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Brent Cline played baseball as a boy. Now he runs ultra-marathons. Courtesy | Brent Cline

If you could only read one author every day for the rest of your life, who would it be? 

I’d say Dos­to­evsky or Tolkien. But then my son was like, ‘No dad, this one too!’ and he’s right: Calvin and Hobbes. We read it almost every single day. 

What is one trend from your teenage years that you wish would return? 

Mix­tapes and CDs. I loved making mix­tapes. It is better than Spotify playlists because you have to limit yourself to 60 minutes or a CD would be 80 minutes. It was perfect for romancing and there was an art to it. I still have a large cat­a­logue of music that I buy instead of stream, and it’s so I can make mix­tapes for myself and my friends. 

What is your secret talent? 

 I will interpret your dreams. I will. You can hide no secret from this Joseph. 

What are your favorite movies? 

“Back to the Future,” “Clue,” and “Sling Blade.” 

What is some­thing you for­merly believed that you have since changed your mind about? 

I used to never under­stand why people would con­tinue in a religion that they didn’t believe in anymore. And then as I’ve gotten older and had kids, I totally get it. There is just the need to be a part of some­thing larger. 

What is some­thing you have learned about from your children? 

Insects and dinosaurs.

What is your favorite fast food chain? 

I would say none because I don’t eat it, but my wife would tell you Burger King. 

What is your favorite thing about the place where you grew up? 

When we lived in Ohio there were these enormous woods behind our house. There were just these rival groups of kids that would tear down our tree houses and things like that and so then we would tear down their tree houses. It’s since been bull­dozed over for a devel­opment. 

What is the most under­rated band/musician? 

Corb Lund. He is from Alberta, Canada. He’s my favorite song­writer of the 21st century, and nobody has ever heard of him. I have a shirt with iron on letters that says, “Listen to Corb Lund.”  Dwight Yoakam is under­rated too. 

What is the best decision you ever made? 

 Leaving the Midwest and moving to Idaho. That sort of changed the course of every­thing and that’s where I met my wife. But I feel like Idaho is my adopted homeland because I grew up moving around. 

What is a memory that stands out to you from your childhood? 

I had a good childhood, but I do often go back to times when I was just being a mean kid. There were times on the school bus I said mean stuff to kids. Those are trau­ma­tizing to me….to think about being 12 years old and just being a jerk. 

What is one of your favorite mem­ories from college? 

We were on an intra­mural bas­ketball team that we called chu­pamos, which lit­erally means ‘we suck.’ And we would have dif­ferent themed nights during intra­mural bas­ketball. And so we would have beach night and just play in some trunks. Then we would have “Brave­heart” night. One of my friends would be sta­tioned at the three point line, and he would never move. And we would just pass it to him and he tried to bounce shot it in the entire half. It would drive the other team crazy.

What is the best gift you ever received? 

My wife is a really good gift giver. One year she got me a rental car and tickets to a band to follow them around for three straight shows. Go to North Car­olina for Christmas break with your two friends and here’s the rental car and the tickets are already bought. 

What is your favorite part about teaching? 

Lit­er­ature really was life giving and forming to me, and so to get to par­tic­ipate in at least the oppor­tunity for that to happen with stu­dents, that’s the best part. There are books that sort of altered what has hap­pened to me, and I don’t assume that every book I teach is going to be that for stu­dents, but I still get to be par­tic­i­pating in that opportunity.

What is the most sur­prising thing that has hap­pened while you were teaching a class? 

There was one time I was a student teacher and I threw a kid out of class. And after he left, the rest of the class applauded because they had been waiting for this to happen for months and months before I arrived ther