Elizabeth Mikesch Interview

Transcripted:  Yea…I used to…I could, I could swim really young and I grew up...um…I grew up in the U.P. and my family had a cabin. They called it the camp: the camp (accent). My great granpa built it. It used to have an outhouse. It was really...rustic...you know...and the water is perfect there. It’s never too cold and never too warm and the mud isn’t rocky, it’s like really smooth, it’s like stepping on cake or something and I used to stay in the water all day. I would wake up in the morning. I would stay out there until dinner...but, yea, I would do handstands and somersaults and the...sensation stays with me forever. I still do it if I go up there.

When I was little – oh! Here’s a story. This is a bad story about childhood. When I was little, I was swimming...and there was a little boy on the dock...and he was playing, um, with a...fishing pole…and he caught me in the eye...and so I had to go to the emergency room ‘cause I had a big, a big cut by the tear duct…and…I remember when I looked at my eye it was crusty...crispily...I was...I got caught like a fish.

Things were just kind of bopping along with him and then I showed him something that had already been published and he just tore it apart. And this is after hours or before class he would have people meet sometimes if they wanted more one on one attention and I had never done it and I was like well you know, why not, because I felt like in class I wasn’t really...I, I don’t know...I didn’t know what was going on. I was in a...I was delirious a little bit. Yea, I showed him and he read through a few sentences and he, he said something like: what have you ever done in your life of consequence? How old are you? I told him that, that I, I was suicidal and he...he kind of scoffed and he was being harsh and he said oh so, so there’s, there’s a murderer inside you and you have homicidal tendencies, well, that’s what I should be reading, things like that...and I started crying and he said: oh, don’t cry, cry about it. And I left...I went to the eighth floor which is where people had space to...it’s kind of like an office where you can go to write, it’s really quiet there. I went up there and I just started sobbing and there were people from class just. They got it. They knew something went down...I was living in New York, not really knowing anybody. So, I was like: why did I do this, why did I come here, I don’t belong here, I’m not smart, I have no talent, I’m an idiot, I’m like five years old, what am I possibly going to get out of this, how am I gonna, you know, there’s no point in doing anything...creative ever because it’s just, everyone’s bad, and, he really wants you...it’s not...I think that it gets misread, like he. It’s not that he wants you to feel bad. It’s that he wants you to rise up and be amazing. That’s what he’s looking for. He’s looking for something insane and something, something, that nobody could fake.

(Addressing random child, song-lilt, most beautiful voice): Hii! What are youu doing?

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