Tim Toaster Henderson on Running Toward the Disturbing
Tim (Toaster) Henderson and I met in the basement of Viracocha six months ago, when we both realized that being far from home in S.F. is a good experience to have when building a new community. He is an artist, an educator and a renowned spoken word performer, recently representing Berkeley in the Individual World Championships.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them … ?
“I am an artist.” Then we argue.
What’s your biggest struggle — work or otherwise?
My ADHD seems to get in the way more consistently than anything else. School, work, common conversations, birds, planes, the sky — EVERYTHING. It seems as though I forget everything as quickly as it happens.
If someone said, “I want to do what you do,” what advice would you have for them?
When something really disturbing comes along, and your first instinct is to run from it, run to it. Experience everything (and get used to writing things down).
Do you consider yourself successful?
I consider myself successful when I impress myself. Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of that. On the other hand, I may be late on next month’s rent.
Who did you admire when you were 10 years old? What did you want to be?
Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr., and Michael Jackson were three really big heroes of mine. Until I was 14 I was positive I was going to be Michael Jordan.
Would you ever perform a striptease? Describe some of your moves. Feel free to set the mood.
I would, I have, and it’s called the “Oh shit, are you hurt? Should I stop sitting on you then? Okay we’ll stop.”
How much money do you have in your checking account?
$117. After I pay Sprint tomorrow it’ll be -$32.
What’s wrong with society today?
People who think they aren’t a part of what’s wrong with our society.
Are you using any medications? If so, which ones?
What is your fondest memory?
Finding out about Young Chicago Authors when I was a teenager.
How many times do you fall in love each day?
As much as I’d like to say some ridiculously large number, I’ll say honestly once every day. Most times it’s on public transit.
When you have sex, what are some of the things you like to do?
I like to sing theme songs of my favorite kid shows. Kenan and Kel is definitely a favorite.
What are you working on right now?
Trying to be less of a writer and more of an artist. The difference for me is worrying less about structure and more about appeal.
What kind of work would you like to do? Or: what kind of writing do you most admire?
I really want to make more art that makes people happy.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
I really don’t like how far it is from home. I believe Chicago and San Fran could really learn something from each other.
A night on the town: what does that mean to you?
It means something scenic, something that uses energy, and quite a bit of food and beer.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
A woman drop her baby while breast feeding. If you’re wondering: No, she didn’t catch the baby, and yes, she did pretend it didn’t happen.
What can you do with 50 words? 50 dollars?
I can make two poems I am satisfied with publishing. 50 dollars can cover food, weed, and enough of my phone bill to keep them from shutting it off.
What are some of your favorite smells?
The insides of books, and rain. (HEY MA!)
If you got an all expenses paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
A world tour. I want to perform everywhere in every venue for every audience until it kills me. If that’s too small, I would like someone to pay for school. If that’s too big, I would like a free kitten.