Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments, I Mean Ten Questions. And More.

photoI am “It”. No, really, that’s not just my Godzilla-sized ego talking: I’ve been tagged, and I didn’t even know there was a game going on. So very like me to be caught unawares. Least I was wearing more than just my “underwears”!

Among the activities in which the denizens of Bloggervania indulge are those through which we unmask various bits and bobs of our selves for mutual edification or at least amusement. This can be dangerous or great fun, depending upon whom you ask what, but then that’s the way it always goes, isn’t it. The promise of a nice sunny afternoon swapping gossip over a cuppa suddenly turns into a sword-fighting bloodbath. Oh, no, that was the murder mystery I was reading last night. Never mind!photo

Here’s what I got asked, followed by my to-the-best-of-my-knowledge-true answers.

1.  Describe yourself in seven words.

I can do it in 1: Rich. Okay, here are six others, but they’re all extrapolations of the first: loved, happy, curious, privileged, encouraged, playful.

2.  What keeps you up at night?

Brain-spin. I’m a very good sleeper generally speaking, but if I don’t quiet my mind by bedtime and shut down the wacky-factory, there’s no telling how long it’ll keep me too busy to sleep.

3.  Whom would you like to be?

The best version of me I can manage. Too much work to figure out how to be anyone else!

4.  What are you wearing now?

Jeans and a comfy shirt suitable for doing chores between bouts of typing.

5.  What scares you?

Other people’s drama.

6.  What are the best and worst things about blogging?

In my circle, we all seem to experience the same basic risks and rewards: the risk of losing ourselves completely in the effort and time of dedicated blogging, and the reward of working amid and coming to respect and love such stellar folk as populate the blogging community. Come to think of it, that pretty much encapsulates what I think is good or bad about any activity for which one has a passion.

7.  What was the last website you looked at?

Retire Early Lifestyle, a travel, food, culture and off-the-beaten-path-living journal produced by the only friends I’ve acquired through online conversation before I began blogging, and a site that is simply a joy to visit.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Let go of fear.

9.  Slankets, yes or no?

I have three perfectly excellent reasons to Just Say No to Slankets: 1-The skill a perpetually freezing person develops for dressing in layers more numerous and impressive than those boasted by the best millefoglie, 2-A really cuddly husband, and 3-What, I need to make a bonfire out of my money because I don’t know how to wrap up in a plain blanket to get warm?

10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

John comes from good stock. By that I mean that he has great familial roots, and that they are such natural foodies that he learned early to appreciate and make excellent soups, among many other classic Italian dream-foods. He documents all of this, and much more, on the wonderfully warm, witty, artful and delicious pages of From the Bartolini Kitchens, all while being himself ever the debonair gentleman-about-town and as sweet as fragole.

Whom are you going to tag to join the quiz?

I hope I’ve not “double-tagged” anyone. I’ll just go alphabetically here, for fun:

  1. Antoinette at cooking-spree
  2. Bella at winsomebella
  3. Cyndi at cfbookchick
  4. Dennis at thebardonthehill
  5. Eden at litrato-ngayon

photoMy blogging friend Antoinette, she of the wonderful aforementioned site where you can learn from her expertise how to put “Love on the Table” but more importantly, the myriad ways she expands that love into a multitude of life’s little nooks and crannies, all with a measure of mindfulness and gentle good humor–this lady asked me yesterday the perfectly innocent question “how . . . do you do this?” Since the bellissima Bella (also tagged above) soon thereafter made a comment that begged the same question, and I have fielded a few inquiries in a similar vein over the last six months of blogging, I am going to take the self-indulgent opportunity to spout off a bit on the topic today.

Many folk simply wonder how it’s possible for me to post a new and (mostly) different essay, poem, story or combination of them, illustrated with my own art and photography, every single day. They politely edge up to the corollary question of whether I don’t have a big closet full of old stuff that I’m just pinning up in public as I go. If it’s any consolation, yes, I have been producing things like this for a rather long time. Yesterday’s post ( is a perfect example: the cow sketch is from some doodling in a notebook nearly 30 years ago (and digitally doctored yesterday); the rooster and hens scratched their way into my sketchbook last year; the birds were among many sketched multi-panel proposals for a set of organ pipeshade carvings around 7 or 8 years ago; and the pastel of the Cheviot ewe and the Highland cow is from about two years ago.

Some of the illustrations I use (photographic or drawn/painted) are completely, hot-off-the-pencil new, a few are practically archeological finds from my vast trove, and some are oldies that have been digitally “remastered” (dolled up or changed) to fit the occasion. Almost every visual image requires some tweaking or re-formatting for the blog medium or to better reflect and expand upon the text in some way. Regular readers will have noticed that I am not averse to using the images’ captions to try to intensify the relationship and relevance, ‘specially if the connection was a little tenuous or artificially-imposed at the start.

In addition, I do have a (digital) reserve of hundreds and hundreds of picture + text images like the ones I used on Tuesday (, set up like book pages, where I guess without knowing it I was practicing a variant of the sort of combined word and image that I’m now putting in this blog. I try not to dip into that storage much, if nothing else to prevent my getting lazy or stale or not producing anything strictly new. There is a remote possibility that they will someday in fact be used to produce actual books, but realistically, publishers are inundated with stuff they find much more relevant and exciting, and like most artist-types I hate the drudgery of trying to sort out the whole business end of book production. Hence my standing on this soapbox handing out free samples daily. And I thank you all for coming by Speakers’ Corner (though since I live in Texas I suppose I should pretend it’s in Rawhide Park) here for visits so I don’t die of neglect and boredom.

digital compositionThe prose of my posts is never older than a few days (and that, only if I happen to have gotten a day or two ahead in writing), but nearly always written on the same day the posts go online. The poems are a mix of old and new. I started wading in poetic and essayist waters as a mere stripling, and as long as twenty years ago spent a twelvemonth writing five poems a day for discipline. Yes, mostly short forms! A couple of years ago, I did a one-drawing-a-day year, and I’m gearing up to get back to somewhat more regular drawing and art-making, so hopefully I’ll be posting more ‘fresh produce’ soon, but having unused images in storage takes an nth of the pressure off of the blog production. As it is, the process takes me several hours of the day to get through both creating the post itself and the related correspondence.

graphite drawing + textAnd it does take time. I wouldn’t be able to do this other than extremely sporadically if I had a “real” job, that’s for sure. Working from home, I can keep up with laundry and cooking and housekeeping and that sort of thing without losing the flexible hours it takes to do this. That’s the big issue for me: I have a husband who values my art and writing enough to have supported my leaving my previous employment and kept us in financial safety with his own work, and that is a rare and fabulous gift indeed. Or a cruelty to you, if you happen to think I should have kept it to myself. But then, I like to think you’re all smart enough to not show up here if I weary you with my nattering.

Having noted that, I suppose it’s time to address the Why of it all. But that’s embedded in the whole Who-What-When-Where-How of it all, isn’t it. I do this because it gives me joy to play with words and pictures, and because I’m not necessarily cut out to do something else, and most especially because by sharing stories I find new marvelous and inspiring friendships and loves, and renew the best of those I already have, all of which serve to infinitely reinforce my knowledge that I am Rich.

mixed media collage

Gold, Mine (detail from a mixed media collage)

46 thoughts on “Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments, I Mean Ten Questions. And More.

  1. Bravo, Kathryn! A challenge well-met!
    We’re a seemingly well-adjusted bunch around here…we all want to be the best ‘me’ there is!
    I’m head-over-heels in love with the Wheef – when was she penned? And, would you mind terribly if I printed her out to read to the Munchkin? 🙂

    • Thank you once again, my dear!

      Head-over-heels seems to me to be the perfect way to respond to the Wheef’s dance-mania. I did a whole series of Weird Creatures (as written on the green ‘title page’) about 1-1/2 to 2 years ago, and I suspect they might be among the more logical things to compile into an actual book one of these days, so I don’t know that I’ll let any others of them out to play here in the meantime. But I would welcome your doing a printout to share with Chloe, as I feel she’s family now too! 🙂

  2. What a brilliant (what’s new Kathryn?) and interesting post! So loved learning more about you – and am ever-so-grateful to have a bit more insight into how-do you-do-this? Turns out genius takes a village doesn’t it? Always beautiful, often mouth-dropping, and always fun! Thank you so much, Kathryn! (And thank your husband, for all of us who love showing up here, for the all that you share.) Thank you too for the lovely compliments! Straight to the heart they go!

    • The love-fest is decidedly mutual, my friend!! My husband reads the comments, along with following my blog–which I happen to know is something of a rarity among bloggers’ family members, no matter *how* much they love and support each other in general–so he’ll see your sweet thank-you. 🙂 Yes, I couldn’t do this without a lot of behind-the-scenes help and encouragement all along the way. 😀

  3. This was a delight to read in so many ways and that’s why I tagged you. From your opening photo to the last caption, your responses enlighten and entertain us all, just like you do with every post. And thank you for being so gracious in your comments about me. When faced with such kindness, I can not help but ask myself, “What award can I dream up to give Kathryn the next time I’m feeling blue?” Not to worry, I’ll think of something. In the meantime, thank you for showing us a bit more about yourself. This was truly special.

    • John, you are a jewel. I’m glad you found my response to your tag adequate! 😉 Now, let’s be clear: if you have to get the blues to ask me a question or share your thoughts, then I will have to politely decline in advance to prevent your slipping into any doldrums. Will that work?? Much more fun to have these lighthearted and heartfelt confabs in the sunshine! 🙂

    • Naturally you would love the metal, my dear, you have such excellent taste!! 😉

      I am told that writing a book really comes of the same sort of daily practice in which you and I are immersed. The great advantage here is of course getting to bypass the *process* of going through all of those channels from word to solid object, where more editors, agents, critics, publishers and the like must needs stand in the way of the path. Here, I can say what I want, when I want, to whom I want and have the gratification without the terror and migraines.

      More importantly, I’m realizing that it must be the extremely rare book author who gets such instant, constant feedback and *real* conversation with readers the way we do here, let alone forms such bonds of friendship over a book. And who gets free recipes and how-to advice and adorable family/animal photos in the bargain!!!

      Once again, I must tell you that you have been a blessing and a joy to me from the very beginning and have much credit (or blame) for my becoming so happily involved in this whole blogging world.


  4. Such a great topic…. Me, i will describe myself as”Flexible” ….. I am always up at night! Got an ensomia……i love to answer all that question above…. Have a good day!!!

    • Why don’t you post *your* answers to the Ten Questions (or any you might choose) too, Nors! We’d love to know much more about you as well. And after all, if you have insomnia you might as well spend your wakeful time writing answers to 10 Qs, right? 😉

    • Thank you, Dienna! Is that a hibiscus in your gravatar? As you can see, I am very fond of flowers too! Their incredible variety of shapes, textures, perfumes, and so much more is endlessly intriguing, and a live flower seems by its very presence to bring some light and happiness into any place–unless it’s a flower one’s allergic to 😉 –I’m a more contented person when just looking at flowers.

  5. You’re such an intriguing personality and I’m so glad that you’ve been tagged by John… it makes it so much more interesting to have a little “snapshot” view of your inner workings:) You’re really so lovely, inside and out, sublime, creative, disciplined… you’re so very impressive! We are all so fortunate to benefit from your daily stunning creativity.
    ps on this note, since it has come in the 10 links… how do people manage to maintain the blog and the daily communication with everyone?? It was easy at first but, as things do, everything has grown and taken on a life of its’ own. Some bloggers seem to be able to respond immediately, is it because they receive their subscriptions through an inbox?? or do most use the “Read Blogs” tag on WordPress? just wondering if there is a way to be more efficient.. I seem to bumble around and feel I’ve missed some important posts..

    • All of the blogs to which I subscribe for regular reading have to have a way for me to subscribe via email, or I just won’t go to the trouble to look it up. So in my case, each new post does come through my email inbox. In those I read often I check on my most recent comments to the authors whenever a new post comes in, to see if they’ve responded to my earlier questions or remarks. If I’m rarely checking a blog, I’ll usually click the “send follow-up comments via email” or however that’s worded, so I’ll know between check-ins if there’s a conversation happening. But if I do that every time I comment anywhere besides my own blog I’m *inundated* with other people’s responses and conversations, which I just don’t want or need (I usually skim comments on other people’s posts before writing, so as not to ask something previously asked and answered or duplicate comments).

      So far I’ve tried to be very careful to respond to every comment made on my blog (except for a couple of spammish things that bypassed the filter!), but as you say, it becomes increasingly time-consuming. How those of you who have Real Lives demanding your attentions and time do this is beyond me! Even with my cushy situation I’m starting to wonder just how far I’ll be able to keep my pledge to answer everything. For now, it’s worth every effort.

      One thing I *don’t* understand at all yet is what the Follow button on WP really does, because I still have to click a specific Subscribe via Email tab to get any actual notifications. So many things to learn!!! 🙂

      And thanks to the handful of dearest faithfuls like you, completely worth the effort! Many, many thanks for your loving-kindness.

      • Thanks so much for your help… I, too, have clicked “notify me of follow-up comments” etc and despite the fact that there are two choices, both seem to send my everyone’s remarks, not just those responding to mine…. for months after the fact. WordPress has a little explainin’ to do.

        Anyway… so happy to have found you, I love your art, your words, your mind… you’re always such an inspiration:)

  6. This is such a shiny and fabulous post, darling Kathryn! I had been wondering how in the world you can do such fantastic posts every single day and now you have let us in it – I feel almost as if I am privy to some secret knowledge!
    And I am SO going to respond to this tag – tomorrow! I spent far too long getting my post around for today, as I have been in a “one step too weird” mood and decided that I really needed to write something completely different and really, not too good. It is posted with my photo today, so I am sure that you will see it.

    • I am saving your “OSTW” post to read and savor later, since we’re running a slightly busy schedule today. But it looks exceedingly entertaining and well worth the dedicated reading! YAY!

  7. I gave a native plant photo presentation last night and someone asked about posting a picture a day. I said that I have such a large backlog that I could keep posting for the rest of my life without taking any new photographs—not that I would ever do that, given the enduring appeal of something new.

    As you point out, keeping up this pace takes a lot of time, and although there’s no monetary compensation there are the benefits of sharing and meeting people.

    Steve Schwartzman

  8. So beautiful post… I loved it. Especially when it is with your artistic photographs… Thank you dear Kathryn, have a nice and enjoyable weekend, with my love, nia

    • You are sweet to say so, dear Sawsan! I feel that each recipe you share (and each story-behind-the-recipe) helps us all to get to know you a little bit better too, and that is certainly one of the great pleasures of blogging!

  9. I am grateful to your husband for making it possible for you to share all of this with us. He’s a definite keeper. And I am grateful to you because you share so generously with us. Very sparkly.

  10. Pingback: Day 235 – Coloring One Dream at a Time « Cfbookchick – a Girl, a Camera, a Challenge…

    • What, you want to be ME too?? 😉 It’s interesting how many of us discover that any change we want in our lives is in ourselves, not really to *be* something or someone different. That’s encouraging to me, that we actually learn to value our own selves by learning who we ought to be and how we can strive to accomplish that. 🙂

  11. Thank you for sharing all this information with us about your blog’s *back office*. I write so much shorter posts than you and yet it takes me too several hours to get them to a state where I feel I can push the publish button. You are always so generous in the comments you leave when visit my blog; thank you for that. 😉

    • I suppose the way you make me feel ‘at home’ when I visit your blog makes me rattle on and chatter like a contented child! I must say, you’ve made me quite homesick for Dublin and environs, London, etc–places I’ve not been for long enough at a time nor nearly recently enough–by being so hospitable and describing your life and interests so well! 🙂

  12. Oh, Kathryn, you are truly a gem and I love all of your answers! Have you been published? I need to read your “about” again, because, my friend, you are a wonderful writer, with so much emotion and wit that is genuinely enjoyable! Anyway, thanks for linking me back to your questions…it was a fun game and I, too, had no idea “it” was going around…who knows what lurks around the corner in blogland! Sending hugs to you this evening! 🙂

      • My dear, there’s no expectation that everybody can read, let alone comment on, every post (‘specially when I crank out one a day), so no worries! Least of all when you have much more important people and things on your mind. Blessings and healing and comfort to your mom and you and the family. My mama’s awaiting two back surgeries in Feb, so I know how you must feel. You’ll be kept in my heart with much hope.

        • Thanks, Kathryn, I often wonder how others keep up! There are days I wish I were a speed reader! 🙂 I also wish your Mom a smooth surgery and a comfortable, quick recovery…as to my Mom, it’s just a matter of days…she’s been declining and we knew this was ahead, but it’s been tough. However, I finally did some posting and am reading more and hopefully, will follow through with long awaited awards (love them, of course)! 🙂 So, have a cuddly evening with your hubby and hugs to you~ xx

  13. Pingback: Mrs. Sparkley’s Ten Commandments Award « bipolarmuse

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