I’d like to thank Alex Grover for nominating me for this very prestigious award! I would also like to congratulate him on winning NaNoWriMo 2014!! It’s an amazing accomplishment – and THAT deserves an award.
What’s a Liebster award? First of all, it’s a name that my autocorrect keeps trying to forcibly change into “Lobster.” More importantly, it’s probably the only “chain letter” activity I’ve ever participated in because it’s more about giving attention to other blogs as way of helping to get them noticed by new readers, rather than wishing 1000 years of bad luck on people if they don’t do the chain letter they were sent. I really hate that shit.
So, I accept the award Alex gave me, and my nominations are at the end of this post.
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How does the Liebster Award work? Just like this:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post. You can snag it by right-clicking the graphic above.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
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Got it? Good. I’ll begin with the questions that Alex asked:
1. What was the first story/poem you ever wrote? Did you like it?
I have the vaguest recollection of writing some kind of fiction that involved catacombs when I was a 12-13 year old girl. I only remember that part because when my mom read it, she was puzzled about why I was writing about catacombs and asked me if I knew what they were.
The first real story I remember writing, from start to finish, was an autobiography assignment I had to complete for my senior english class in high school. We had months to work on it, and it was a huge part of our grade for the year.
I got an A- on the book. The minus was because I didn’t go far back into researching my ancestry/family history. But my teacher did write this:
Of course I still have the book. Hopefully, it’s not the last one I’ll ever write. And I did like it. When I read it now, I can definitely hear the lack of maturity in my writing voice (I was 17), but at its core, the personality and humor I put throughout the work… that’s still just as Me Now as it was Me Back Then.
2. Think back to that original story/poem. How has that first work influenced other works?
It serves as a reminder to always write as myself. To use my own voice and not try to copy someone else’s. To be genuine, always. When you’re reading anything written by someone else, you should be able to hear it inside your head as though that person were in front of you, saying the words and telling the story to you. If you pay close attention, you’ll begin to unearth tiny hints about the writer’s personality whether they intended to drop those hints or not. It makes an author’s writing more relatable, I think, and when they are being genuine the reader can definitely tell.
3. What’s the weirdest subject you’ve tried to write about?
I was working on a pitch for an article for Cracked, I guess about a year or so ago? It’s been awhile, might have been longer. Anyway, the premise of the article was centered around ways that sex can accidentally kill a person (not including STDs, those are too obvious – Cracked wants the unexpected stuff, the things that make you stop and say “holy shit,” if you know what I mean). Breathing airborne bacteria from the steam of a hot tub (legionnaires disease, which is more common than you would think), carbon monoxide poisoning in parked cars left running (even in well-ventilated areas and during winter, couples have died from this), air embolisms resulting from doggie-style (most common in pregnancy), even cheating can kill you (yes – scientific data has shown that the majority of fatal cardiac arrests that occurred during sexual activity involved men who were having extramarital copulations at the time. 80% of them, according to the study I referenced.)
I eventually abandoned the pitch because some of the examples I wanted to use had either been mentioned in previous, unrelated articles (MRSA infections from pubic shaving was one I remember), or they were not common enough to be considered more than freak accidents (even if they occurred multiple times – electrocutions from homemade sex toys, falling out of windows or off of rooftops, etc), or one editor liked this example but another did not, etc. I ran out of steam after several weeks of research and re-pitches. I lost interest and had other things to focus on.
I remember hoping, though, that I didn’t drop dead suddenly while I was still working on it because my internet browser history… well, you can imagine what that looked like by the end. That’s how I would have been remembered. My tombstone would have read:
4. How do you write? Do you have any rituals the rest of us might think are odd…and want to try ourselves?
I don’t have any rituals, I don’t think. I do need absolute quiet, though. In my house – between my kids, my husband, our longterm houseguest, loud conversations downstairs (or upstairs where I work), televisions, music and two dogs who will spontaneously bark for no reason – quiet times are way too fucking few and far between.
When I read something – anything – I take my time. I have to hear the sentences inside my head as though another person were narrating, like listening to an audiobook or a bedtime story being read by an actor. I hear the inflection, the pauses after commas and between sentences, the tone of voice and the emotion hidden between the lines.
And so I write that way. Like right now. As I am typing this sentence I’m listening to a softer, more buttery and attractive version of my own voice echoing from inside my head, and it’s telling my fingers what to type as it dictates to them. My words have to flow a certain way – they have to sound good when they’re being read out loud. I don’t hear my own voice inside my head when I’m thinking in general, only when I’m composing sentences. Am I like, some sort of savant? I can’t be the only person who does that, can I? It just sounds so fucking weird to me now that I’ve written it out like that. Sorry.
Onto the next question.
5. What’s something that you think your writing lacks?
A lot of the time, I think it lacks direction. I’ve gotten better at honing in on the point of a post or whatever it is I’m writing, but I have a terrible habit of going off on tangents. I edit, and re-edit, and move paragraphs around like they’re a part of a jigsaw puzzle. It can be a tedious process, particularly when the piece is long.
Which brings me to another thing my writing lacks. Concise-ness. I’ve battled redundancy and wordiness for as long as I can remember. To me, words are like a warm, decadent chocolate cake: something I greatly enjoy but maybe shouldn’t overindulge in as much as I tend to allow myself.
6. What’s something you think you rock at when it comes to writing?
I like to believe that I write humor well.
7. Are you a good storyteller in real life? Or is your raconteur ability only viable on the page? (I ask this because I fall in the latter camp).
Oh, by far I’m a much better writer than I am a speaker. I don’t know if it’s the hatred I harbor toward the sound of my own voice, but I always lack confidence when I’m telling a story verbally. Unless it’s with someone I know well – if I’m talking to a close friend or relative, that’s not an issue. With people I’ve never met before or don’t know well, I’m much more reserved and less… I don’t know. Less me, somehow. I’m not sure why that is.
My writing, on the other hand, that is all me. I feel most like myself when I’m writing, and I think that shows in the storytelling. Or at least I hope it does.
8. Who are your favorite authors? Pick one. What was the moment you decided that that author had immense sway over you?
I don’t even know how to choose between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I really don’t. That’s like asking me to choose which one of my kids I love more, and only a terrible person would ask me to do that.
Terry Pratchett had me hooked at Mort, which is the first book in Death’s storyline in the Discworld series. (For those who want to read the Discworld series, I highly recommend following this map.) Pratchett’s writing style captured me within moments of picking up Mort. It was that fast. And it wasn’t just his sense of humor, which I greatly admire – it was everything about the characters, the way they were described, their dialects, their mannerisms and goofy little quirks. Everything. I was amazed at, and in love with, the world that Terry Pratchett had created because it was just so complete.
And Neil Gaiman, his storytelling is absolutely beautiful. I don’t know which one I love more – The Ocean At The End Of The Lane or The Graveyard Book. His books are ones that I hear in a softer, deeper bedtime story voice when I’m reading – I imagine someone like James Earl Jones, because Gaiman’s words just flow so well when they’re being read out loud.
9. Where do you get your ideas? Where do you go to get those ideas?
I don’t know. I came up with some pretty great story arcs while I was sitting on the toilet a couple of weeks ago.
Still glad you asked that question?
10. What’s your ideal writing food? Writing drink?
I can’t eat while I’m writing, usually. If I’m hungry, I stop and surf the web with my right hand on the mouse while I feed my face with my left hand. Mealtimes or snack times are breaks.
I love lapsang souchong tea. It is my favorite of all the teas ever in the history of the world as I know it, and I drink it all day long. Hot, no sugar or cream. Most people either love it or they hate it, because it’s kind of an acquired taste. Lapsang souchong is black tea that’s been dried out over pine smoke so it’s got a very distinct aroma to it. It’s like sipping a liquid campfire.
11. What is your goal for your writing career?
To write things that people love to read. Maybe some day that will equate to a decent yearly salary, but even if it never does, knowing that people have enjoyed what I’ve put out into the universe is enough for me.
Eleven Random Facts About Me:
1. I eloped in Canada and had a traditional wedding in the US. During the same week. (That’s a long story and a post all on its own.)
2. My hair is almost always a bright color of some sort – flaming red, hot pink, electric blue. As of this post, it’s deep purple… I tend to go a little more dark near winter, not sure why.
3. That’s also why I don’t post a lot of pictures of myself. I’m not one of those people who changes her profile pics all the time, but it’s hard to stay “current” without updating them every month when my hair color changes. So I just don’t bother to do it very often.
4. I love Fruit Roll-ups. Totally freaking love them.
5. I have a really hard time thinking of eleven random facts about myself.
6. I’m extremely prone to migraines.
7. Fall is my favorite season.
8. Winter is my second-favorite season, even though I’m physically allergic to cold. (Seriously. That’s another post all on its own.)
9. I’m a *huge* Rush fan. (The band Rush, not the asshole Rush.)
10. I’m also a huge Ryan Adams fan. (Ryan Adams, not Bryan Adams.)
11. This list took me a lot longer to make than you can even imagine.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time lately, reading new blogs and finding people who have really drawn me into their worlds through their writing.
These are them. And I nominate them for the Liebster Award because I think they deserve the attention.
This blog is a wonderful resource for writers, filled with really good advice and observations.
THIS IS THE PLACE
A great blog about parenting, adulthood, and a love for Doctor Who. Seriously, that’s like the trifecta of awesome.
The Bad F Word
A really well-written blog about mommy-ing and and observations about life. It often contains the word “fuck,” which to me acts as a beacon that signals kindred-spiritness right off the bat.
Never Trust a Jellyfish
This fun blog is about mommy-ing and humor, thoughts on life and general observations on society.
I admit, this one’s name is what got my attention right away. I like tartlets. Especially pecan. This blog is about mommy-ing, family life and humor and I’m really starting to see a trend in my choices…
The 11 questions I’m asking the bloggers I’ve nominated for the Liebster award:
1. Who is the person you admire the most, and in what ways have they influenced you?
2. If you could have one superpower – any superpower – what would it be and what would you do with it?
3. If you could live out your life in a fictional universe (movie, television or book setting), which one would it be and why?
4. What five music albums could you not live without?
5. Do you think you’d survive a zombie apocalypse? What would be your weapon of choice?
6. What is your favorite thing about the area in which you live?
7. You’re an adult now, but if you could send a letter back in time – to yourself at age 16 – what advice would you give?
8. As a child, what did you want to be when you became a grownup? Did you eventually become that thing?
9. What’s on your pizza?
10. What’s your favorite vocabulary word?
11. What is the thing you like most about yourself?