Wow – my first blogging award. Thank you so much Pempi’s Palace. I’ve enjoyed my blogging experience thus far, but we all need food and my creative beast has a voracious appetite. During the April A to Z Challenge the Beast discovered lots of new crumbs of encouragement and grew as a result. Now this larger Beast is in danger of withering away in the face of a much reduced diet of follows, comments and views. Damn you, stats page. Can’t you lie just once?
Pempi clearly knows a thing or two about being a supportive little blogger. She’s an elementary school teacher, which makes her well placed to critique my writing, and she clearly knows a thing or two about managing tantrums – another known trait of the lonely blogger. It si heartening, despite everything I wrote in A to Z (and you can see the whole sorry month of effort by clicking on the A to Z 2014 link in my menu bar), that Pempi showed the admirable compassion to nominate me for a Liebster Award. Pempi, you should know that in some small way, your action has encouraged me to continue in my quest to create the written equivalent of a tomcat’s nocturnal serenade.
Just a little bit about The Liebster Award (from the German word meaning lovely or valued). It is an award to blogs with a small-ish following typically below 200 followers and is a recognition of that blogger’s work to create more interaction in the community. It is given to say I like your work – and although compared sometimes to a chain letter nothing bad happens if you don’t want to accept or pass it on.
As a grateful recipient of this Award I am required to send a cheque in the sum of $1000 to Pempi’s Swiss bank account and pledge my children’s college funds to her retirement pot. These things I would gladly do if within my ability. Sadly, the wardens restrict me to $1 per week for essentials, so instead I will opt to answer the 11 incredibly personal, though-provoking questions set by Pempi. I then have to find 5 more
victims recipients to nominate for their own Liebster Award and set them 11 teasers of my own. As you will by now have guessed, a Liebster is not a rare beast, but it is the first Award anyone has thought fit to nominate me for since – well since whenever, so I’m taking it like an Oscar winner.
So, without further ado, here are my innermost secrets:
1) Who was one of your favourite teachers and why?
Tricky question as it assumes I had any favourites. Actually I find this question highly discriminatory. What if I had been home-schooled? Or raised by apes or wolves? Also, school was so very long ago. I struggle to recall the names of my children, and on more than one occasion I’ve been close to divorce for getting my wife’s name wrong (hence why men use nicknames – they can give all their ladies the same name). I had a few least favourites, notably the ones who attempted to improve my education via my bottom.
I do one teacher who was somewhat fun. He was my deputy head from primary school. The only thing I remember about him was his occasional readings from TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Macavity’s a mystery cat, he’s called the hidden paw …
I had an English teacher who was a dragon. No, really she was. I saw her several times turn a naughty schoolboy into a heap of ash with a stare.
2) What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology was fun. At least, it was fun rifling through the text books to find the female anatomy pictures. Our biology teacher knew all about this. On day 1 of class he told us all to turn to page whatever and have our fill. He then warned us away from these pages by threatening to use the first person he caught looking as a live model. Teaching must have been so much easier back in the 1970’s. I liked chemistry too – we almost set the lab alight making magnesium bombs.
3) What was your least favourite subject and why?
I was never the right shape for Physical Education and this was the time when there were winners and losers at school. Also, I don’t know if they realise, but most of the school year falls during the coldest times, so why do they send kids outside? I remember bitterly the winter cross-country runs wearing a vest and shorts, or playing rugby on a frozen field. Soccer was a highlight, but even then, the slap of a soccer ball on a frozen buttock delivered a sting that a city gent would pay his dominatrix highly for today.
In classes I quickly came to understand the truth behind the phrase quality over content. A pretty wrapper can hide a lot of ugly junk, and teachers are not immune to the shiny object illusion. In my A level Geography class it became very apparent that the teacher didn’t read our homework. The girls in class produced neat, pretty and colourful work. I on the other hand, did not. My work was accurate but my maps were no coloured. One time I decided to do the pretty coloured drawings, but also included several obvious errors. I got the same grade as the girls that time.
4) Do you prefer to read books on a Kindle or the old-fashioned way?
Always real books. It gets very expensive and dangerous to fling a Kindle across the room if you get exasperated with an author’s strangulation of the language. Books are like people. Some will sit pretty on the shelf, untouched but beautiful to have around. Others will be enjoyed once and then cast aside, an aperitif to the main course, and still others will become dog-eared and broken-backed because they’ve been enjoyed by so many people. Not sure that’s how I wanted to make that analogy, but I leaving it in because I’m running sort of words.
For me the chief reason for books over a Kindle is practicality. Books are eminently portable, easily sharable and low-cost disposable. And I’ve yet to pick up a book and find myself unable to read it because its batteries are dead.
5) What type of person inspires you?
Stoical achievers. I admire those who have faced adversity to achieve their own greatness; people who’ve achieved things far greater than I, perhaps because of their challenge, like they had to prove something to themselves. I met Rick Hansen on his second cross-Canada wheelchair marathon, and Chantal Petitclerc who said she would not have achieved what she had if her accident hadn’t happened. I vehemently dislike people who live their entire lives via social media, telling everyone every time they at a meal or use the bathroom, or worse, attempt to elicit sympathy by teaser posts like “the worst is over, thank God”.
“the worst is over, thank God”.
6) What was (or is!!) your favourite toy to play with?
I like playing with cars. They just got bigger.
7) When did you begin blogging and why?
I got into blogging as a fast track to fame and fortune. I’ve tried the traditional routes like gambling, crime and male prostitution, but none of these pastimes has given me the same inner peace as I get when I our my heart and soul into a piece of writing, knowing that I will bring peace and joy to countless people (countless because a count of zero is zero). I am fulfilling my destiny to become the next JK Rowling. The surgery is scheduled for next month and then I will be halfway there, and falsetto.
8) What blogging tip/tips have you learnt that you would like to pass on to others?
Don’t. Just, don’t. Don’t do it. If you value the sanity of your mind, move away from the keyboard. Put down the tablet. Go outside and dig the garden, walk the dog, speak to your significant other. Anything. If you turn to the DarkSide™ and enter the World of WordPress (or, God Forbid, the Blackness of Blogger) you risk your soul being sucked into the vortex of the anonymous critique.
On the other hand, if you have any nice recipes for crispy chicken fingers with a marmalade glaze, feel free to share this invaluable tip through the wonder of the Interwebs. Personally I would rather not read about your amateur therapy night experiences. Save those for the banality of Facebook.
9) What would you like to learn to do next involving your blog?
The randomness of my blog has been fun, but alas, I do believe the time has come for some order from the chaos. Being serious for a moment, I started this nonsense to see if I could actually string together a few words of my native language and make people laugh or cry (hopefully at the right places). Over the last 6 months I’ve found I can do that, though not with the same regularity or results I would archive if I just cut an onion under their nose. Still, I think I;ve got something to offer the literary world. I’m thinking of now using my blog as a sandbox for story telling and development (because everything written to this point has been 100% factual).
10) Is there anyone you would love to stop by your blog and leave a comment?
Anyone who can pluck me from obscurity would be good. It would be wonderful to think that a great comedian is one day wandering through the WordPress Wilderness, desperate for some sustenance from the heat of criticism for their work. They look down and there at their feet is the oasis of my blog. As s/he drink from my literary fountain they discover new life coursing through their veins from my witty repartee. This comedic god/goddess seeks me out to be their creative muse and I’m elevated to a castle in the stars.
Alternatively, I’m happy for anyone to pass by and comment. Anyone at all. Please ?
11) Name one thing that you do in your life that you think makes the world a better place.
Make people laugh. Unless it is supposed to be a serious moment, then that is bad, of course.
Following the death of my mother-in-law we had a bit of a get together at the house. Everyone was there including the vicar. Our black labrador, Milo, was wandering around the room and the vicar reached down to pet him.
“What a nice dog,” he said.
“Yes,” said I. “He’s actually a golden labrador, but we had him dyed for the occasion.”
Okay, so now to the tough part. 11 questions of my own for my victims:
1. If you could be from anywhere else in the world other than your home country / state / town, where would that be?
2. What is your favourite cheese and why?
3. What do you want to be when you grow up?
4. Any pets?
5. Where in the world would you like to be, right now?
6. Who in the world would you want with you in this ideal place?
7. What do you enjoy now that you hated as a child?
8. And conversely, what do you hate now you loved as a child?
9. What are the first 5 words you think of when you see this >
10. How do you feel about blogging Awards?
11. In what circumstances would you give a stranger money?
And to whom do I want to offer this award and the chance to answer my questions?
Aewl’s Abode (a fellow AtoZ survivor)
I do hope you each choose to participate.