I 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!
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:
- Antoinette at cooking-spree
- Bella at winsomebella
- Cyndi at cfbookchick
- Dennis at thebardonthehill
- Eden at litrato-ngayon
My 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 (https://kiwsparks.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/what-were-you-born-in-a-barn/) 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 (https://kiwsparks.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/its-foodie-tuesday-and-i-havent-eaten-yet/), 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.
The 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.
And 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.
Gold, Mine (detail from a mixed media collage)