Culture Creators: An Interview with Joffre “The Giant” Swait


One of my favorite ongoing blog series is LifeHackers' How I Work. Simple questions about how people in a variety of workplaces get stuff done. As I read more and more of these, I kept thinking about wondering about creative people I know and what their answers might be. That got me thinking. Why not host an interview series at my own blog with Christians who are working with excellence, who I admire, and who do creative stuff? I was concerned about getting enough people to host a meaningful series, but the yeses kept rolling in. So here we are.


Who is Joffre “The Giant” Swait? Joffre lives in old mill house with two cats, five chickens, five children, and only one wife. He believes that rugby is the highest athletic expression devised by man, and that every man should know at least one poem by heart.

Mathew B. Sims: How did you get into blogging?

Joffre "The Giant" Swait: I’ve been blogging either as The High Post or Joffre The Giant on and off for twelve years now. I guess it started in '03 because weblogging was the hip new thing to do, and I wanted to keep people up-to-date on the family happy-haps as we were moving back to Florida from Idaho.

One of my first blog posts was a record of a night I spent with a friend drinking port on the lawn. We composed a tercet about the year 1492. I still remember the evening and the poem fondly. I journal a lot less now when I blog, but believe it or not, I wish I journaled more.

MBS: Describe Joffre the Giant blog in one sentence
JGS: My tagline is "excursions in Christian virility".

MBS: What are your favorite blogging tools?
JGS: I use Blogger, mostly because running ads was a pain in the behind with Wordpress. I have a YouTube presence as well, which is where I make most of my money, so I stick with what makes AdSense easy. As far as specific apps or tools go, I can tell you that the Blogger app blows, and that Google's photo services and Google Plus also blow. But long live Google.

I forgot to mention that my favorite blogging tool is my journal.

[Editor: See photo in the carousel below]

MBS: One word to describe your workspace?
JGS: Calm.

MBS: What gets the creative juices flowing?
JGS: Wine. Coffee for reports and work. Beer for essays. Wine for poetry. Or for writing beautiful essays and reports.

MBS: Your favorite pipe?
JGS: Dude. Do you have a favorite kid? I suppose that right now it might be this Boswell. Although my rusticated dublin-shaped Mario Beraldi with a jade ring at the top of the shank is a close second. And I love my Chris McCartor. And my Hackert.


MBS: What tobacco are you currently smoking?
JGS: Like, right now? Cornell & Diehl's Exhausted Rooster, which I've been smoking ad exhaurium for about a year now.

MBS: If you were dying and could only drink one more beer, what would it be?
JGS: Guinness. As a dying man might long for a simple childhood dish as prepared by his mother, so would I be satisfied by a pint of the black stuff.

MBS: What’s your favorite tobacco and drink pairing?
JGS: Beer is most often to be found at the house, and occasionally liquor, but my favorite pairing has got to be one I've only experienced a few times in my life. I like a manzanilla (a dry sherry) with a softer Virginia like Peterson's Irish Flake or University Flake.

MBS: If you could only use one beard grooming product what would it be?
JGS: Beard oil. Easy to make, easy to apply, and it should take the place of your cologne. I have a video on YouTube showing how to make oil, or you could buy some from a company like Beard Joy.

[Editor:  Here's the video!]

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MBS: What are you currently reading?
JGS: From Ulster to Carolina: The Migration of the Scotch-Irish to Southwester North Carolina by Blethen and Wood. I love me some northern Ireland, to the point that I watch every Ulster Rugby match. I just picked up Never Marry A Woman With Big Feet: Women In Proverbs From Around the World by Mineke Schipper. I'm really enjoying browsing through this one. It includes gems such as "A woman who knows Latin will never find a husband."

MBS: What music are listening to right now?
JGS: Meh. In the cycle of music enthusiasm my life seems to be following, I am at a nadir. I listen with abject pathetic unashamed gratitude to anything that Innocence Mission puts out. I'm liking Sam Amidon right now.

MBS: Early bird or night owl?
JGS: Night owl.

MBS: How does your faith affect how you make merry?
JGS: I just try to obey the Lord Jesus, guys, that's all. In Deuteronomy 14 Yahweh commands his people to come worship him by spending their money on oxen, sheep, wine, and beer, and whatever our hearts desires. What with God being so kind to me, I try to enjoy as much of his gifts as possible, and to share it with all my friends.

MBS: What does being a man mean?
JGS: Being a man means caring.

No, not being sensitive. Caring as in curating. tending. husbanding. That's what men should do.