Raven King nominated me for a Liebster Award last week, and the timing wasn’t so good. Not only had I just accepted a Liebster a couple of days before, (which, if you have ever written a Liebster acceptance post, you will know takes a bit out of you), but this blog is sadly ineligible because it has more than 200 followers.
I appreciate the nod, though.
So here is a thank you. I am not nominating 10 other blogs for a Liebster, but I am happy to have been nominated for it by multiple bloggers.
Here are Raven’s ten questions and my answers. You should read them. By the end of it I am in full interview mode. They are good questions, and answering them was a pleasure.
1. You are forced to give up all books. From now on you will read one book, for the rest of your life, what is it and why?
I like this question. It really makes one think. I choose Machiavelli’s The Prince, because it tells me so much about the way society works, at so many different levels. I read it at least once per year. The runner-up would be the Tao Te Ching.
2. You can be anyone/anything, besides yourself, who/what are you?
A Black Hole. Because I have always wondered what it feels like to eat a galaxy.
3. (Pick one male and one female) Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, or Nikki Grimes? Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, or James Baldwin?
Dickinson and Baldwin. Is there really any other choice?
4. How will you deal with failure?
Regroup. Figure out what we did wrong. Decide whether to try again or move on to something different. Once you commit to trying again or moving on, put your whole self into that next project. Don’t forget about the failure, but don’t beat yourself up or dwell on it too much. This is really the whole secret of life.
5. Have you keep a New Year’s Resolution? If yes, what was it? If no, what’s one you plan on keeping? If you don’t have any resolutions, make one and keep it!
I don’t usually make them. But this year I made the resolution to write 3,000 words of fantasy fiction for 10 months out of the year, or until the project is done, whichever comes first. I knew when I made it I was going to need a month to transition from the blogging I’m doing to writing fiction every morning, so technically, I am not breaking it yet. But I do not feel so good about my prospects for keeping it.
6. Besides reading and writing what do you do in your free time?
I hang out with a five year old and use Nerf swords to teach him proper fencing techniques. Amateur astronomy. Drink way more alcohol than I should. Do married-people stuff. Sometimes, I go to live baseball games.
7. What book(s) are you reading now? Are you reading diversely?
I am reading diversely, but it’s mostly academic literature and Tolkien at the moment. The Tolkien because I write a weekly series about it for my sister’s blog, Part Time Monster. The academic because we’re trying to find the right balance between pop culture/smartassery and dealing with serious issues that we care about. When I have time to read for pleasure again, though, I am looking forward to The Hunger Games and Christopher Moore, who I just learned about this week from an ArtSunday discussion at Scholars and Rogues. Butcher’s Dresden Files are also on my list – I am woefully behind in the genre of my choice at the moment.
8. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not really. I think I came here this way. I am talented with language, and fascinated by it. When I don’t write, or I allow my days to be consumed with writing the wrong things, I feel bad. But I do believe everyone can learn to be a good writer. The trick is to practice a lot and learn to read your own work with a critical eye, so that you can learn to overcome your weaknesses. Writing is just a skill, when you come right down to it. There’s nothing magical about it. It is like swimming or hitting a baseball. I am lucky because my interests and talents have made it easy for me to practice.
9. Have you ever experienced writer’s block? (Of course! But….) What do you do to find the influence to write, during this horrific time?
A wise person once told me “writers block” means you just don’t have enough information. He was speaking as a journalist, but I think it applies to other forms as well. If you can’t figure out how to make a story work, write background. If it’s a poem you’re having a problem with, go and look at some images and describe them in your head. Oh, and if you’re just totally desperate and can’t find your way through a piece of writing, read something emotionally stimulating. Reading is a good antidote for writers block, if you pick something you can really get into.
10. Are you willing to be critiqued and/or edited?
Yes, always. But not by just anyone. Before anyone else sees my fiction, my wife reads it and then she answers three questions: 1. Do you care about the characters in this scene? 2. Are you there, in the world of the story?, and 3. Were you confused at any point? Of course after she answers the questions she is free to say anything else she likes. I have other rules for other types of writing. Sometimes I send blog posts Diana and have her critique them before I post. Edited? Only if I someone else is publishing what wrote. I think a willingness to offer your work for critique is important. Taking critiques and using the good comments to revise your writing is one of the best ways to improve. There is a social component to writing, and to art in general, that is not emphasized enough.