Amy Walton and James Garrett

Recorded October 20, 2019 Archived October 20, 2019 39:50 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019292


Partners Amy Walton (45) and James Garrett (46) discuss Star Wars' impact on James' life, their concerns for humanity, and the importance of cats to Amy.

Subject Log / Time Code

JG explains how Star Wars impacted his life.
JG describes his "death wish."
AW explains why she appreciates spontaneity.
AW talks about her desire to meet Michelle Obama.
AW explains why she would like to shed the label of "stubborn."
JG describes his hometown and his interest in punk rock and art.
JB and AW describe the NPR shows they would create.
AW talks about her hopes for her nephews.
AW explains the significance of cats in her life.
JG reflects on his and AW's relationship.


  • Amy Walton
  • James Garrett

Recording Location

Dallas Public Library: North Oak Cliff Branch


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00:05 My name is Amy Walton. I am 45 years old. Today's date is Sunday, October 20th, 2019. We're in Dallas, Texas. I'm interviewing James Garrett who is my partner?

00:22 I'm James Garrett. I'm 46 years old. Today's date is Sunday, October 20th, 2019. Where in Dallas Texas? I'm interviewing my partner Amy Walton.

00:34 So we're not going to have our typical argument over whether I'm your girlfriend or your partner partner does seem like we have a business together.

00:44 Alright, okay. So I'm going to start with the first question. How has the Star Wars Universe impacted your life?

00:55 How is the Star Wars in Universe affecting my life? That's a great question. You know, I think there's a little kid. I think it's easy to think about this kind of, you know, fantasy or fiction and just to look at the surface of it and white entertaining A spectacle, but I think when I was a little kid I include in very early that it's about a boy and his like loss of his father and being an orphan and you know because of things in my life that was appealing to me and so I got really hooked on that initially and then started to think about the creativity of it and got really fascinated on how it like nuts and bolts on. How is put together in the Artistry behind it. And so yeah, I got really fixated when I was a little kid because of the creativity part of it lasts about the spectacle or story of it to me as I get as I got older that part of it became a much less interesting because it's fantasy and I'm a science person so Tim

01:55 The fantasy part of it is not that appealing at all. So I say the creative part of it is it's always been very inspiring to me.

02:04 And even today at 46 years old, how is it inspiring to you? Well, you know, I'm working on a project now. I'm kind of creating my own universe. And again, I'm thinking about the mechanics in the the Artistry behind how they did those things and trying to create an art project that specifically like canapes homage to that. So I'm thinking about that a lot right now. Will you talk a little bit about the project that you're envisioning are you don't want to still have picked up an extra. Do you want me to I'll ask you a question. So

02:58 If you had an opportunity to convey a big idea to the world and everyone is going to listen. What do you think? That would be?

03:08 Kindness and empathy. I think it's probably the thing. I think the world should have more of and I don't know how to convey that in a way that people would absorb. It said I think maybe at the heart of some of the things that trouble me the most about looking at the political landscape in the US right now, I think we are not as a nation thoughtful about our actions and how they impact others both like individually right now across the globe and then certainly are consumerism in our

03:45 Denying the fact that what we're doing impacts the environment in a way that will jeopardize and danger and and an arm Humanity's future and I think it takes

03:58 Some empathy to imagine that what we're doing could hurt someone and then for that feeling to be powerful enough to make you want to do something different they have any thoughts about how you get empty how to convey empathy or the need for the end of the world like, oh that looks like I wish I had a magic answer to that. I think storycorps helps little bit. I think any time we can try to put ourselves in other people's shoes is a powerful thing. I think the media and entertainment can impact that in a way that mean it's always been helpful to advancing ideas and societies, but I wish I knew what what do you think? What's what's the big idea that you would like to convey if the whole world was paying attention?

04:51 The scientific method is a really great way to understand the reality start with not knowing the answer to come up with an idea test that idea tested again have somebody else tested and if it doesn't really work out you rejected. So yeah, the scientific method is a pretty good way to move to the universe.

05:21 Tell me about your death wish so, you know, a lot of people will make plans to you. I want this to happen at my funeral or this to happen when I die and I have a death wish that you're going to build a time machine for me. And the way that looks is that if my body was put into space like floating in space that the cold Icy Embrace of space would just kept my keep my body dead. But sustained in that it will just float forever in space and then maybe two hundred or two thousand years future humans or aliens would find it and they could reanimate me and I would be living thousands of years in the future may be in a zoo or something.

06:21 Maybe some awesome future future world or some horrible help a fun fact that you'll find some way to get my dead body into space challenge.

06:43 Okay, so

06:46 Let's see. If you lost a world class championship wrestling match that require the loser to leave Texas forever the thing for when I was a kid. Okay, where would you go you can never come back to Texas? Where would you go?

07:05 Colorado's sounding really awesome to me right now legalized marijuana close enough that we could get to the family, you know and not too far of a road. If that may be locally. That would be the answer. I don't know where I would but I haven't given any thought to where I would want to go if I could go live in another country with the downside of living in those countries. They they would have to always drive to you cuz you can't come back to Texas cuz that's the rules of losing the wrestling match. So Colorado would be nice to take to get to you at a bowling match and I couldn't go to Allen Texas anymore. So I had to drive all the way around the town of every time I would come down the highway 75 for 6 months is horrible.

08:05 Glad you're okay, honey.

08:10 What are some of your favorite memories of us together?

08:16 I think I really enjoyed when we are just more spontaneous than planned, you know, just kind of out in the world that you have this you say how often you say. I just wanted an adventure and that doesn't pay for most people that has to be like all I want something big and grandiose some bucket list kind of thing. Like I want to you know climb the Himalayas are I want to go to this place or that and you just want spontaneity something. It doesn't have to be expensive. You know, it can just be pulling off the road at some weird place and take a look or going into a weird shop or walking up to somebody which I'm not always like super comfortable with I just like it did last of my own devices. I would never do that. But almost always it's like serendipitous. There's something something interesting happens out of that. So it just brings you a

09:16 Joy, and so generally I would say when we're having the quote-unquote adventure then that's probably it.

09:24 I like not knowing what's going to happen. Next. I think so much of our Lives is a routine get up and you do the exact same thing and you drive on the same roads, and I'm so I embrace any opportunity to do something that I haven't done before especially just talked to some weirdo.

09:46 How many weirdos to talk to and they make life so much better like usually when you see somebody to make sure that generally like I would say, when do you see any person and you like I want to go talk to that person and I'm just put out by a team put out by it. Like generally it leads to something interesting, you know, if I'm more often than not and we stopped and talked to that person write they didn't I say sir. That's for something weird, but isn't it awkward situation? Generally generally it's interesting. So I'm glad we do it.

10:33 Okay, do you want to go next?

10:44 How's your adult life stacking up to your kid dreams?

10:52 On knowing that I have had such a bad memory my whole life. It's hard for me to remember what I thought life was going to be like I remember.

11:04 Is it you know, like a college student? I had some fantasies of what life was going to be like very early in college. I thought that I might go into politics and then I realize that you can't tell the truth in politics and that I really wasn't serious tooted for that. And I think I envisioned a more formal live the kind of life where I'd go to the theater and be dressed up then

11:33 In our moving Shake more than I think my current existence is but it is I think how I would want it to be. I don't have to worry about pretense. I think the fact that I've had my midlife crisis and left a career means that I worry a lot less about what people think of me in it that my reputation isn't tied to an institution where I'm more conscientious about being my authentic self and that I'm able to kind of do what I want me to we're really fortunate that I didn't want to be a mother in that I'm not one and that it gives me a tremendous amount of freedom to make decisions about what I'd like to do and be able to do those things without being encumbered and

12:25 And I'm able to talk a little projects and follow my Bliss or whatever when I have an idea that I want to explore that I'm able to take the time to do that. What about you?

12:39 I think that I'm very conscious of how much time I have. And so I think I think In My Head by and make my kids you what my life would be. I think I would have had more things done just because I didn't know how much time it would take to actually do things. And so I think I would probably be pretty happy with the amount of things that I've done but just

13:08 I think I would be shocked how long it's taken to do this thing. And you know what I think time kind of dilate as we get older like times used to move faster. And so, you know as we get older there's just more urgency which when you're a kid, you're just like me and I'm so yeah, I think I feel I think I feel more urgency.

13:29 And I was when I was a kid.

13:35 What's your greatest fear about the future?

13:42 You know, I live kind of a Charmed Life generally. So, you know, like if you felt like mouth was hierarchy or something like all my days are like General play mad. I have a great job, you know, I you know, I that's rewarding. We have a good relationship. Like I don't really think about money that much busier resources. So I would say I would shift away from me and just think about like larger more like kind of humanity and you know, my thoughts are that were like oddly not on a good track like we're not tracking a positive direction and that if I'm kind of surprising so

14:33 I just never thought when I was a kid that like democracy itself was like in Peril. It just never even like occurred to me that like people would that would be a thing and it seems like that's a bad thing maybe and said, yeah, I think that sounds like but I got a quick reply. I'm so I think about those things you do and say I probably spend more time thinking about that seriously the concern to the average person, but fun what we might do to

15:12 Adjust this imperiled democracy of ours.

15:18 Why I think a couple of things maybe I think one we and I mean everybody we're at this point. We're for example, like social media like and I think there's a wonderful aspects of connectivity and knows the things that have all have evolved recently, but I'm not sure we know how to deal with that and process information critically, right? And so I think even as adults we we have to spend a step back and go to school and like we learn some of the critical thinking things we probably should have been thought she should have been taught and maybe look at things a little bit more critically. I think that would be a good step in the right direction just so we could all agree on what

16:10 What is truth right like I don't think you know 50, I don't think 20 years ago. There was a lot of there certain things. You just were not debated because they were given his true. And I think now like more and more of actual just the objective reality is like in question. And so yeah, I think some critical thinking skills. Like if we just rolled up our sleeves and really thought about that deeply would be good on unbalanced.

16:48 I was thinking about two people that you really like that are like diametrically opposite.

16:55 Would you rather hang out with Danny McBride or Michelle Obama?

17:02 And why?

17:09 Well, I mean I'd have to hang out with Michelle Obama and and talk about how to turn some shit around I would have to cuz she's a badass grateful that she was willing to serve our country and Danny McBride as fucking hilarious and I kind of think everything he touches is golden. But you know, I think I would have to go with you know, making a choice that could actually improve Humanity in some way and I might think of a good idea together and run off and change the course of humankind. Okay, what you want to spend more time with Michelle Obama or Danny McBride?

18:07 Atwell if I hung out with Michelle I could my that might be an end to hang out with Barack so you see is he's pretty awesome. So yeah, I would probably still hits a her anyway.

18:32 Are you jealous of my imaginary relationship with Stephen Colbert?

18:41 No.

18:42 Yeah, now it was it was clearly stated before we got together. So it's baked into this relationship.

18:59 Okay, my next to you.

19:04 Where does your moral code come from?

19:07 My moral code I

19:13 When you can't be in flood help but be influenced by Society in your parents in those things, but pretty pretty early on. I just started kind of question in those things and it's just internal, you know, I mean, obviously and

19:31 Yeah, I would say objective and try to write my own code. I guess what what is your moral code? How do you know what's right and wrong? If you don't have Jesus to tell you I have I mean there's a bunch of I think I have a good sense of that for a number of reasons. And yeah.

20:03 As myself I can action figure that out.

20:12 What's an old idea that people have about you that you wish they would just forget?

20:20 Oh, that's easy, but I'm stubborn.

20:24 And I'm not stopped and like maybe I was as a kid, but I think that that just kind of comes from and adolescents of conflict with my parents who I am just

20:40 Could not be any more different from and I think they just labeled me is oppositional and stubborn because I didn't believe the same things that they did. I didn't think about the world in the same ways that they did and it does bug me when my mom mentioned something being that mentions that I'm being stubborn about something that's not a characteristic that I value unless it's a stubbornness about being Rider or not being easily swayed. I don't need anybody's approval for my own opinions and I believe that's one of the characteristics about myself that I like the most that I was able to see my way through to my own ideas about religion and politics and

21:30 And really my core values when they are not represented in my family not represented. And anyone that I even knew at the times when I was formulating those ideas. So I think it took some Independence to be able to do that. But to me stubbornness has being ignorant in the face of facts and I don't ever want to be and hope that at if if that characteristic rears its head that it's something that I'm able to use my intellect to overcome pretty quickly.

22:08 Thanks, Mom.

22:19 How has being an artist and Creator impacted your life?

22:29 Yeah, he quite a bit and then I would rewind it back kind of before that. You know, I grew up in a little tiny Texas kind of small and a redneck E-Town, you know, it's not a lot going on kind of sleepy place.

22:43 And I think before I even thought about are like I grew up in the 80s and so escaped when he was a big thing. And so I kind of gravitated to that and that probably the punk rock and then that brought me to music right. It's his music and then to Art and Sol

23:03 Those two those two things they and skateboarding and punk rock have like in there. He says this idea DIY this idea that you just do things yourself and that you don't ask for permission to do that. And that's a very liberating thing for a person to learn really like

23:21 Early on and I like your mom come out there. Like what are you doing? Well, I'm doing alright in the backyard like what he tells you to do that nobody. You got it. Any question that I think that's just really liberating for a kid and it's service is just kind of served me. Well, so it didn't when I wanted to go off and leave home or go to college or get this kind of job that they didn't understand like it just never

23:54 He just never

23:57 I never had a restriction saying how I need somebody else's permission. I need somebody else's advice or help. I'll just go figure it out myself and I just have kind of always kind of hung on to that, to the point where I even think about asking for permission to do anything right? I assume it's like me from now, it's nice to be that my boss. It never asked me you just cut me loose and lets me run wild that I just

24:25 Hope and Legacy just think hopes my outputs line up with what he wants to know and he gets good stuff. So yeah, I would say that.

24:36 And then in your current art-making like I get that piece of the history that it comes from but like what would it mean to you to be able to express yourself? Creatively? What what does it mean in your life?

24:50 Well, I guess for me personally like

24:56 I guess I never thought about it until and this way I guess it's a little bit of immortality, you know, if you decide you're going to have kiddos or not to sound at the start of foundation or business or whatever like it was kind of a short window and then you then you're gone right and then the world doesn't remember that you came and went and when you make something you hope that sometimes you hope that it is going to hang around and so I guess I could use a little bit more and mortality. I never ever thought about that to me. It seems a little bit kind of vain. And so maybe I don't like that answer but

25:37 I would say that's probably part of it.

25:40 I definitely use that line of thinking to try to convince people to write letters Emily Dickinson said that writing letters made you immortal and so I've always use that as if Chi-Chi way to encourage people to put their thoughts in writing and help document a little bit of their life both for someone they love and maybe for some lunatic like me to find in a shoe box and an estate sale 80 years from now age because I know I'm also is like real quick till like 4 or something out.

26:21 Yeah, I may spend something, you know a hundred hours working on something and then just decide I'm over it and then throw it in the bin and people kind of like you've had not reacted well to that but to me again, it's like the part of the value is the the process of the making.

26:44 And get the idea. I'm just saying to myself saying I knew I had a vision of what I wanted to make I made it it exists and I want to move on to something new and it's more about the challenge of getting the idea out of my head and manifested that it is the actual object or what anybody else thinks about it. So I think about thought about it more my initial answer is probably garbage but

27:18 Vigor

27:24 If you had your own NPR show, what would it be about?

27:31 I'm really enamored of you know, he was in New York and storycorps. Although I think you know MPR send a great job of programming a shit ton of Storytown programming. But yeah to me I'd be interested in interviewing people. I think that would be really interesting work. And then I think it would double tail with my strong desire to help people throw your empathy and our similarities across all of our differences. I think it's something that's really frightening to me right now as I look out into the United States and see that it seems like we are pointing fingers at one another that there is us and them and I think of dangerous to democracy and it's just hard for families like, you know, but

28:28 It's hard for me sometimes to be in my family and I have to work on that. I'm not I'm not pure and clean and that and that regard all of us have to do the work to

28:41 Remember that other people who have different ideas than a sir just as human as we are and we're going to have we're not going to have it amaka. See if we can't find the humanity and our fellow man to have a hot take idea for the name of your NPR show.

29:03 I have no idea. I can't come up with that spontaneously. What would be your NPR show?

29:19 I'd like I think I could get a bad rap of being like eyebrow all the time. And so I think I'd like to show that kind of gets like low culture and like first pass but there's actually a lot going on there and there is artistry there and there's like real cultural value, you know, I think about like when I was in high school or something and they in my t-shirt mention the fact that the Shakespeare at the time was like considered like

30:02 Local sure, you know and I'll get it today and there's like a million other things that have been elevated that's like part of the Canon of things that we should study and it's there's dishes value in what people think is low culture and sometimes it's just ahead of itself and sometimes it's it's not that but in a coffin there is a show that like brought low culture things to people's

30:31 People's attention if there is there a particular and negative Love Culture that you're thinking about when you described that General category Garden comics and books and definitely be supervised.

30:48 How to update if I can ever get our classes here, elevator pitch

30:59 Your former history teacher and you're using your knowledge of human history to look into the future. What do you what do you see?

31:15 I think it's easy to like think about to say. Oh, it's either going to go one way or the other. It's like 50 years from now. We're in a Mad Max Health gate Fury Road Health gave or were in a Star Trek Utopia. It's probably somewhere in the middle. I have a I have a

31:42 Real belief that technology and learn and and science can solve a lot of our problems. But I also know that it can lead to a lot of bad things and they can't help us get out of all of our problems. It's probably somewhere in the middle.

31:58 Hopefully we'll leave the planet. Yeah.

32:07 Okay. What?

32:15 About that

32:17 What are your hopes? What are your hopes for your nephew's near the newborn twins listening to us in the past. Please know that is my most sincere wish that you are kind that you don't take advantage of all the privileged that you guys are going to be raised with you. Just if you live in that house, you will be inside a bubble that does not reflect what Humanities experiences of life and that's something that's a blessing in many ways. But it's also something that you're going to have to fight against because to have everything handed to you creates a sense of entitlement. I think in general and makes it hard to be empathetic because if you look around and

33:14 Your peers have all been raised with that degree of privilege that it'll be really hard to be empathetic and I hope that's a place where I can have.

33:25 A little bit of an influence. What do you want for Caitlin?

33:32 I think

33:36 I think I'd really like for her to just feel at the end of her days like she kind of made her own path.

33:43 Tried that she wasn't at Camden by expectations and that she truly just did what?

33:51 Yeah that she took the path that really made her happy not in they look a hedonistic way, but the way you're the kind of life that you know, the direction where life is just really sad by herself feeling like there's so many people that just get him then by

34:09 You know by parents are this thing or that thing I had just hope she does Altima does what she wants to do.

34:21 How have cats made your life better? I was bothered cat odor until until we met that I just drove there around them.

34:32 1 ways they make you happy Alex. See there's like a common kind of adjusted. It is a moment to like stop like stop and smell the flowers. Right? Like when you walk in the door and you like try to decompress and you had all these things on your mind and this thing just like walks up to you. It is like interface with me, please, you know, you could have stopped in and and it kind of for if you if you have any kind of awareness you're going to hopefully it stopped and just kind of smell it smell the flowers and have a nice about another creature. What about you?

35:11 Yes, yes all of that. I grew up in a house where my parents did not allow pets didn't really understand pets and I got really lucky in my early twenties to have a neighbor who had a cat and we met and I was depressed and feeling isolated and then like realize that there's this strange inter-species relationship you can have and how rewarding it is. And so

35:44 I've had some fucking great cats in my life and I hope that Max and poot little while and good health and that they'll be another badass cat out there waiting to be a part of our family when they pass on.

36:05 What do you think makes our relationship work?

36:11 I think we just kind of Let each other like we have given we give each other space to do what we want to do. Right? We've tried to not put a lot of restrictions on the other than and just giving ourselves a billy to kind of breathe a little bit and step away when we need to and

36:34 Not like him didn't by traditional definitions and things like that. That's been good partners as you as we started out talking about, you know, where instead of being married so, you know, we just divide justifying that convention from jump, even though we've been together so long it it just frame things up in a different way. What do you think?

37:04 I think having a good sense of humor is very helpful. You think your sense of humor? I found myself very funny. I think we have the same moral Center which helps us look at the world in a similar way and I think we're scared by the same things and we're hopeful, you know about some of the same things and that we try to use our talents that are interest to both entertain ourselves. And and for me, you know try to bring people together with some of the projects that I produce and

37:56 What are some of your favorite scientific developments that we've just seen here in the last maybe a year or so to Mark where we are on the Continuum of human knowledge while hunting on the back that up and say bosons big and the fact that we like commercial of expiration space. Like there's big Leaps and Bounds in that area. I think that's really important. I think if we want to survive as a species we got to

38:29 Be able to get off this rock and so it seems like that's like doable.

38:35 And so I think that's really really important for a black hole this year.

38:44 We've gotten proof that there is in fact intelligent life lyrics footage now that there is that was the UFO How would how would a UFO exist without intelligence? I don't know because it's for me that solidifies that although I didn't need to see it. I believe certainly that they're there is life out there galaxies are infinite and there certainly is intelligence out there, but I want to leave but I also want evidence pretty solid especially with the US government was saying that it was official any final question here as we round out the last moment.

39:44 I know I know.