I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you P. J. Lazos of Central Pennsylvania who blogs at Green Life Blue Water.
I am delighted to accept. At first I wasn’t sure what country P. J. Lazos came from, and then I spied the use of the word “gotten” and I thought s/he’s either Shakespeare or from the United States! Thank you!
The few rules are: 1. Say thanks. 2. Answer the 11 questions posed. 3. Choose 11 more bloggers and pose 11 questions.
Here are the 11 questions and answers. I ask the same questions of others who may wish to partake:
1. Why do you blog?
In The Arabian Nights Scheherazade tells 1001 stories – one a night – else she would get her head hacked off. I sort of began this blog with the aim of writing a story a day for 1001 days. There are 148 story days to go. One stumble, one omission, one falter, and I lose my head; cut off, psychologically-speaking, by the Scimitar of Fate.
2. When did you start blogging?
I started blogging on 9th May 2013. I stopped on 30th June 2014 because I reached story number 555, which was the number of keyboard sonatas written by Dominico Scarlatti. (At that stage Scheherazade’s 1001 Nights seemed too far off). Then towards the end of 2014, filled with regret and ennui, I began to post the stories again, but backdating them from 11th October 2013. Why that date? I have no idea.
3. Do you see yourself blogging in 10 years?
On 7th July 2016, when 1001 stories are reached, I might continue for another hundred or so, because some of the stories should be scrapped. After that I might change the blog altogether. I thought of going for a walk each day with the camera and posting that. Some bloggers do so, and I find it often immensely interesting. As for ten years? Do the dead blog?
4. What’s the hardest thing about blogging?
Blogging is a “community event”. Anyone can read, participate, rejoice, and sneer. I try to answer each comment positively, but sometimes things really REALLY get me down. I have a personality that sometimes lashes out before it has time to think! Once I’ve posted a response that might be taken as mildly offensive, you can’t withdraw it. For example, if I wrote: “You whiskey-fermented, love-sotted, spongeful of belfry bat milk. You amorphous hunk of incontinent stag plaque. Why don’t you get a life?” Suddenly I discover I’ve lost a follower. I find it overly stressful at times.
5. If you could be any literary character, who would you be?
For today I would like to be Gilbert Blythe; a handsome, smart, witty and chivalrous classmate of Anne of Green Gables who has a crush on Anne the moment he sees her. Unaware of Anne’s near-pathological sensitivity about her red hair, he tries to get Anne’s attention by holding her braid and calling her “Carrots!” Anne’s explosively hostile reaction only causes Gilbert to be more smitten. He makes several attempts to apologize, the failure of all of which do not seem to mar his admiration. He attempts apology one last time when he saves Anne from drowning; Anne crassly rebuffs this attempt, only to regret it almost immediately. Years later, he gives up his job offer of teaching at Avonlea School so that Anne may live at Green Gables, upon which the two reconcile and become good friends. And then beyond the book they get married, and presumably have wild sex and lots of kids.
6. Favorite literary genre, and if possible, favorite book?
My favorite literary genre is the Short Story. Possibly my two favorite Short Story writers are Guy de Maupassant and Katherine Mansfield. Maupassant’s The Diary of a Madman is a delight:
I saw, under a willow, a fisherman asleep. It was noon. A spade, as if expressly put there for me, was standing in a potato-field nearby. I took it. I returned; I raised it like a club, and with one blow cleft the fisherman’s head. Oh! he bled, this one – rose-colored blood. It flowed into the water quite gently…
Katherine Mansfield’s dying man in The Daughters of the Late Colonel is equally memorable:
He lay there, purple, a dark, angry purple in the face, and never even looked at them when they came in. Then, as they were standing there, wondering what to do, he had suddenly opened one eye. Oh, what a difference it would have made, what a difference to their memory of him, how much easier to tell people about it, if he had only opened both! But no – one eye only. It glared at them a moment and then… went out.
7. Do you belong to a writing group? If so, how often do you meet? Are there any rules?
I have a fairly substantial inferiority complex, and have never called myself a writer, and think I am not worthy of joining a writers’ group. You have to be good at it! One day I was happily weeding my garden and Margaret Mahy suddenly appeared – she is now dead but world-famous for writing and selling millions of children’s books. The Writer’s Group was having a meeting. Could I come and chair the meeting? as all the writers felt “chairing a meeting” was beyond them! Besides, some of the authors were chatterboxes and they needed a chairperson who wouldn’t mind telling them to sit down and shut the heck up! So I did chair the meeting – even though I was not a member of the group. There were about a dozen famous authors there and me! You had to be a published author to belong to the group. I was invited to join the group but I said “Oh but I’m not published”. They said (see my answer to Number 9) “You’ve had more plays performed than anyone else.” But I never attended another meeting as shortly after I left the area.
8. What’s a typical day look like?
I rise at 5am and feed the cat and dog and turn on the coffee machine. I check the news online and download the emails (usually around 150 or so from the blog) while I get my coffee. I attend to the emails and read the blogs of others. At 7am I take my first pill. By 7.30am I have finished taking my pills, and then I have breakfast. (I’m not joking about the pills – my specialist says that people these days underestimate the value of modern medicine! I trust him! I’ve no option anyway!)
Around 8am I write a story or stories for my blog and attend to comments.
If it’s not raining I mow the lawn, or weed the garden, or just mess around. If it’s raining I mess around. Usually I practice the piano for an hour or so daily. This year I’m concentrating on Joseph Haydn’s keyboard works – it’s only February; the guy’s a genius but I’m tired of him already.
About 10 o’clock I start working, which is formatting in MSWord, Chemistry Safety Procedures that have to be translated into other languages. There can be up to 82 languages that a document might need translating into, and if the formatting is not exactly correct, when the translation is made there’s not a chance in hell of getting the formatting right. Try formatting a document in Malayalam if you can’t read Malay!
I take the dog (and usually the cat comes too) for a walk around 3 o’clock.
I start drinking preparing the evening meal around 5/5.30pm and eating at 6/7pm. After that I mess around and go to bed about 9pm.
9. Have you ever been published and if so, indie or traditional and why?
This is a hornets nest! The New Zealand National Library (that’s a Government Department – pictured) says that if a work “is available to others” then it is classified as “published”. Twenty years ago – or something – a New Zealand playwrights’ association advertised in their newsletter that if you wanted to perform any unpublished New Zealand play, here is a list of titles, playwrights, and how to contact them. The National Library jumped up and down and said there is no such thing as “an available unpublished work”. (You see, they have to get a free copy of everything published). So I guess I have got everything published, because all my writings are available for free. No, I am not Indie. No, I am not traditional. I am “Available”. And not a single copy resides in the National Library.
I used to tell teachers that if they had a copy of a children’s play they were welcome to photocopy it as many times as they wished. And they did! It meant in the long term that I have become “the most performed playwright in the history of the country” – and probably the poorest. And not a thing “published”!
10. What inspires your writing? Does your family support it?
I don’t have any family – well, I have 5 siblings and not a single one is on Facebook – but I have a friend. I don’t think he has ever read my blog. He read my novel and rather disliked it I think. Then again, he might be fussy, as he’s read Wuthering Heights in 9 languages! He has translated for me to read lots of Victor Hugo and a pile of unpublished-in-English Jules Verne.
Nothing in particular inspires my writing. I usually get an idea while having breakfast, or in the shower. The period between sleep and wake is great for ideas, but almost impossible to remember. There’s a certain curve in the road here in Levin where I live. 90% of the time, when coming back home after getting the groceries, I get an idea with a jolt at that curve in the road. Funny, eh?
11. Tell me something unique about yourself.
I can water divine. Not with a twitch of willow, but with a twisted wire that bends and warps towards water.
In my younger, and at times unscrupulous, days I divined the city water supply pipe running under the school property. We tapped it and had free water for several years, watering the cricket wickets (think baseball diamonds) during the long dry summers. They were beautifully green.
As you may know, I never nominate. But here are 11 blogs that I enjoy – amid dozens; you might like to look at all or some. They can take the award if they wish. I would take the nomination if so “nominated” – but then again, I’m an egotistical so-and-so!
I recommend these 11 for your possible enjoyment (please don’t be offended if not mentioned!) I’m just doing my best guys… bloomin’ heck!… I haven’t all the time in the world… And these are some I read almost daily…
The Kitchen Garden
Mrs. Walker’s Art and Illustrations
The Wayward Warrior
Snips & Snaps
Pickin’ Petals Farm and Mud Room
One Grain Amongst the Storm
A Narcissist Writes Letters, to Himself