Tuesday, January 29, 2013

liebster love, liebster loser


My good bloggy friend Thalassa over at Musings of  Kitchen Witch has given me a Liebster Award! Thalassa writes a cool and very informative blog about paganism and parenting. She writes openly and without judgement about religion in general and paganism specifically, and her site is an impressive encyclopedia of herbal uses & remedies.  Thanks Thalassa!

But that's not all.  I was also awarded a Liebster by another blogger friend, Katy from over at Katy Brandes Writes!  Katy is a super motivated writer and blogger, always participating in the latest writing prompt or reading challenge.  Her blog is a great source of motivation and inspiration for reader/writer enthusiasts! 

Here's the mortifying thing about Katy's award: she gave it to me in July.  Is there a Liebster Loser award?--given to unappreciative bloggers who neglect their blog award duties?  Send it on over.  

All I can say for myself is that there seems to be some kind of time warp in the blog world.  I just cannot believe how fast time has gone by since I started blogging--or since Katy so generously gave me this award in July. 

But better late than never, right?!

According to the rules, I need to paste the award logos into my post (check), answer the questions asked by my nominators (coming up), then pass those questions, or create a new list of questions, to my own nominees (nominees must have 200 or fewer followers).  And, of course, notify my nominees. 

In the interest of brevity, I'm going to cheat a little and combine the questions from the two awards.  Here we go!

1. Favorite book?

Impossible question (I have commitment issues).  For today I will say Toni Morrison's Beloved.  I read it as both an undergraduate and a graduate student.  I also taught it a few times--and I'm still not tired of it.  I love it for its beauty, its complexity, and its pain.  Toni Morrison's look at community and love fascinates me.  She shows how both can so selflessly give and so selfishly take.  People are complicated beings!

2.  Do you read real books or e-books? 

Both.   E-books use electricity, but real books use paper.  Hmmm.  I feel lost in e-books (I can't see the cover; I can't get a visual on how far through it I am; I can't see or feel anything, really--just an isolated and alienating square of digital information). But you can get an e-book instantly (dangerous for a book-a-holic like myself), and you can travel with a pile of books in one thin contraption.  For the real books that I do read, I'll get new if it's a gift, otherwise, I've been trying to use the library to save paper--something I never did in my book collecting days.  It's sad to send a book back when I'm done, but it's so fun to go to the library!

3. Which art form offers you the truest expression for yourself? 

Writing.  Hands down.  I play piano and enjoy photography, but I wouldn't say I'm expressive in either.  I am a technical pianist, always short changing the more nuanced aspects of playing music.  And in photography, I make it up as I go, so if anything comes out well, it's usually an accident.  That's fine, but I don't know how expressive that is.  From writing, however, I get a deep sense of satisfaction.  When its done, I'm pretty much splayed out there on the page--for good or bad.

4.  Favorite genre?

I'll read anything but romance. 

5.  What always makes you laugh?

Funny stuff, of course!  However, I'm very inclined to laugh when I'm not supposed to - during class when I was a kid, or when someone burps or farts in church, or when I'm supposed to be angry because Olivia put shaving cream on Gareth's pillow for a joke.  If I'm with someone else who's also trying not to laugh and they snort, I will probably pee my pants.

6. What always makes you cry? 

Well, sad stuff!  But also, sports.  A dramatic victory (not a dramatic loss) will always make me cry.  I cried when the U.S. hockey team won the gold back in the 80s.  I cried when speed skater Dan Jansen finally won Olympic gold in the 1994 winter games.  I even cry at the end of the super bowl if it's a close game, and I really really hate professional football.  A hard won victory and suddenly my eyes are brimming.  Weird, huh?

7. What is one thing that you can’t do that you’d love to be able to do? 

Sing.  Some people would say that I can sing, but it's not true.  I can carry a tune within a very narrow and oddly low range. Maybe I'm a tenor? I don't know.  It's a terrible teaser for me because I can usually only sing part of any given song.  My father and his parents have excellent voices.  For some reason, I only got half of their vocal chords. I feel a little ripped off by that.

8.  If you were given the opportunity to spend one more day with a friend or family member who has passed away, what would you do?

I'd love to get a few hours with my maternal grandfather.  He died when I was fourteen.  I regret I never pressed him for the details of why he claimed that my siblings and I are the direct descendants of King Philip, or Metacomet, the Wampanoag chief who fought the settlers so fiercely in King Philip's War 1675-1676.  In case you have a big gaping whole in your history of the U.S., I'll tell you, the Wampanoags lost!  Those pesky pilgrims, from which I am also descended, drew and quartered Metacomet, sent his hands to Boston and displayed his head on a stake outside the town of Plymouth.  Nice!  The thing is, official history claims that Metacomet's wife and son were sold into slavery in the Dominican Republic.  If so, how could he have left a line of descendants in Rhode Island?  I have discovered other families on line who also claim a connection to Metacomet.  Some argue that his wife and son were not sold away (there is no ship manifest listing their names), but rather, whisked away by Indian sympathizers.  Interesting!  I'd love to hear my grandfather's response to these claims.  He insisted on our heritage very adamantly, pointing emphatically at my chest and telling me to "never forget I was descended from a killer Indian chief named King Philip."
9. Do you write? 

Absolutely, but not fiction.  I can't come up with a story to save my life.  I'm currently seeking an agent for the memoir I've written about my experience as a graduate student and adjunct professor of English. If I could ever get that off my plate, I have ideas for two other books, one of which would be to collect an oral history of King Philip - if that's even possible.  I try not to think about it too much since the old folks who might hold the secrets to my past are probably dying off as we speak.  The pressure.

Enough about me!  I'm awarding my Liebsters (pick whichever logo suits you!) to Balancing Jane, and the old jaw jaw.

I have a real soft spot for Balancing Jane because I once lived this life she's living: parenting while teaching college-level English and earning a Ph.D.  When people used to ask me how I did it all, I always said, "badly."  Somehow, Michelle adds blogging to her list of responsibilities, and manages to do it very well.  Her blog, a reflection on popular culture, politics, feminism, parenting and some things academic, is smart, eclectic and real--without being presumptuous.  Hooray for Balancing Jane!

As for the old jaw jaw - what a great title, and I like that we both share an affinity for lower case letters!  Allama's blog is also smart, honest, eclectic and stridently leftist and feminist--all good things in my mind.  Allama writes about popular culture and politics in insightful and brazen ways from the other side of the pond.  She also makes me laugh.  Hooray for the old jaw jaw!

Thanks again to Thalassa and Katy for my Liebsters, and best of luck to Michelle and Allama, I hope you have fun with your awards!  :)



  1. Very cool, Deb! I've learned some history here and been introduced to two blogs that will likely interest me. You might check out a great site I've been frequenting at Studio 30 Plus dot com (although I don't know if you're 30+). It's an encouraging environment for writers of all types.

    Better late than never! ;)

  2. Thank you so much for the award! I really enjoyed reading your answers, and I think the King Philip connection sounds fascinating.

  3. Thank you thank you thank you! I am extremely touched. My responses will emerge at some point when I've returned from YOUR side of the pond :) xxx