The inordinately kind Oscar Alejandro Plascencia of California (pictured) has nominated me for The Blogger Interview tag. This award is a means of getting to know the person behind the blog.
Getting this nomination from Oscar is thrilling; it’s like Albert Einstein nominating a four year old for the Nobel Prize for Physics for creating a toppling dominoes arrangement. Thank you, kind lovely Oscar. Oscar’s blog, called In So Many Words, is an exploration in metrical writing of love, hope and faith, frequently with a gay theme. At present Oscar is engaged in a dream campaign for “Performer of the Year”, via the entertainment blog known as The Neighborhood in a one-of-a-kind online show called “A Star is Born”. He would undoubtedly appreciate your weekly vote. Please support him!
The rules of The Blogger Interview:
Mention the person who tagged you.
Answer the questions in full.
Tag up to ten bloggers.
The interview questions:
How did you get into blogging?
My partner has a translation business, translating chemistry safety procedures into over eighty languages. (He doesn’t translate them all himself! He’s only got nine languages! He has chemists all over the world doing the translations.) His website is on WordPress. I said I would manage it. What better way to learn how to do something than to do it! I set up my blog on WordPress. But what to write about? I shall write a story a day… I still managed the translation website, but my personal blog provided an interest.
Not long after starting the blog I slipped and broke my ankle (bending down to pat my cat on a slippery path) and got all sort of spiral fractures. Clots formed on the lungs. My limbs swelled like there was no tomorrow. They couldn’t operate. I had to lie on my back with my leg tied to the ceiling. They put pins in my ankle. My heart began to fibrillate. Basically, I was out of action for twelve months.
But – OH MIRACLE! – at the beginning of all this my blog was Freshly Pressed on WordPress, for this story: It won’t last. I was getting over a thousand emails a day. I answered every one. What else was there to do? Within weeks I had over two thousand followers! Google the phrase “family picnic” and this story was number one: Family picnic.
And then the landlord, eager to return to his dwelling to live, gave me notice to move. I was encased in plaster! I could hardly move, let alone pack and carry boxes. The blog languished while I put things in cartons one hobble at a time. I lost so many friends on the blog. Christmas came and went. I had a Christmas tree but got no presents!! The landlord stole all our firewood and our two cows. We moved.
What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?
Get yourself totally organized before starting. Work out your theme, chose a style, carefully select very particular pages and categories BEFORE beginning. Stick to them. I have two pages:
And four categories:
- A Story a Day
- A Music Composition a Week
- A Poem a Month
There’s no good, for example, getting an award and shoving it under “Music” because you don’t know where to put it. I had to start blogging again from scratch, and lost the readers, because apart from the reasons given above it needed reorganizing.
I also find that regularity of posting is helpful. I watch the most wondrous blogs go down the gurgler because the author posts erratically. Likewise for those who post too often. There are poets who post twenty or thirty times a day. After a day you get sick of them. (They’re not actually poets; they’re just people who don’t know how to shut up.)
What would be your dream campaign?
I’m not sure what a campaign is! Does it mean: what is you methodology for getting more followers, more likes, more readers? I don’t think a campaign is necessary. If someone likes your blog they might tell a friend. Gradually over time you gather people who are interested. I’m back to plodding towards around three hundred followers since I started the blog again. I’d imagine it could reach a thousand by the end of the year.
Just be nice – I try to answer every comment. If you want to gather honey, don’t start by kicking over the beehive.
Having said all that, I would like to be Freshly Pressed again on WordPress. It was such a thrill, even though it meant an inordinate amount of work. It’s not so much the gaining of numbers as the exposure and the excitement of the moment!
Do you have a plan for your blog?
Yes. I want to write 1001 stories in 1001 consecutive days! Why 1001? Because for 1001 nights Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights told stories to stay alive!
When they’re complete, I wish to join them together with some thread – in the manner of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or The Decameron, or the Arabian Nights. These are collections of stories that have a linking plot joining the telling of each story. Once that is done, there’s no way anyone would publish 1001 stories! The book would be 1001 pages fat! So I guess I’ll simply trash them!
Story-telling in the Decameron
I’m thinking next year, apart from continuing the daily story and the weekly piece of music, of increasing the poetry output from once a month, to once a week. I find the writing of poetry enormously challenging, and really in fact I need a new challenge. The lovely and down-to-earth and enormously gifted Cynthia Jobin is a constant source of both inspiration and challenge.
What do you think about rankings?
Bloomin’ heck! I don’t know what rankings are! I’m starting to feel a bit of an ignorant fool. Many years ago, I wrote a play called A Treatment of Thomas Chatterton’s Manic-Depressive Psychosis to the Accompaniment of Vivaldi. I was a teacher at the time. We performed the play at a High Schools Theatre Festival. At the end of the Festival it was announced that the competition had been won by A Treatment of Thomas Chatterton’s Manic-Depressive Psychosis to the Accompaniment of Vivaldi. We WON! We WON! The trouble was I didn’t even know it was a competition! We took home cups and trophies and shields like you wouldn’t believe.
Scene from the Chatterton play
So I’m like this with ranking. I don’t actually know what it is!
I’m not nominating everybody I follow. Just a few. It is with great pleasure that I nominate these talented people:
Yvonne of Hello World
Lisa of arlingwords
Susanne of Wuthering Bites
Yinglan of A Simple Life
Poetry by Amit Rahman
Thanks again to Oscar Alejandro Plascencia of In So Many Words for the kindly encouragement.