A Blogging Award and me mumbling on

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The lovely and inspiring Lynne Fisher has nominated me for an award, thank you Lynne! Below, I’ve answered the 11 questions she set me;  and then below that I’ve set 11 of my own that I’d love you (yes YOU) to answer. I’m not going to nominate anyone specific, but it would be great if any of you you felt inspired add your four penneth in the comments.

1.What do you feel is your greatest personal accomplishment?

I guess the thing I’m proudest of, that makes me happiest right now, is just that I am living life in the way that I want: doing a job I care about, spending my free time on things that are important to me, and friends only with people I love and respect.

2. What makes you feel joyful?

Writing, painting, time with people I care about, joking or connecting with just about anyone, walking fast with music playing, driving when the road is clear, when my job goes well, sushi, ice cream, gooey cake.

3.What makes you angry?

Cruelty and bullying, when people use intimidation to win an argument or get their way. On the more trivial side: my laptop has the CD drawer open button on the side just where I hold it to pick it up, so the CD drawer keeps on opening needlessly.

4.What is one law you could change if you could?

I’d legalise all drugs, but control the most dangerous ones – which I believe to be crack, heroin, coke, cigarettes and alcohol. I appreciate this would cause some ructions.

5.Where is your favourite place in the world to be?

The rainforest! The constant chirruping and calling sounds, the bizarre bugs, fungi and plants, the rain, the stars; the urgent clash and competition of life – so much energy, determination and innovation. I lived in one for a while, miss it constantly and visit whenever I can, but I’m a wuss these days and find the heat a struggle and the isolation a bit disturbing. I work with tropical plants to calm the need to go back.

6.What is it about your ‘favourite’ coffee shop that makes it your favourite?

I’m from the past, I’m afraid, and coffee shops don’t interest me. I like coffee and I like cake, so if someone takes me to a coffee shop and gives me these things I am happy, but the actual building I forget as soon as I leave.

7.If your house was on fire (God, forbid) what five objects/items would you just have to save?

Assuming all people get out? My laptop (annoying CD drawer and all), the art/writing project I’m working on, I guess some shoes and a coat would be useful. I have a load of photos/old diaries I would be heartbroken to leave, but it would take a few trips to get them out of the flat, so probably best to leave them.

8.Who would you prefer to play you in a movie?

I think, nobody famous. A homely, unknown actress with a spark in her eye and a sarcastic tone to her voice.

9.What are your strengths?

No idea really. I always try to do the right thing, until I forget or get distracted by cake. I’m good at arguing, although I suspect some would see that as a flaw. I don’t flinch when a cockroach runs up my arm (useful in my job). I have no interest in shoes (some definitely see that as a flaw.)

10.What do you wish you were better at?

Not getting lost, swimming, singing, knowing when to stay quiet, martial arts, tying knots, baking, remembering names, parallel parking, not panicking, paying attention, remembering birthdays.

11.What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about blogging?

That you don’t blog in a vacuum, it’s more fun to connect with people than to just splurge out your thoughts and hope someone’s reading. And people on here are just surprisingly lovely.

My 11 questions for anyone who fancies answering them:

  1. When was the last time you laughed? What at?
  2. What’s the weather like where you are? How does it affect you? (In the UK we’re having a heatwave, everyone is half dead)
  3. What thoughts keep you awake at night?
  4. What conversations do you avoid?
  5. If you were invisible for a week, what would you do?
  6. What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever seen? (Things on the internet don’t count)
  7. If you could live the life of any character in a novel, who would it be?
  8. When do you feel most alive?
  9. You can have a penfriend from any time in history, who would it be? What kind of letters would you write?
  10. Do you ever feel like you haven’t a clue what you’re doing and you’re about to be found out? What makes you feel like that?
  11. Would you like your home country to introduce basic income (everybody gets paid enough to live on whether they work or not)? How would it change your life?

 

I’ve nearly finished the first draft of rewriting my book, so hopefully I’ll start blogging properly again soon. I’ve missed being on here, and many of you out there, I hope you are all doing great and life is beautiful. Even if you don’t feel in the mood to answer my questions, I’d love to just hear how you’re doing. 🙂

 

 

The Blue Sky Tag

I’ve been nominated for an award by delightful writer The Otherhood of One, it’s well worth checking out her blog if you’ve got some time…

I won’t do the nominating other people thing, because I know what busy bees you all are. Instead, here are the questions The Otherhood put to me, and they are gooduns, so if any of you feel like joining in, then I’d love to hear what you have to say.

  1. Name one life event that dramatically altered your life…
  2. Dreams: do you have them or chase them?
  3. What is your “favorite” feeling/emotion?
  4. Soon, we as a species may be colonizing in space.  Would you prefer to remain here on Earth, or go exploring with the pioneers?
  5. What other creative pursuits do you enjoy besides writing/blogging?
  6. Movies are expensive if you go to the theater.  What kind of movie are you most likely willing to pay for to see – drama, comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, docu-drama, etc?
  7. What animal “speaks” to you most these days?  (Can be wild or domesticated, real or imaginary.)
  8. Would you prefer to be happy, fulfilled or content in life?
  9. Are you any, or all, of the above?  Or none?
  10. If your “future” self could reveal one detail about what’s ahead for you, what would you want to know?
  11. What one thing would you like to tell those of us reading this post today

 

Name one life event that dramatically altered your life

Moving to Mexico in 2001. It was done in the most haphazard way possible. I went with someone I barely knew, we had almost no money, and no planned job or any contacts. I bought the cheapest tickets in Mexico that I could find (returns to Cancun) and then we spent the next month moving from place to place trying to find work. We finally settled in Mexico City, which is an intense, creative, polluted, brilliant, complex, hyperactive, scary explosion of a city. I think what I learnt from the whole experience was how it’s possible to do seemingly impossible things with a little cunning and a lot of blind stupidity. The person I went with that I barely knew ended up my best friend and we still live together, so that was also pretty important.

Dreams: do you have them or chase them?

Both. I’m definitely a dreamer, but I like the chase too. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I ever caught up with my dreams and they came true, I wouldn’t like it and I would then be stuck for something new to do, but the chances are that won’t happen, so I’m not worrying.

What is your “favourite” feeling/emotion?

Euphoria. I get it quite often, that feeling of Yes! This is it! This is the best idea ever! Unfortunately, while the feeling may be great, the actual ideas are often nonsense and the intensity of the feeling is no reflection on quality; there have been a few I’ve liked though.

Soon, we as a species may be colonizing in space. Would you prefer to remain here on Earth, or go exploring with the pioneers?

I’m fine here, I think. There are so, so many places on this planet that we’ve barely started on that I desperately want to see – the bottom of the sea, deep underground, further inside particles – I’d rather concentrate on them before I move off to outer space. I also have this feeling that going to outer space wouldn’t be as brilliant as it should be; I think it might be more like a cruise, where you spend ages trapped inside a big ship just waiting to get somewhere far away and when you do land you’re very restricted and can’t properly explore. If I could have a little buggy ship that I zip around the star systems in, that would be fun; but still, most other planets are likely to be less filled with bizarre life than our oceans.

What other creative pursuits do you enjoy besides writing/blogging?

 

I draw and paint, and my work partly involves putting plants together in a way that is hopefully beautiful.

Movies are expensive if you go to the theater. What kind of movie are you most likely willing to pay for to see – drama, comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, docu-drama, etc?

I don’t know what my perfect genre would be, but I thought Dr Strange was fun, if a bit nonsensical. (I loved the buildings collapsing in on themselves, but what happened to all the people inside? Wouldn’t they be crushed?) And I really enjoyed Trainspotting 2, although it was sad. I like films that give me a sense of bigness, like looking out at a horizon beneath a huge sky.

What animal “speaks” to you most these days? (Can be wild or domesticated, real or imaginary.)

Hmm, not sure. Birds chat to me quite a lot, but they’re quite repetitive. Me and various small many-legged pests often have a few words, although rarely friendly ones. It’s getting to that time of year when nature likes to invade; so birds start nesting in my plant pots, tiny frogs start appearing everywhere and we keep having to chase ducks outside.

Would you prefer to be happy, fulfilled or content in life?

And

Are you any, or all, of the above? Or none?

I’ve been thinking about this question all day, trying to work out exactly what the difference is and how I feel about them. These are my conclusions.

Happiness is more of a joyful excited feeling, while I think contentment is a peaceful acceptance in the mind. I guess fulfilled is achieving things you want to achieve (either personally or professionally) – but if there aren’t many things you actually want to achieve, then presumably you can feel permanently fulfilled.

I think contentment is a very nice idea, but my brain isn’t wired that way. The less my brain has to think about and the calmer life is, the more anxious and antsy I get. There have been very few delicious moments of total peace in my life, when I needed nothing, worried about nothing and felt blissfully peaceful; and those moments I had didn’t last for long. Given the option, I would have a contentment switch in my neck, so that I could experience a few pleasant hours once a week maybe – but then, would I ever want to switch it back?

I think I feel happy and fulfilled quite often, I love the sensation of my brain whirring away, so I tend to do creative things, learn whenever I can, have speculative rambles through my imagination or have ridiculous conversations about daft ideas. All those things make me happy. However, it’s a never-ending demand, so not exactly like filling something full, more like pouring stuff into a tube, while it pours out the bottom, so that the need is constant.

If your “future” self could reveal one detail about what’s ahead for you, what would you want to know?

I’d like to know if the book I wrote recently is going to get published, just so I know whether to keep making an effort.

What one thing would you like to tell those of us reading this post today?

Everything is going to be just fine, trust me; it may not feel like it at the moment, but it’ll all fall into place soon enough.

Questions to Ponder – Final

Questions…yada yada…all very profound and thoughtful…tum te tum…really figured out some meaningful things all about mememe….ta-de-da-de-ta…be great to hear your answers too…dooby-dooby-doo…

  1. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
  2. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
  3. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  4. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
  5. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  7. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
  8. What do you love?
  9. Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  10. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?

 

My Answers

  1. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

My best friend. Family.

  1. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

I don’t think I want to be attractive, I see why it’s a nice idea and it would lead to opportunities, but I’m quite fond of my nonsense old face, and people who know me know it. As for famous, it would be useful, I might be able to make changes in the world – but realistically, I’m no better at fixing the problems of the world than anyone else, yet nothing gets fixed. And being famous looks fucking terrifying, like being in a car that’s skidding out of control while thousands of people look in at your stricken face and take photos. If I could trade those ten years for excellent health, constant energy, endless inspiration and maybe some money, then yep.

  1. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

No idea. ‘Truly living’ seems like one of those judgement phrases people come up with to put down others for living all wrong. Life is tough, a lot of it is dull and difficult. Most of us will never be heroes, kings, film stars or geniuses. However, our lives are still relevant; contain love, laughter, learning and delight. So however we choose to do it, we are truly living.

  1. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

As a spontaneous person who has in the past repeatedly leapt into situations without calculating anything, I’m always doing what I think is a good idea at the time and then regretting it afterwards. Therefore I’m in a good position to know: ON THE WHOLE, CALCULATING RISKS, REWARDS AND OUTCOMES IS QUITE A GOOD THING. I’m not saying it’s good to spend so long calculating that you never actually do anything, but a certain amount of planning and contemplation is ideal. It’s what I try to do now.

  1. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Making a mistake feels horrible. The most extreme mistakes I’ve made have led to the most brilliant outcomes, but I’ve had to wade through a lot of badness first, so much so I could never knowingly walk into those mistakes. The small mistakes often don’t lead to learning anyway. The number of times I’ve accidentally kicked my laptop across the floor, or forgotten to lock the car, or accidentally said something rude to my boss – every time I tell myself never again, but I still do it.

  1. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Be more antisocial. Wash my hair less.

  1. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

I meditate, so I do this quite often. It’s a good thing to do though.

  1. What do you love?

People (both specific people and people in general), food, sleep, walking, writing, drawing, imagination, plants, studying. Not in that order.

  1. Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

Yup. Not saying I appreciate all those things everyday, but most days and most things.

  1. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?

I guess this is a: Your life is ending one minute at a time! Live everyday day as if it’s your last! Are you living enough right now? ARE you? type question, and I object to those. There are usually a few exciting things going on in my life (exciting to me, that is, pretty much nobody gets excited about the same things I do) but if life is constantly exciting, filled with new experiences all the time, one big hyperactive adventure, then the following things happen:

  • You get stressed and exhausted and it’s impossible to really reflect on anything, you’re too busy experiencing.
  • You need to keep upping the stakes, because your boredom threshhold shrinks.
  • You keep zipping about from one place to another, so it’s difficult to form lasting relationships and the ones you have are based in excitement which means they can end up being shallow.
  • You don’t get to properly focus on one thing. Studying, being successful in a career, raising a family, writing a book – any possible major achievement in life takes time, and involves many days of repetitious boredom. This isn’t negative.
  • Because you are constantly focusing on the next big event/exciting adventure, it means you don’t get to appreciate the good, small and meaningful things in your life. In fact it causes you to remove and dismiss them.
  • Life just isn’t like that, boredom is a part of life; telling people that boredom is bad doesn’t enable people to instantly live exciting lives, just to feel that their perfectly normal lives are inadequate – which is a fucking tragedy.

Now over to you, what do you all think?

 

 

Questions to Ponder Part 3

I’m still working through the answers to some questions I found on Imgur here. They are a mixture of thoughtful and daft. Wordwitch got in ahead of me with this one, so here are some of her answers, which are interesting and funny as always. Anyone who wants to join in with their own answers is very welcome, either in the comments, or on your own blog if you fancy (feel free to add a link in the comments).

The Questions

  1. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  1. If not now, then when? If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
  1. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  1. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  1. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  1. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  1. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  1. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
  1. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

My Answers

  1. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

This morning I was researching for a new project I’m working on, I don’t know about ‘most passionate and alive’, but somewhat thrilled and giddy.

  1. If not now, then when?

What?

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

Eh? I guess this is a motivating call to ‘just do it!’ I think I’m too contrary for those to work on me. I can motivate myself fine, but someone shouting encouragement at me will only inspire me to procrastinate with some cake and TV.

  1. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

Sure. Once while on acid with a friend is one time I especially remember. We sat watching cranes building stuff, side by side in silence. I had the most profound experience thinking about life and how busy we all are; I felt that I had connected with this friend on a truly deep level despite the lack of words, that we were attuned, and that he must also have had also had the same realisations about life that I had had. Turned out later that he’d had a horrendous trip and had been beset by demons and doubt.

  1. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

Because belief causes emotion and that can be used to obliterate reason, and some people exploit that to make themselves feel important. Emotions are amazing and make life worthwhile, but they are also extremely dangerous because they feel like absolute truth without needing any evidence at all.

  1. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

No not without deluding yourself. I think if you remove doubt, then you are more likely to commit evil. Only by questioning yourself can you keep in check. People without doubt are appealing, but dangerous.

  1. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

Yep. Although after sashaying around the world a few times, I’d probably go back to doing my job again – but fewer hours.

  1. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

I do enjoy my job. I’ve almost always done jobs I like, I don’t know if it’s luck or just because I’m so awful at sticking with things I don’t enjoy. I’ve always chosen enjoying my job over earning good money; as a result I’ve always been broke, which has its own problems. I think there’s pressure in society to achieve both – money AND job satisfaction – as if both are possible for most people, but I doubt they are, which makes questions like this seem a bit unfair. However, I would like to work less, just so I have time to do other stuff, like writing.

  1. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?

No, generally, there is some repetition in my life, there needs to be a routine because constant change is also exhausting. However, there is usually something going on that suggests change is over the horizon, irons in the fire, seeds planted etc. I have a quiet fear of being stuck in a rut, so in the past when I found myself in one I flailed madly about until the rut was destroyed, usually along with all stability in my life. These days I try to shake things up by taking on a new creative endeavour or challenge, that seems a bit healthier.

  1. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

I do that all the time. It’s why I’m always bumping into things, stubbing my toe and then feeling beset with horror when I realise that the soft glow of my idea was actually the dim bulb of stupidity. It’s not something I’d give up  though, that rush of excitement when I think Yes! This is it! I know exactly what I have to do! It’s going to be amazing! is my favourite feeling in the world, even if it’s often wrong.

Now over to you… 🙂

Questions to Ponder part 3

So continuing the questions to get you thinking, as purloined from Imgur. Previous questions here and here. I wanted to be less cantankerous with these ones, but they are still a little patronising, and let’s face it I am cantankerous, so there’s only so much I can do to avoid that. I’d love to hear your answers also!

  1. Why are you, you?
  1. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  1. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  1. What are you most grateful for?
  1. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  1. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  1. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  1. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset
  1. Does it really matter now?
  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
  1. What makes it so special?

 

  1. Why are you, you?

A mixture of chance, effort and fuck ups.

  1. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

I’ve done my best, although I’m often crap. I’m way better than I used to be, but then my friends are way better too. I could have done with some kind of rule book.

  1. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

I guess the second because it implies a rejection rather than circumstances beyond the friend’s control.

  1. What are you most grateful for?

My best friend. The ideas that fire up my head. Regaining my life after brain injury.

  1. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

Lose the old memories, it would be heart-breaking, but I could make a new life. If I lost the ability to make new memories, then I wouldn’t be able to function in my current life, only to live in the past.

  1. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

I think our brains are wired to make us believe that we are forming Truths based on careful observation, but actually what we do is assume. Knowing that, I try to over-ride it, but I frequently fail. So, I guess what I’m saying is – we tend to think the answer to the question is no, but without realising, we act as if the answer is yes.

  1. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

Yes. The brain injury and all the surrounding illness was a load of great fears bundled into one. Having my IQ halved and my ability to look after myself lost, seeing my life pass me by without being able to actually live it; I think these things were some of my greatest fears. Now that that is over, I still get a panic it will all happen again – a bad day of being too exhausted is frightening – but I’m also aware that I got through that, I was still living and doing what I could, so I try and focus on that optimism.

  1. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?

Yes, vaguely.

  1. Does it really matter now?

I appreciate there are things that I fret over that aren’t important and I should just ditch them, and that is important to remember. However, I don’t tend to get properly emotional unless something is really wrong, or my brain chemistry is out of wack, either way there isn’t much of an option.

  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?

Creating stories and magical lands with my friends.

  1. What makes it so special?

I got to create stories and magical lands with my friends.

Over to you folks…

Questions to Ponder part 2

Continuing posting up the questions I found on this Imgur post. Sometimes they have touch of smugness in the tone, but they are still good for self-reflection and taking stock. If you have any thoughts or answers of your own, then I’d love to hear about it.

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

My Answers

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

Argue with them! I’m always happy to argue when I think people are being unfair. However, often I later realise they had a point and I feel stupid (although maybe not in the above case). I don’t know the real rights and wrongs of speaking up – there’s an arrogance in arguing, but if I think something is wrong then my mouth doesn’t ask my brain to intervene, it just carries on.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Assuming they could understand me, remember it and care about a stranger’s advice. Actually I’m not sure. People are so varied that fantastic advice for one person is terrible for another. I’d try: engage with the world; the more effort you make, the happier you will feel.

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

To be honest,  at times I’ve broken the law because I’m bored (I’m not talking big laws here). Without thinking I’d break the law to save any person.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

The two seem fairly different to me, there are cross-overs, but I’m wary of insanity labelled as creativity, because that’s a dangerous romanticising of illness. It’s true insanity can give a different perspective on life, which helps with creativity; but insanity can also destroy time, energy, concentration and communication skills, so it often harms creative ability also.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

The general living my life thing, how I look, what matters to me, the job I do, how I behave, what I own. I’m not good at conforming – it’s not intentional, I’m just crap at it, so I’ve ended up with an odd life; I’m not an impressive renegade or anything, just odd. That can be scary sometimes (am I doing everything wrong?) and people often get angry about it; but my life suits me well, so I’ll stick to that wonky route.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

Because people are varied, it helps makes the world a fascinating place.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

Visit Madagascar/ Antarctica, have a road trip around the U.S. However, those need to wait, first I’ve got lots of other things that are more important (to me) to do.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

I tend to obsess about the past, and it isn’t helpful at all. Unfortunately, when I’m feeling down the whiny thoughts circle my head, like an endless march of self-pity. So, yes, I am, but I am trying hard to stop that.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

Just about anywhere would be exciting, although not helpful right now. Every culture has something I can learn, a new way of thinking, a new climate, new details to life. I get itchy feet, so I don’t keep the possibility too far from me, and sometime soonish, I hope to move away.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

No, and no.

So, now over to you…

Questions to Ponder

I found these questions on Imgur and they set me thinking. Although it may become obvious that the questions annoyed me a bit, they are useful for taking stock, working out if I am living how I want to live. I thought I’d share in case you too find them useful to think about. If you like, add your own thoughts in the comments, or even write a blog and link, depending on how the inspiration takes you. There are fifty of these questions, so I’m going to break them up a bit and post ten at a time.

The questions for today:

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

 

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I don’t entirely understand this, because I wouldn’t still be the age I am? If the question means How old do you feel? Then somewhere between nineteen and a thousand, I can feel like both. In most ways I’m less jaded than I was as a child, but I also feel ancient, haunted, inept and childish. The older I get, the more I don’t care about the number I am, but how well I can physically and mentally deal with situations.

  1. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Failing is a short term horror, but something you have to go through to get to longer term wonder. Never trying is a short term comfort, but a lifetime of emptiness. I tend to go for trying and failing, because the emptiness has always scared me. However, I’ve known people for whom trying is permanently uncomfortable, they are happy in their lack of effort. I guess we each have to find what works best for us.

  1. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Survival for the first one. Time for the second one.

  1. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

I’ll have done plenty of both. I have a rule: I only talk about something when I definitely intend to do it, and I only abandon this plan when a better plan comes along. Not saying I always follow this rule, there are plenty of good ideas I’ve abandoned due to laziness or fear, but laziness and fear have their uses also.

  1. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I would like to shift emotion and reason so that they are in better proportion – individuals sometimes ruled by emotion to the point that they do terrible things, but most systems (ie government, corporate business, healthcare) seem to be so without empathy that they treat individuals terribly. So just a more evenly spread balance of the two.

  1. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

This is a complicated question. I believe that my job (gardener) keeps me sane, physically healthy and calm. The things that make me happy are writing, laughing with friends and eating, but if I did these things for eight hours a day, I wouldn’t be sane, physically healthy or calm. And probably not happy either. I also fear that if doing those things was a duty, I’d soon stop enjoying them. It’s probably an old-fashioned view, but I think we need difficulty, responsibility and boredom in our lives, if we got to do things we enjoyed all the time, it wouldn’t make us happy at all; we wouldn’t feel fulfilled because we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good things we had.

  1. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I think my job matters, but it has many flaws that annoy me – so in some ways I settle, while also doing what I believe in. Writing is the same, I love it (‘believe in it’ is an ambiguous phrase) but it is flawed. Life always has a few compromises.

  1. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I would already be dead.

  1. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

Illness, injury, and disaster aside, I’ve made most of my choices. Often badly. I’ve never been good at doing what I’m supposed to be doing (and I’ve tried, I promise) so I’ve had to figure out my own way of doing things.

  1. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I believe that both matter. My tendency is to focus on doing the ‘right thing’ while not paying attention to the details, and as a result I often fuck it all up and have to start over again, doing it properly. I know other people who get very bogged down in carrying out a task to perfection, while other tasks get neglected completely. I think this is one of those situations where you need a balance of the two ways of thinking.

My Responses to My Own Questions

There were some excellent answers to these questions in the comments and on various blogs, so thank you to everyone who took part (and to anyone who still wants to, please do!) These are my own answers…

If you are a blogger, how would you describe what you write about? Are there specific themes you stick to or a style you use? (feel free to add a link)

I write a hodge podge of daft stories and pictures, with occasional posts on things I’ve learned about mental illness and brain injury. I don’t really intend a style, but I think my stories tend towards the odd and my health stuff is very focused on sharing solutions.

Do you write driven by inspiration or do you struggle to find things to say?

I try to write three posts a week, and sometimes that involves more thoughts than I have, so I try to keep a backlog of ideas.

Which kinds of posts do you most like writing? Do other people like reading them?

The stories. I like to play with ideas. I think people tend to like them. Although often I write something I love, but nobody else really notices; or I post a story that I think is so-so, but readers love it. I am not good at predicting opinions.

What wouldn’t you ever write about? Why?

I don’t want to slag anyone off (although sometimes the temptation is there). I do write about real situations in stories, but I make sure I play with the characters enough to remove them from reality. I try to avoid complaining posts; although they can be interesting to read, they make me feel miserable when I write them.

What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (again, add a link if you like) What did you like about it? Did other people ‘get’ it?

Lost Islands of Xogulano these are very much niche fiction and I know they leave most people cold, but they’re probably the thing I’m proudest of. I just love mixing science and imagination, but finding ways of doing so that aren’t typical sci fi. Some of the BI posts are also very important to me, like Overcoming Panic and Phobias, because they were hard won lessons. I suspect much of the stuff I learned recovering from a brain injury is alien to people – close friends didn’t understand what i was talking about most of the time – but I like to know they’re available to anyone who might relate to them and find them useful.

What’s your favourite post that someone else has written? What about it caught your attention?

There’s  there’s this short fiction by wordwitch. I like it because she mixes poetic images with pure oddness; making a funny and beautiful story, with complex ideas contained in a tiny space. And Booky Glover wrote this poem, Booky’s poems always have melancholy elegance and for that reason they stand out.

Do you keep a blog because you want it to lead somewhere? Or do you just like writing?

I do like writing, I feel lost when I don’t write. However, I also have a bit of an end game – I’ve written two books now, one published, one not yet, and I hope by blogging I can find people who like how I write, in the hope they might also like my books.

What sort of blogs do you most like to read? Personal? Stories? Factual? Pictures?

All of those. I think I like a variety. I love reading a good story, but then I get curious about the people who wrote them and I want to find out more.

What kind of posts put you off reading?

Bitchy, bitter ones. Bigoted, hateful ones. Fortunately there don’t seem to be many of either on WordPress (although I might just be missing them).

Is there anything else about a blog that puts you off (eg fonts, popups)?

Anything that makes the writing difficult to see – hefty side bars, odd fonts. And I hate popups, I think they’re rude. On my blog, I want an email sign up button linked to my Mailchimp account, and trying to achieve that without using popups has been seriously complicated.

When do you write and read blogs? From work? On the toilet? Inside a volcano?

At home, in the one chair that doesn’t wreck my back.

How do you find other blogs to read (or do you not)?

I follow many, I go looking under tags to find more. One of the best things about WordPress is how many brilliant blogs are on here.

Tell Me All About You…

 

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Hello fellow Blogsters,

Over the past year, I’ve rattled on quite enough about me, now I want to know about you. Sometimes blogging can feel like I’m throwing posts out to the world, with no real clue what I’m doing. It makes me wonder how other people go about blogging and what it means to them. It doesn’t matter if you are a regular reader or are just in the mood to chat, I want to know about YOU. Please answer in the comments below, or if you feel particularly inspired, you can write on your own blog and put a link in the comments.

Questions, questions, questions…

If you are a blogger, how would you describe what you write about? Are there specific themes you stick to or a style you use? (feel free to add a link)

Do you write driven by inspiration or do you struggle to find things to say?

Which kinds of posts do you most like writing? Do other people like reading them?

What wouldn’t you ever write about? Why?

What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (again, add a link if you like) What did you like about it? Did other people ‘get’ it?

What’s your favourite post that someone else has written? What about it caught your attention?

Do you keep a blog because you want it to lead somewhere? Or do you just like writing?

What sort of blogs do you most like to read? Personal? Stories? Factual? Pictures?

What kind of posts put you off reading? Is there anything else about a blog that puts you off (eg fonts, popups)?

When do you write and read blogs? From work? On the toilet? Inside a volcano?

If you  want to add any questions, that would also be great. 🙂

I’ll post with my answers on Friday…

 

Flash Fiction: How Much More?

But really, how many designer shoes do we need?

How many more different sizes of technology to connect us to the world?

We’ve already filled up the sky with bricks and lines, splitting the horizon into tiny segments, isn’t it enough yet?

How many new ways to wash your hair? Or clean your teeth?

New ways to excercise, new management restructuring,

Can’t we just leave it all for a little while?

Curl up in the crook of a tree,

And sleep?