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March 13, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part V - Interview with John Miller by BobKat

John Miller admitted to me, he was at an impasse. Even fictional characters have limits... so he asked me to interview him. Q&A.

BobKat: John will start this interview.

John: Thanks. ah... I was very fortunate growing up... I had challenges though, in speech, attention, and so on. My mother and father were the best. As a child I still remember my mother scratching my back, me in her lap. Things change - so much influences us everyday.

I was picked on a lot as a kid.It was the 1950's-60's, so that's not news. Fact is my parent did everything they could for me. During middle school especially, they had to intervene in problems with bullies at schools. At the time school counselors favored the "stand up to them and fight back", which would then get you into the principal's office, and maybe the nurse's office. The one jewel I found among all those years in MS and HS, is a statement my school counselor made to me one day... "it will end when you graduate, hang in there".

BobKat: So did you hang in there John?

John: I did. I graduated with a C average, a yearbook full of best wishes, and at least the idea that I was becoming an adult. I survived the bullying, algebra, band  and  puberty.

BobKat: Sorry, you said "puberty"?

John: Yeah...Yeah... except for a girl when I was in 8th grade, I didn't date.  I liked  girls, but couldn't bring myself to relate with them. I made a few attempts to get their attention, a date, The boys getting the dates were bulls - playing the game I knew nothing about. I was a nerd. I was too shy.

BobKat: You were that shy?

John:  I was shy; but I also knew nothing about sex; and second, my mother had advocated against contact with females. Mostly I excelled at solitary hobbies... reading, electronics and science, but marginal at best elsewhere. Although as a child I liked writing and drawing, by 14 that was history. By age 14 I'd abandoned my artistic interest, and went hunting and fishing instead. My parents sent me to "youth-camp" for three years... so around age 13 - 15, it was during the second year camping in our tent one early evening with a full moon outside, a fellow camper did a shadow scene of a man having sex with a woman on the tent wall for all to see. I found it to be repulsive, recall why would that happen?.

BobKat: A lot to put together here. From what I know about you then you were quite conservative, and didn't question authority or your view of reality?

John: Correct.

BobKat: So what changed? What happened that you have this story you feel is important to share?

John: What changed? I got high on marijuana.

BobKat: You did what's termed - "use of illegal drugs". Weren't you quite opposed to illegal drugs? Once you almost called the police because you found out your sister used drugs? Without going into the reason you did this, which you've already written about, in what way did this smoking pot change you?

John: After HS graduation I was expected to go to college. I understand that.  And I did... I majored in Electrical Technology... but avoided the math the first year and took two semesters of physics... biology, chemistry...  math was looming, and I'm bad at math. I was around 19 when I was with my two friends and we smoked pot for the first time. I already recounted how for the first time in my life I freely laughed. My mind became the universe, and I could see into it. Not an hallucination, but rather insight, self-awareness.

BobKat: That's great, your first year courses. Physics is a tough science.

John: yes. And thanks to a friend in class we spent hours on the phone doing our homework.

BobKat: Wow... were you aiming towards teaching or engineering?

John: Neither. I was going to college, like I was suppose to do.

BobKat: Oh.You don't think that you could have excelled in the electronic technology field?

John: No.

BobKat: You said your experience with marijuana changed things?

John: Yes. Within a few short weeks I realized I was an artist. I started writing, walking in the woods again, something I hadn't done for a few years. Only this time I wasn't hunting. I was communing with nature. I gained an interest in plants and medicinal properties. I became the early 1970's guru of herbs. This was well before Celestial Seasonings Herb Teas went on the market. And I was always writing.

I had the idea in my mind originating from a sci-fi book I'd read when I was 8, that I wanted a job among "the scientists". The only way to do that at age 19-20 was to get a job at the local college. After the effects of the cannabis settled in over a period of a few weeks, I got up the nerve to apply for a custodian position. I figured my odds of getting the job was next to nil. But it happened, as if by magic. What was the best part was that I got the job for the 3 - 11 shift at the Fine Arts Center building of the college.

To Be Continued...

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