Friday, March 15, 2013

Trifecta of Bloggy Generosity

It's bloggy awards time again, faithful readers. Two weeks ago, I was honored to receive three bloggy awards from two bloggy friends. Sleepy Joe bestowed upon me both the Authentic Voice award and the Versatile Blogger award and Kathy Collier, a newcomer to these parts, granted me a Liebster Award. My thanks to Kathy and Sleepy Joe.

As anyone who's been around the blogiverse for any amount of time knows, these awards always come with certain rules and conditions. And as anyone who's been around this specific blog for any amount of time knows, I always end up bending some of those rules to the breaking point.

This time, I'm smooshing the awards together a bit. I'm answering Kathy's Liebster questions and plagiarizing an old list of my own questions to pass on to anyone who wants to play along. I'm providing my 7 random facts and 11 random facts concurrently for a total of 11 random facts, for those keeping track in the stands. And, as always, I'm not passing along to individual bloggers, since most of the bloggers in my immediate circle have likely already received these awards in recent weeks, but I would like to invite anyone interested in playing along--especially you lurkers out there--to hop over to Kathy's or Sleepy Joe's and grab the official rules. If you decide to play along, let us know in the comments so we can check out what you come up with.

First, Kathy's questions. I've only recently "met" Kathy. As you'll probably be able to tell from her line of questioning, Kathy's a writer. Follow the link on her blog to check out her YA paranormal romance, The Veil.

1. What would your perfect world look like? Everyone would have enough of the things they truly need and the wisdom to realize enough is enough.

2. How many hours a day do you spend writing? Right now, I spend less than an hour a day. How much time do I spend thinking about writing? Berating myself for not writing more? Wondering whether I'm not writing because life is so complicated or if life feels  so complicated because I'm not writing more? Right around 24 hours a day, I'd imagine.

3. What inspired you to write? I've been writing for almost as long as I can remember--since second or third grade at the latest--so it was less an inspiration from outside myself than a compulsion from within myself, I think.

4. Who do you have to critique or edit your work? Mostly myself, with back up from Google and internet sources for grammar, factual research, etc. Occasionally, when I am undecided between two turns of phrase or struggling with a structural issue, I'll ask advice from Hubby or Daughter-Only. I do often wish I belonged to a regular writer's group--not just for the advice, but for the accountability. Having a First Reader (or Readers) waiting every other Thursday for new pages might be just the nudge I need.

5. Do you have a Muse? Not a Muse in the traditional sense, but a few mascots and props--a favorite pen, a Squidward doll, and, of course, my beloved Thinging Cap.

6. What time do you write, day or night? I think I write better during the day, but between children and full-time employment, it has been a very long time since I've had any kind of writing routine at all. I have been incrementally trying to improve that situation over the last year or so, with some small success.

7. Describe your work area. It's a pretty standard issue small home office area--a cheap desktop computer on a cheap computer desk, the shelves and drawers of which are crammed full with writing guides, files with old work, etc. I do have the luxury of a ledge-style bookshelf that runs around two walls of the room. I need a ladder to fetch books down, but they make great company right where they are.

That's the official work area, but I have to admit that a lot of the real "work" of writing gets done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper on a lap desk in the living room or at a table in a quiet corner of the library or spread out on a blanket at the town park.

8. Who is/are your favorite author(s)? Way too many to name, which seems like a cop-out, I know, but to begin listing individual names would be to reveal far more about the depth of my reading addiction than I am prepared to share here.

9. What have you written so far (published or unpublished, poetry, etc)? Except for some appropriately adolescent poetry and a few angsty teenage short stories I wrote in high school and a few greeting card ideas I sold in my twenties, I have written only non-fiction--primarily essays and opinion pieces. I have about 20 publication credits, mostly in small magazines and newsletters. My "biggest" credits were in Woman's Day, The Writer and The Buffalo News. And, of course, I have been blogging for almost eight years--many of those posts don't count as "real" writing in my eyes, but a couple of them do.

10. What's your favorite color? My stock answer is purple, or shades thereof. But it really depends on the context, I think. I feel very strongly that certain colors are more appropriate for certain things than others. And I also feel very strongly that teal should simply not exist at all.

11. What's your favorite kind of pizza? With the exception of anchovies (the edibility of which is completely open to debate), the more toppings the better--mushrooms, peppers, onions are necessities--everything else is a bonus.

And, now, eleven random facts that I'm reasonably certain I have not revealed on the blog before...

1. For a period of time in the fourth grade, I chewed the ends of my hair. I don't remember now why I started or how I ever stopped.

2. "I can do better" is the thought that keeps me awake at night and the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.

3. I rarely leave the house without a book or magazine and every time I do, I regret it.

4. I am currently involved in a passionate love affair with spinach. We've been meeting a couple of times a week and I still can't get enough. There's seemingly no end to the things that spinach can make better.

5. After months of abstinence, I've recently had a relapse. Not only have I spent an absurd amount of time on the site these past few weeks, I've graduated to contacting county court clerks to request copies of records that aren't available online. I may be too far gone this time to ever come back.

6. The other night at work, I was rushing around like a multi-tasking madwoman panicking a little as my to-do list continued to grow despite my checking items off at a furious pace when I noticed that my thumb felt a little weird--warm and tingly. I didn't remember doing anything to it, but over the course of the next few hours, a deep wrap-around bruise appeared just above my top thumb knuckle, even turning my nail bed a disturbing purply blue. Somehow, without my even noticing, I managed to slam my thumb in something.* I was too busy to take care of myself, too busy to notice or recall a moment in which I did myself bodily harm. There's a metaphor in there somewhere. But I can't spare the time to figure it out.

7. Speaking of metaphors. Best passage I read all week: "After the accident I wasn't swimming, but I wasn't drowning either. Treading water, maybe? Holding my breath and going under, coming back up when I had to. Metaphors fall apart. They always do." ~~Joel Peckham, "Swimming" in The Sun, February 2013.

8. I was five when Baby Brother (who turns 39 today, by the way) was born. For about a week or so after he came home from the hospital, I was utterly convinced he was an elaborate inflatable doll. The scab on his umbilical stump covered the air valve; I was terrified someone would bump it and air would hiss out of him until he was completely deflated.

9. Sometimes I think I should get out more; sometimes I think it's better for everyone that I don't.

10. While trying to log into Facebook on my cell phone, I entered my password incorrectly and received the message: "Facebook is unable to authenticate you." I'm thinking of getting that printed on T-shirts and handing them out to everyone I know.

11. My need to park perfectly has gotten completely out of control--as has my outrage at people whose substandard parking skills make parking perfectly more difficult for me. C'mon, people! Those tidy white and yellow lines are not meant to be merely decorative!

And now, my questions for anyone reading who wishes to play along. If you post your answers, please be sure to let us know in the comments.

1. If time travel were possible, where would you go first? The past? The future? A specific time?

2. If you could claim any existing literary work as your own, what would it be?

3. You come upon a group of extraterrestrials disembarking from their ship in a deserted field. What is your first thought? First action?

4. I once read that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. Which scent most strongly brings back childhood for you?

5. If you could rewrite the ending of a favorite book or movie, which one would it be and why?

6. Speaking of childhood, what food or foods make you wrinkle up your nose even now that you're a grown-up?

7. Who is the friend who's been in your life the longest? How did he or she come into your life?

8. Who has been your greatest teacher (inside the classroom or out)?

9. Do you have or have you ever had a nickname? Love it? Hate it?

10. What would the teaser on the back of your autobiography be?

11. Though you've no doubt been warned, do you nevertheless judge books by their covers?

*Injuring myself without noticing is anything but a rare occurrence. I am frequently covered in angry-looking bruises of all shapes and sizes that I have no memory of getting. At dinner one night at the halfway house, one of the clients looked at the four or five visible bruises on my arms and asked if I was being abused at home. I thanked him for his concern and assured him that the only one abusing me is me.


  1. I was so quiet reading every word of your blog, that Annie thought I had gone to sleep. Entertaining as all get-out. Thanks for the smiles!

  2. I need that hat! And when I got a shot the other day, my 5 year old was all "get the Band-Aid ON NOW!!" He, too, thought I was leaking.


  3. I love your hat and your answers. Sorry I couldn't respond sooner. I've been out of commission for the past three weeks, but I'm back now and rarin' to go. I love your sense of humor and so understand the "todo list"and laughed out loud when I read your version of your baby brothers first homecoming. What a hoot! Thanks for the laughter. I like your outlook on life and am looking forward to the A to Z Campaign. Have a wonderful week.

  4. I think I must play along. These questions are too much fun.

    I've moved my blog, by the way. Now I'm over at May I Have a Word. I hope you'll come visit when you have time. :-)

  5. I am so glad you accepted and bent the rules ;-) I love to find out the ways my bloggy friends and I are similar :-)