“Anytime I visit Wal-Mart, I feel trapped:” An Interview with Emory Rowland

I’m going to try to interview readers of this blog, if you’re up for it. One of the joys of writing has been how diverse and interesting all of you are. I can’t thank Emory enough for his consistent support over the years. Emory’s work is in SEO, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what he does online: you can check out his work on a site devoted to Christian testimony and another on dating sites themselves.

1. Why classical history in college? It’s gonna sound strange coming from me, but when I first started in undergrad, I wasn’t drawn to it in the least. What stayed with you?

It is just now occurring to me that my interest in ancient history must have come from reading the Bible through at a very early age. I just decided to do it on my own. Soon the mystique and enchantment of anything ancient took root and started growing in me.

An event that drove my interest happened in high school after years of waiting, I would finally be able to take a class in high school that I actually enjoyed: World History! On the first day of class the Art teacher walked in and announced the History teacher was gone. The Art teacher would be conducting the class. I quickly saw the class turn into a babysitting session devoid of any inspiration or leadership. I felt let down.

I eschewed business school in college and seized upon learning what I wanted: Classical studies. It may be that I learned more about Classics (and English grammar) from studying Greek language itself. I remember feeling literally high reading the gospels in Koine Greek during class.

Soon, my love of classical history collided with my Dad’s timeless wit:

“What are you going to do, set up a History shop?” He asked one day.

2. How’d you get into poetry? I remember you saying something about reading William Carlos Williams.

I confess my real appreciation for poetry arose from a selfish cathartic phase I went through in my twenties. I was trying to make sense of the things inside my head and expressing it through short fiction and poetry opened up a new world to me. I ended up purging a haunting relationship and learning how to write. I must have come upon Williams because I was drawn to minimalist styles.

3. You’ve been abroad. Is there a value to travel? I mean this less in a philosophical sense, and more in the sense of ‘I can’t get my Mom to leave the house.’

My take is that remaining within the comfortable patterns of one’s environment means the mind is not stimulated by new images, people, culture, problems, challenges. Being forced to process information from new surroundings makes the soul healthy in my opinion. I think that’s why time seems to pass slower when traveling in a new city.

On the other hand, the idea of doing something that changes the world from the confines of a suburban home has always appealed to me. I like to say that I dislike travel but love being in new cities. The getting there part is not always fun.

4. Please do talk about gaming. What games do you like best? Have your tastes in gaming changed?

I am picky about my games. I gravitate towards the bigger name first person shooter franchises (COD, BF, HL), 3D strategy and military flight simulations. I so wish there were more sims as in the early days of PC gaming but the market is in a tailspin.

My tastes reflect the great quest to find a satisfying blend of strategy and fun. They haven’t changed. Demand has changed. Compare the early geek PC gamerati with the consoler masses of today. I’ve observed both eras and I have to say I enjoyed the times when multiplayer gaming was young and less competitive – I get beat a lot worse today :)

5. Finally, is Georgia doing as bad as job as Texas with this crummy weather? One bloody centimeter of snow AND THAT’S IT WE’RE ALL TRAPPED AT WALMART.

Snow is irrelevant. Anytime I visit Wal-Mart, I feel trapped.

I’d like to set up that History shop one day.