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Invasive plants, philosophy and Michelangelo
HEBRON – Now 29 years old, Delian Valeriani grew up in Hebron and still resides there. He is smart beyond his years and hopes to make the world a better place.
He recently took time to tell us about his life.
Q: When were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was technically born in Norway at the hospital, but my parent lived in Hebron. I grew up here in Hebron as well.
Q: Did you have many siblings?
A: I have one younger brother and his name is Peary. He is 21 and he lives in Waterville with his wife and son.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My dad is a teacher at Hebron Academy and has been for over 30 years.
My mom is a grant writer for the Child Health Center and they do a lot of work with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Dad is a licensed pilot and has been since he was in his 20s. It was for private use only.
He would fly around the state and did a few runs carrying people to Canada.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: Since my dad is a teacher at the academy, we grew up on campus housing, but then around the late '90s my parents purchased the house.
I hung out with the local kids and all the other faculty brats.
We weren’t restricted from playing at the academy, so the entire grounds were our backyard. We wandered around the campus all the time.
When we were really young, we would take Big Wheels and go down the hill and crash them. And when I got older we would ride our bikes everywhere on both the campus and all the trails around.
In the summer we would go camping and my favorite was probably hiking. We would hike sections of the Appalachian Trail. And then one summer, my dad and I hiked the entire Maine section.
I would go with him sometimes on the plane and that was fun. There sure are a lot of trees and farmland in the state. But when you cross the border into Canada, it is real wilderness. When you are in Aroostook County it is mostly farmland and you can see the border coming ... . It’s nothing but trees.
In my teens, I took flight lessons. I have quite a few hours logged, but have never gotten my license. It is quite expensive between fuel and renting a plane. ... Maybe someday.
In the summer, my dad worked for, what was then called, the Samantha Smith Summer Camp. It’s in Poland and it’s a world peace camp that was started by her parents and a few others after Samantha’s death. My dad had a ground school at the Auburn Airport and he would teach the kids with flight simulators. He was pretty involved with the school. The first kids that came were from Russia and she had been to Russia on her peace travels.
I liked cross country and track and field.
I started drawing when I was in middle school. And then I started doodling on everything.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I was always wanting to investigate things, so I wanted to be either a scientist or a detective. I loved going out in the woods and digging things up. The house we live in was an old farmhouse and it had all sorts of neat things to dig up; old farm equipment, a few bottles and bowls.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to Hebron Elementary, then Guy Rowe through sixth grade and then to Hebron Academy.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: No not really. I wasn't into that too much, but I’m sure if I ask my brother he could come up with a few pranks I pulled on him.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: I worked a little bit with maintenance in the summer and I helped to lay down the new track at the football field.
I went to Central Maine Technical College for graphic arts and printing. I got my associates of applied science. I love art and wanted to do something practical with it as it is hard to make a living as an artist.
I also went to Rockport College for film and video production, focusing on directing photographer. That was another two-year program and I got an associate of the arts.
Q: Did you work while going to school?
A: Yes. I worked for a few publications when I went to Rockport College.
Q: What do you do now?
A: I learned to dive at Skindiver’s Paradise in Lewiston a few years ago and in the summers I go to Lake Arrowhead and work from June to August getting rid of invasive plants. We have two pontoon boats with a pump that they used for gold drenching. ... It was converted into a giant vacuum pump and is attached to an air compressor. Lake Arrowhead is by far the most infected water we have in the state.
During school, I work on and off at the dining hall at Hebron Academy.
I’ve also worked in the winter for Maine Sports Outfitters, L.L. Bean and a tent company.
I pretty much do anything I can in the winter.
Q: What about your art?
A: I never really pursued the graphic arts, but I just had a showing at the Maine Book House and have another one in Lewiston with my art. There is also an Art Walk in Lewiston that they do on the last Friday of every month and I hope to get into that next summer.
Q: Where do you find life taking you?
A: Never really know where life will take me. I am, in general, focusing on pursuing a career in writing.
Q: What do you like to write about?
A: I have been doing a lot of reading about philosophy. Nietzsche is a philosopher who is an individualist and some of his ideas are similar to mine. I feel I am moving beyond what he spoke, which is the opposite of Plato. Plato was just evil. He believed in social engineering and I don’t believe in that and so much of the philosophy today is based on that ... the nature of ideas and how they propagate.
I have also read a lot on Ayn Rand and she believes that philosophy begins with existence, identity and consciousness. I have only read about her recently, but I agree with many of her conclusions.
I want to write a book about my objectives in philosophy ... It may be just a dent, but I won’t know until I try. It’s all about ideological structure.
Q: Anyone said you look like someone famous?
A: Usually I get told I look like David Bowie or Kid Rock. With my hair and earrings, I don’t know why they think I look like a rock star!
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: When I was going to Central Maine Technical, we had a trip planned to Italy. It was during the time of 9/11, so because of the liability the school decided they didn’t want a teacher to go. So a few friends and I went and we got my dad to go as a chaperone. We figured it was a safe time to fly where everyone was on their guard.
We went to Florence and Rome and pretty much did our own thing. We had gone with a tour group but wandered around pretty much on our own. We did meet up with them as a group to go to the Vatican and a few other places. We saw the Coliseum and all the sights of Italy.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: Just being there and walking through the streets of Florence. The roofs were all red and that was interesting. And the Vatican was awesome.
Q: Being an artist, you must have loved the art?
A: Oh yes. The sculptures, the reliefs and all the art; we were just in awe of it all. Seeing Michelangelo ... it was all quite impressive, especially knowing how long ago it had all been created.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: I feel that most everyone you meet influences you to some extent. Some people influence you more as you go along the way, and there are some that make major course alterations, like a teacher that inspires you.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: My hobbies are pretty much what I do; my art and my writing.
I also enjoy riding my Harley Sportster and doing basic carpentry.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. It’s a book about modern economic theory, specifically the Federal Reserve.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Everything. I just want to know as much as possible. What's the phrase? Man of many trades ... master of none.
I am a generalist and take all types of concepts and see how they link together.
I just like learning all about life and what makes people tick.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: My ability to learn. ... Even if you lose all of your knowledge, you can always learn. It is all about never getting set on one view, because, as they say, the more you learn, the less you know.
Q: Do you have a hidden talent or a talent you wished you had?
A: One thing that I haven’t explored too much and would like to do as some point is pick up a musical instrument. I am a little afraid to do that though because I love listening to music and I wouldn’t want to ruin that.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: That I have a great appreciation for everything that humanity has created so far. Humans are amazing creatures and we all are just learning as we go, but we are way too hard on ourselves.
I have so many goals and so little time to do it. We all must do what we can as long as it’s in the realm of possibility.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and who with?
A: My immediate thought would be on a space ship or a luxury cruise ship, but actually if it’s just my own last day, I think I would want to be alone. I would find a tall mountain; the biggest one I could reach and just sit there.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: Mohammed ... and I'd just ask him 'how did you do it?”