A few days back the Liebster award was bestowed upon this blog by Cheryl Fassett, thanks so much Cheryl! Blog awards come with rules, and I have to admit that while I try to comply to the utmost of my abilities, there is one spot where I always fall short. Instead of choosing a set number of fellow bloggers to tag, I invite anyone who reads my blog to accept the award, in part that anyone who keep coming back for more of my ramblings deserves several medals. Also I like to share the wealth. So, if you feel so inclined, have a go with the questions Cheryl posed to me. Now, onto answering those queries…
1. Are you a blogger at heart or do you dream of writing novels, plays, poetry? What are your writing goals?
I’ve been blogging longer than I have been writing fiction, and while I am a fairly prolific blogger, writing novels, and recently a few short stories, is truly my calling. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger, but full-length manuscripts were always what I truly ached to create. Publishing my first novel with a small press was a thrill, but independent publishing has been the answer to my dreams. Now the rest is gravy.
2. Where have you travelled? Where do you dream of travelling?
I always wanted to visit Great Britain, from as far back as high school, in part due to my love for singer Kate Bush. Imagine my shock when at the age of twenty-eight, my husband called from work, asking what I thought about moving to England! On my thirtieth birthday, we flew into Manchester, were picked up in a taxi, then whisked to Yorkshire, where I spent eleven magical years. We didn’t do a lot of traveling on the continent, but I loved Barcelona and Brussels. Our kids enjoyed Disneyland Paris, but we all missed out on seeing Paris itself due to a stomach bug. Scotland and Wales were stunning, and I was thrilled to visit Ireland, staying in Cobh, formerly Queenstown, the last stop of Titanic before she left for sea. In America, I’ve spent time in the Midwest, Florida, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. To be truthful, other than Yorkshire and my native California, no other place comes close to settling in my heart. If I could return to Britain, I would, if for no other reason than endless cups of tea, and the lengthy, if not always warm, summer days.
3. What are your greatest pet peeves?
Oh goodness, bad drivers, or what I constitute as poor driving; not using one’s indicator is a HUGE annoyance. Those who run lights very late, it’s so unsafe. Drivers who use the motorway as a speed course, or those who doggedly refuse to even attempt the basic limit and aren’t in the furthest right lane, oi! I love to drive, but few things spark my ire more than ill-manners behind the wheel.
4. Do you have pets? If so, names please! If not, do you wish you did?
No pets, other than the hummingbirds who have adopted us. My daughter’s basset hound Buttercup is as close to pets as I wish to be.
5. What super power do you wish you had?
None really. Well, being able to hear a little more clearly would be appreciated.
6. What are your favorite books?
I love this question! My all-time fave novel is In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan. It’s slim, surreal, stupendous. Non-fiction leads me to And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts, the history of AIDS written as the epidemic was still raging. Haywire by Brooke Hayward is a beloved memoir, while Dorothy Day, A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles is my preferred biography. As for poetry, Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes. A powerful and poignant travel through the lives of the former British poet laureate and his late wife, American poet Sylvia Plath, Birthday Letters is part confessional, part tribute, and part dissection of love celebrated, then gone so deeply wrong.
7. What are you reading now?
The Last Hero: A Life Of Henry Aaron. It’s a good read, although tedious in some of the baseball details. Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth in total home runs, initially all I knew of him. Right now the Milwaukee Braves have just won the 1957 World Series, Aaron carted off the field by his mostly white teammates after securing the victory. What amazes is at the same time within this nation, a mob of white students beat several black students attempting to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
8. What is your best childhood memory?
The most outstanding memory, but not overly notable at the time, was when I was five, splashing in a dip in our front yard, where a large almond tree used to stand. It was removed before I was born, growing too close to the house, leaving a sizable indentation in the lawn. Not far was the swamp cooler, resting on stilts, pouring cold air into the house. A short hose led from under the cooler, usually flopped onto the dry grass. My sister, then three, and I would set the hose into the dip, creating a small pond for ourselves, basically to cool our feet. Summers were very hot, sometimes in triple digits, and that cold water was a little bit of heaven.
One day, while dousing my toes, I knew I needed to go inside to ask my mum something. From where the sensation occurred is lost to me, but what I gained in that query has sustained me all my life, bringing me to where I am this very moment, typing up these answers; I wanted to ask Christ to be my saviour. All I recall is getting up from the grass, stomping my bare wet feet along the rather hot concrete of the front porch, then running inside, only one thing on my mind. I don’t remember anything else but that set-up. Yet what happened afterwards still dwells in my heart, forty-one years later.
9. What were you afraid of when you were 10?
I honestly can’t recall anything specific.
10. What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
Walking along the ocean with my husband, then getting a sweet at one of our favourite places. Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola springs to mind.
11. Do you have a day job? What do you do to pay the bills?
Writing is my day job. I’m blessed that my husband’s career covers our expenses.
11 Random Facts About Me
1. Only recently have I come to embrace the joy that are post-it notes.
2. I know one crochet stitch, a double stitch, and have no desire to learn any others.
3. I can drink lattes luke-warm, but tea has to be hot.
4. The only jazz vocalist I listen to is Blossom Dearie. (But I adore a plethora of jazz musicians.)
5. I make bookmarks and coasters (for cups and saucers) using Aida cloth that has been decorated with some amount of cross-stitching.
6. I still have all the 45 singles that I listened to when I was a young teenager.
7. I stopped eating French fries in 1996. I quit drinking soda then too.
8. For all our years in Britain (and all my adoration of sports), I never embraced cricket or rugby, darts or snooker.
9. Since I was sixteen, I’ve worn Birkenstocks, but not the same pair all that time.
10. In 2005, I grudgingly started using a digital camera, mostly to easily post pictures onto my family blog. Once I got the hang of it, I never returned to my film camera.
11. My favourite colour is blue.