Women’s Month Interviews: Kim Clune

Isn’t it great when students are still willing to speak to you after class (oh, and their degree!) is over?

How do we know each other?
You taught my Women and Spirituality class at The College of Saint Rose in 2007 and I invited you to a party knowing you were somewhat new in town. I’ve since enjoyed your 2008 Writers in Motion class, a study of author portrayals in film, and various Sigma Tau Delta readings, personal lunches, pub gatherings and our recent Brit Com Night.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a human and animal rights activist, a not-always-healthful vegetarian, an environmentalist, a political tracker (in the way one watches a train wreck with fascination and horror), a global citizen looking for cracks in cultural and ideological borders, a reader, writer, painter, designer, a computer geek and I can crochet.

In what part of the world are you located?
I live at the end of a mile-long, dead-end, dirt road on a small mountain at the outskirts of New York’s Capital district. Growing to love the remoteness of what was originally my husband’s log cabin living, I wouldn’t trade being here for anything.

Where can we find you on the web?
I can often be found at Twitter and Facebook, and I occasionally blog.

What don’t people know about you that they ought to know?
Those who say that I ought to toughen up are the very people who cannot comprehend the strength it took to survive them.

What are you most proud of having accomplished so far?
I have managed to partner with a wonderfully supportive man and sustain a healthy and beautiful long-term relationship contrary to marriage statistics in this country. I have also returned to college as an adult to study English Literature and recently graduated at the top of my class. While the grades were nice, and I certainly fought for them, the greatest accomplishment was learning to have faith in my ability to succeed.

What ambitions do you have ahead of you?

I’d like to take my new skills for a spin for the greater good. I will continue to write for Village Volunteers, a Seattle-based humanitarian aid organization, while fundraising to rebuild the fast deteriorating kindergarten school I visited in Have, Ghana last July. I also want to continue fostering dogs, taking part in home placements and to write for AnimaLovers.org. Since none of these activities actually pay, to find an equally meaningful and paying job is next on the agenda.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

The Ghanaian family who looked after me during my stay has also remained an active part of my life and motivation. These dear friends have often said to me, “You are a good sister.” It doesn’t get better than that.

If something great happens to you, how do you celebrate?
In public, I stay calm, cool and collected like, “Oh yeah. This thing just happened. Cool.” It’s a farce. Behind closed doors, I’m all like Tigger on methamphetamines.

What’s your best method for coping with stress?
I typically chat up a good friend or scribble in my journal. I’m best when I blow everything out of my system with reckless abandon and allow myself the freedom to sort it out later.

What makes you laugh?
Innocent remarks of children before the imagination is hammered out of them, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Gladys Hardy, the antics of animals, and, yes, noisy bodily functions at inappropriate times

What makes you cry?
Crimes against humanity, animals in pain, feeling loved, leaving good friends, a good drama, feeling helpless, arguments and frustration

What do you love?
I love my husband, our life, our animals, the freedom of not having children, dinner with friends, working in my flower garden, social networks, vine-ripe tomato sandwiches with mayo, clean surfaces (Ab Fab, anyone?), a high-scoring turn in Scrabble, designing our home, throwing parties, traveling, singing loudly in the car, an occasional gin and tonic with lime, the smell of clean laundry, watching squirrels at the feeder, hiking, kayaking, being outdoors in every season but winter and spending winter evenings with a book by a fire.

What do you loathe?
I loathe intolerance, cruelty, fear, the inordinate number of crime-TV shows based on violence against women, slapstick humor, cold dishwater, cold tomato sauce, the fact that women everywhere loved Sarah Palin, a crappy internet connection and having to do things twice.

What’s sexy?
Confidence and intellect with a healthy dose of humor, doing the right thing, a white button-down collar – partly unbuttoned

What’s the best advice you were ever given?
“People will treat you like sh*t only as long as you let them.”

How should people be spending their money?
All I can say is that I support VillageVolunteers.org. Rather than dictating solutions and generating reports to the satisfaction of donors, they focus on grass-roots, culturally centered empowerment of Kenyan, Ghanaian, Indian and Nepalese village programs. These programs provide sustainable solutions to combat hunger and disease, educate women and children, support orphanages, etc. While 100% of every contribution goes to your program of choice, to truly help, (and Executive Director, Shana Greene, will never ask) contributions toward administrative costs are sorely needed.

Which woman/women have inspired you?
My great grandmother, Therese; high school teachers Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Hooge; Ani DiFranco; several of the Saint Rose faculty members, including Kate and Kim; my Ghanaian sister, Salome; and Executive Director of Village Volunteers, Shana Greene

If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do?
I’d rebuild every crumbling school in Have, Ghana, provide cisterns and ceramic water filters for drinking water, fund AnimaLovers.org for the re-homing of dogs and cats, sink a ton into micro-financing through Kiva.org, start a network of resources for American teenaged girls being trafficked by classmates in their own home towns, build a fire escape deck off of our bedroom, buy my husband a little Catalina sailboat and a dog friendly membership to a sailing club on Lake George, get a set of iPhones and hide some cash under the mattress for retirement because we all know the market can’t help us now.

Thank you so much for being part of this celebration: you are fabulous!
So are you, Kate. I’m so happy to know you.