Liebster Award – part 2. Am I random?

Early in my blogging life I decided my posts would be around 500 words.  I haven’t stuck rigidly to that, I probably average 600. It’s been a good discipline for someone who loves playing with vocabulary: I’ve learned about brevity and shaping a story.

Last week, when taking part in the Liebster Award, I had just over 400 words of instructions to paste in. I knew I couldn’t create an introduction and 11 answers with what was left, so for my peace of mind, I decided to only count my responses.  That worked for the set-questions (750 words), but left no room for two optional rules which I thought intriguing.

  1. Write a paragraph about what makes you passionate about blogging
  2. List ten random facts about yourself

Consequently, this post takes a few liberties.

Firstly, I have to wonder, am I passionate about blogging? It depends on how we think passion manifests.  If it’s waves crashing over lovers writhing on the shore, or, as the dictionary lists the synonyms, it is vehement, fiery, heated and feverish, then the answer would have to be no.

free-png-hd-world-globe-download-png-image-globe-free-download-png-1024However, what blogging has developed into for me is not just a regular commitment to writing, it’s a place where I connect with bloggers around the world.  I like to think my horizons are continually broadening, and my weekly posts happen because I’ve made friends. I’m no longer sending words out into the ether, people read and respond.  There is an energy involved in this process that is fed by my friends, and drives me to continue writing.  In other words, this is all your fault.  Really!

10 Random facts:

  1. Never give me an inch, because I will take a mile.
  2. I use random facts to create characters.
  3. I only buy black socks.  It means not having to worry about making up pairs.
  4. There are five hats on top of my wardrobe, two of which I’ve never worn.
  5. DSCF8175I’ve been soaking the blocked black ink-jet on a printer for two weeks, and am determined that this printer is not going to be dumped.
  6. I don’t always try to tell the truth in real life, but I value honesty in fiction.
  7. Despite severe pruning last winter, my fig tree has again grown right across the kitchen window.
  8. I believe that sometimes it’s better for a glass to be half empty.
  9. I will not make a mosaic from the box of crockery shards I have been collecting while walking Rusty across ploughed fields.
  10. I have twenty-two hand-knitted jumpers.  Thanks, mum!

Ray’s just read this, and he says:

“It is difficult to pin down the origin of any thought.  So, we have to question what random might actually mean.  No matter what you do, you cannot find out where a thought originates.  You pick up something intuitively, and have to follow it.  If thoughts only originate in the world, how would we ever be able to use them to express something new?” (Taoism)

Total:  491 Words (including this).     :~)

confuscious, Lao Tsu, Buddha

Making blog-friends with the Liebster Award

This week I’ve been tagged.  Jean Lee has challenged me to take part in the Liebster Award.  She’s answered 11 questions about her writing life with honesty and imagination, and has come up with 11 new questions for us, the 11 bloggers she’s tagged, to answer.

It seems to me that there’s more than one benefit to taking part.  First, it provides me with a ready-made subject for my weekly post.  Second, Jean’s links have provided me with new sites to visit, consequently I’ve made new connections.

It’s a long, long time since I’ve played tag, and this version has a few more rules than the play-ground variety, but at least it shouldn’t involve grazed knees. The rules are:

  1. Link to Global Aussie’s Award blog post. And put the official Liebster Award stamp on your blog.  (Done!)

blog award

  1. Acknowledge and link to the blogger who nominated you. (Thank you, Jean Lee!)
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked. (Tick)
  3. Nominate 5 – 11 more bloggers and spread the ‘new blogger’ love. (Tick)
  4. Ask them 11 fun questions of your own. (Tick)
  5. Let them know on their blogs that you have nominated them.

Optional Rules

  1. Write a paragraph about what makes you passionate about blogging
  2. List ten random facts about yourself

So, here are Jean’s 11 questions with my answers:

What would you consider to be your earliest creative work that foreshadowed the passion to come? Be it taken on a disposable camera, doodled in a school book, or tooted on a kazoo, those school-day scribbles count for something!

A cowboy story I wrote at school, when I was about nine years old.  It had three chapters and was heavily influenced by The Virginian which used to be on tv on Saturday nights.  The teacher read it out to our class, and they thought she was reading from a published book.  I cannot express what a buzz that was.

If you could gain your favorite living artist’s permission to create an homage of their work (for example, writing a fan fic story with your favorite character), who would you approach and what character would you write with?

The witch, Serafina Pekkala, in Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy.

I’m always looking for strategies to fight back the distractions. How do you focus yourself in the sea of Life’s Noise to create?

I use music.  My current favourite is Leo P at the BBC Proms, 2017, playing Moanin’ on the sax, with Christian Scott on the trumpet – though I sometimes spend too much time watching when I should be writing.leo p

What are the three most inspirational places you’ve ever visited?

  • Helen’s at Much Marcle, in Herefordshire.  It’s now a venue, but I had a tour round it at a time when it was pretty much in mothballs – Wow.
  • Liverpool city centre, at around 10.30pm one snowy February, after we’d seen a performance of Salman Rushdie’s, Haroun and the Sea of Stories.  Walking home was surreal.
  • The Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. Just sitting in the empty auditorium has me reaching for my notebook – I once saw a matinee performance of a restoration comedy which must have been on at the wrong time of year, there were only about a dozen people in the audience.  I felt like royalty.

Time for the dead artists now! If you could sit down for a cuppa or a pint with any dead artist, who would it be and why?

Aaah, does it have to be only one?

breugel-wedding-dance-in-the-open-airIn that case, I’m going to be literal, and say Pieter Brueghel, the elder (1525 – 1569).  His paintings are full of stories.  I’m presuming you’ll provide a translator, as I don’t speak Flemish.  But could I just watch him work?

What’s one stereotype people always apply to you because of who you are/where you’re from? Just for an example—I grew like a corn stalk when I was a kid, so EVERYONE assumed I was really good at sports like basketball. Guess what I suck at? ALL SPORTS. Because I live in Wisconsin, people around me just assume I’m a fellow Green Bay Packers fan. Guess what I hate watching? FOOTBALL.

Because I grew up on a farm, people expect me to write rural, and cosy. I rarely read it, and don’t write it.

If there’s one book on craft in your passion you’d recommend to every fellow artist in your field, what would it be?

Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose

Favorite grilled food? The answer should be bratwursts, but because you’re friends, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

Sorry, but the real answer is halloumi.

Okay, I’m not, I repeat, NOT, a huge Disney fan, but even I’ve got a few favorite Disney films, like Something Wicked This Way Comes. What’s your favorite Disney film? No, Pixar doesn’t count.

Pirates of the Caribbean.

And speaking of films, what’s one movie you’re kind of embarrassed to admit you like, but you just can’t help yourself? (Krull, since we’re sharing.)

Miss Congeniality.

Share your current endeavors! C’mon, you deserve a chance to plug your work.

This week I’m working on a short story, in between preparing classes for the autumn, ‘womaning’ the bookstall at the village fete, and wrestling with my weed-infested garden.

Step 3: I’m nominating five bloggers who I think might like to take part, and leaving the other six places open for anyone who thinks, ‘Why not?’  Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re tempted.

Personal and Lifestyle


Migrant Thoughts Blog


Hannah Gaudette

My 11 questions are all bookish:

  1. Hard-back, paper-back or e-book?
  2. If all fiction was banned, and kindles and books were to be confiscated, and you had a special hiding place for just one traditional paper novel, which title would you keep safe for the future?
  3. What story do you wish you had never read?
  4. What was the last book you couldn’t finish reading?
  5. What book do you wish you had already read?
  6. Is there a story you wish you could write a sequel to?
  7. If you could invite four characters from four different fictions to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you feed them?
  8. Is there a novel, or a section of a novel, that you cannot forget?  If so, why?
  9. Which writer would you most like to be seated next to on a train?
  10. Is there a book that you’ve returned to, with fond memories, only to find it’s not at all the way you remembered – in either a good or bad way?
  11. If you could, would you rather be transported into a fictional world, or have fictional characters transported into your world?

There are two optional questions left, and I’d like to answer them, but this post is already much longer than I usually write, so I think I might make next week a ‘part two’.