One In A Million... a million people live, work and play in upstate New York's Catskills region. These are their life stories... in their own words.
Series produced by Kent Garrett
Photo editing and website design by Ed Kirstein
Elaine Faison :
Radio, Politics & Dragons
Elaine Faison Transcript:
On any given day when you come to Roxbury, New York, you’ll probably find 17-year-old Elaine Faison preparing for her radio show or talking politics or drawing dragons.
Here’s her story in her own words:
I’ve lived in Roxbury, New York, for pretty much my entire life, but I was born in Watertown, Maine. It’s either Watertown or Waterville. Let’s see. In my spare time one of my favorite things to do is draw. I don’t share my art with a lot of people mostly because I don’t think it’s very good.
Q – What kind of stuff do you do?
I draw dragons a lot.
Q – Dragons?
Yeah. Dragons have kind of been a common theme throughout my life. I don’t know. They just kind of always held my attention. I never really grew out of that particular subject. When I was a kid I used to read all the Dragonology books and stuff, you know, keep looking for the next Eragon.
Q – That’s interesting. Why do you think that’s a kick for you?
I don’t know. Because I mean, I guess it was a way of establishing my difference. I’ve never really quite felt like a regular person, so I kind of chose dragons as like a symbol for uniqueness or something. I don’t know.
Q – So I mean, this is probably, I’m sure, a stupid question, but do dragons really exist or did they exist?
[Laughter] Well, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I like to say that they do because you can’t really prove that they don’t. Because if you say, well, they’re just hiding because, you know, humans have kind of taken over things, then you can’t really say that you’re wrong for saying that because just because you haven’t seen them doesn’t mean they’re not there. But I think the reality is probably no, but I like to just think that because it’s kind of fun to think about.
I’ve been following the Occupy movement closely. I’ve actually been there twice, and I’ve been interested in politics from a very young age. It was kind of annoying when I was younger though because the only people I could talk to about them was adults. I mean, I was lucky enough to have a family that would include me in their political discussions, and I grew up in a liberal household. But I kind of see, you know, a more human-centered ideology to be a lot more positive and ultimately better than a business-centered ideology, so I guess you could call me a liberal if you want.
I think these local movements are really what’s really important now because then you can actually work through your local government to do what’s really important to you. Because everyone is concerned about jobs and everyone is concerned about social issues, but then there’s also local issues. Like around here the flood maintenance, that’s still big. There’s some bridges out still, and there’s definitely some people who could still use help. Another thing is fracking, which is sort of looming on the horizon there.
I like the Catskills for their trees. That’s a really vague statement. I mean, this place is gorgeous summer or winter, although I do like the summer a bit more because things are alive, you know. I find that there’s too much space though between people.
Q – How do you mean?
Having to drive miles and miles just to get to someone’s house. I mean, I live up in Denver Vega, so I can’t just walk to someone’s house; so that gets a little discouraging. I made some friends who live like in Philadelphia, so that’s kind of a long haul from here. But it’s a really nice place to grow up in though because you’re not really surrounded by the dangers and distractions, you would say, like of the city. There really isn’t any violence, which is nice. People seem to be pretty nice on the whole.
Q – I mean, do you think it’s exciting enough for you, or—?
No, I think I’m growing a little bit bored of it, but the radio station’s really fun to hang out though. I have a show here.
Q – That’s right, yeah. What is your show? Tell me about your show.
I call myself the Meister on air. The show is called A Cure for Your Sleep Shaving, but that’s really a secret name, sort of an inside joke between me and Joe Piasek. What I do is I play music that I think really is under-promoted and underappreciated or that just you don’t necessarily expect to hear on any old radio show. I try to make it interesting.
Q – I mean, what are some examples?
Well, let’s see. I’ve played some old bands like Bauhaus, which you could say is the grandfather of the gothic music scene. I’ll play some regular stuff too; like you’ll hear Queen on my show and some good Bowie and stuff, stuff like that, like things that you might not necessarily hear on the sort of top 100 playlist, but it’s equally as good, if not better.
Q – Last question then: So when you’re 27, I mean, what’s going to happen with the dragons?
I think they’ll be alive and kicking. I hope so. You know, if by the off chance I actually happen to become good at drawing, maybe I’ll continue drawing them and sell prints or something, but I don’t know. They’ll always be there in some form.
Q – What do they actually represent for you? I mean, tell me that again. I mean, it’s so interesting, the dragon thing.
I mean, I don’t know. They kind of just represent me. It’s really hard to explain. You could say they represent transformation. I’ve gone through many stages of existence. I mean physical existence obviously. But it’s sort of been like the common thread, so I guess they represent the core human, you know.