I mean this: sitting down, becoming still, accepting what is, forgiving myself and others, and then and only then decide if there's anything I should "do". I usually get stuck at step #2.

What makes you laugh?

My cats and my rabbit and my husband. Usually all three of them doing something together at the same time.

What makes you cry?
Anyone in suffering. Anyone in joy.

What do you love?
Define "love." If we mean "attachment" then nothing. If we mean "pleasure" then: spa visits, massages, gigs when audiences listen to the band and enjoy the music, a day off from school, bike riding through the city.

What do you loathe?
I try not to, but I'm human. I'm not a big fan of violence, real or fictional.

What's sexy?
Men who respect women; women who respect themselves.

What's the best advice you were ever given?
I've recieved lots of good advice, but I can't remember any one singular pithy or wise statement. I have had meditation teachers who have said: "Don't wrestle with your karma." Or: "if you're gonna fail, flame out." Or: "don't resist." The "best advice" has been what worked for me in the moment, rather than what works for me in every situation during the whole length of my life. Sometimes I get good advice at the wrong time so it is lost on me. Ten years later I might realize that "bad" advice was "good" advice.

How should people be spending their money?
Tough one. I don't know. People should spend their money they way the see fit. Although in various spiritual traditions I would not advocate spending money on weapons or drugs, but even then there are good reasons. So, I abdicate from answering this question --- is that the right word: abdicate? Makes me think of the Duke of Windsor.

Which woman/women have inspired you?
I have to be frank: most of my "inspiration" has come from men. I have had great male mentors in music and in academia and I am grateful to all of them.

But there are women who I admire and who told me stories about their determination that have remained with me.

1. Oprah Winfrey, despite her occasional lapses and contradictions I admire her poverty-to-world domination story.

2. Toni Morrison, because she tells a story about when she decided to write novels. She was working full-time, teaching part-time, and raising 2 children when one day she became overwhelmed with all the things she had to do. So she took out a yellow legal pad and wrote down a list of everything she had to do. It was a long long list. Then she went back through the list and crossed out everything but two things: 1) mother my children 2) write novels. I admire her discipline and her decisiveness at that moment to say: these are the only things that matter.

3. Kate Laity (and I'm not brown-nosing) because when I asked her how she wrote her a novel and finished her dissertation while she was teaching full-time she said: "I would come home from teaching at ten o'clock at night and I would go to the computer and write, even if the only word I wrote was 'the'."

If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do?

Bank some, give more away. A million dollars is not a lot of money, you know, I would still have to teach and gig. Now if you had said "ten million dollars" I might have said something else.

Thank you so much for being part of this celebration: you are indeed fabulous!
So are you. Thanks for putting this together.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

My only warning would be: Miles Davis was a wonderful musician, but a terrible person (at least entirely too often). Never confuse the two. Even if he was an anomalous case (though not That anomalous, nor as world-chaning a musician as his hype would have everyone believe...perhaps belieiving his own hype was the biggest problem).