As a creative free-spirit who is loathe to be categorized for her artistic talent, Anja Notanja Sieger is best known for her poetry, storytelling, and performance therapy.
With a passion for typewriters, the archaic machines symbolize her drive to create messages without the safety of an undo button, and her articulate fascination with the minutia of daily life brings an unacknowledged reality to light for the Milwaukee community.
Editor’s Note: This is the first illustrated interview produced by the Milwaukee Independent, because the innovative approach reflects the personality and work of Anja Notanja Sieger. Video segments were also produced for this feature.
Q&A with Ànjà Notànjà Sieger
Milwaukee Independent: What is the fondest memory of your youth, and was there anyone who influenced your life or interest as a storyteller?
Sticking my fingers in the mud. Adults captivated me with their vast life experiences, and kids because their lives were different from mine. I asked a lot of questions of everyone, especially strangers at restaurants and parties and I got a lot of stories. I remember going to Grecian Delight on North Avenue every Sunday night after church and asking all the smokers in the smoking section, “Why do you smoke? When will you quit?”
Milwaukee Independent: Do you have an extensive manual typewriter collection? And how did you obtain the machines you use? Is there a Holy Grail of typewriters you hope to one day own? And, what is it about the machine that you find so fascinating?
When you write on a typewriter you are declaring your sentences with physical force and you can’t go back. You must be confident, not a computer coward, or an internet troll sneaking around the alphabet.
Milwaukee Independent: If someone wanted to visit the country of Rhatasia, what sights would you recommend? And, does anyone still call you Garfield?
How the heck do you know about the country I made up when I was 16? How do you know about the fact I insisted my name was “Garfield” back in 1990? Should I be concerned you’ve done too much research about me here?
Milwaukee Independent: What is the Subtle Forces and where did the idea come from?
Anja Notanja Sieger and Freesia McKee locked tentacles in 2012 and slowly discovered over the course of numerous live radio sessions and paraben-free snack meals that they are indeed the harvesters and harbingers of THE SUBTLE FORCES.
- The Subtle Forces are the chopped cilantro sprinkled on her soup.
- The Subtle Forces furrow your brow for an 8th of a second.
- The Subtle Forces deliver both the bus driver and the bus rider to their next destination, same as always.
- The Subtle Forces believe that a Revolution must first be felt in the body, it must be viscerally desired before there is any societal momentum. We are society and this is our moment.
- Will we change? Can we feel what change is? Does change feel better than what we have? Is change possible?
- The Subtle Forces exist whether or not Anja and Freesia are there to divine them.
- Will you notice them?
- You will.