Monday, 28 April 2014

Read These Liebster Blogs!

The best part about having my blog Liebstered, is passing the Liebster torch on.  There are so many kickass blogs out there to choose from, but nominees have to have less than 1000, 300 or 200 followers, depending on differing versions of the rules.  

It became quickly apparent that I am too stupid to know how many followers a blog has.  Rather than cry in my oatmeal, I’ve relied on number of Twitter followers, choosing folk with less than 1000.  I have tried to nominate blogs that haven’t been Liebstered yet, but if I have double dosed someone, I do apologise.  I’d love to read your answers to my questions but you are released from trying to find ten more people to nominate.

My ten Liebster Nominees, in no particular order:

Teagan Kearney @modhaiku
Teagan’s blog is what it says – essays on the act and art of writing, an update on her WIP, a bonus Haiku, helpful links – all packed into one post that connects with someone who writes like she’s already your friend.  You’ll keep going back to this one.

Emma Peachy Hall @peachyemma
It says at the top of Peachy Emma’s blog that she writes whatever is in her head.  Her head is an interesting place to be and it’s wonderful she invites us into it.  She makes the everyday into soulful reading.  The type of blog I want to click hot cocoa mugs with.

Carol Hedges @carolJhedges
On the other hand, Carol’s blog is to be read with a glass of 14% ginger wine.  An intelligent, well informed and expertly honest blog, she’s the writer (grandmother, historian, political activist, researcher) to have your back in life’s dark alleys. 

Lora O’Brien @loraob
Lora writes about Irish spirituality in the most down to earth, easy-to-connect-to way I’ve read.  This is the real McCoy, writing knowledgeably about a part of life we often keep to ourselves.  Bolshie, thoughtful, helpful, real.  A definite MUST read.

Jane Turley  @turleytalks
 Irreverent, honest, funny as hell.  The irrepressible Mrs T takes on motherhood, writing life, farm animals and fashion styles of the literary powerful.  Jane can pack more pizzazz in two paragraphs than I hope to fit into my entire life.

Jennie Gillions  @jengillions
Jennie admits she’s ‘not precious about my mental health,’ which makes this the perfect blog for the info junkie with interests in mental health and history.  She lets the facts tell the disturbing stories without embellishment.  Addictive stuff here.

Cheryl Harrington  @cheryl_cch
Cheryl’s is another blog which brings the reader into her world and quickly makes you feel at home there.  She writes about writing and reading, how books weave all aspects of her experience – family, health, home – into a congruency of life.

Saschk Drakos  @siniharakka
It wouldn’t be fair to exclude this guy.  Saschk doesn’t blog often but when he does, he pulls the internal out of his literary hat and makes it a visual, palpable, no longer to be ignored vibrant aspect of life that breathes with relief at being acknowledged.  Read him.

Amy Mackin  @MkingWriting
Although she’s so much more, I always listen for one voice when I read her blogs – the child from The Emperor’s Clothing.  Through her writing and reading, Amy speaks about the human condition in all the many aspects and roles that she meets on her way.  Lovely, lovely blog.

So there’s my choices.  I hope they soon become your favourites as well.  Now, questions for the new Liebsters!  Post your answers on your blog and send me the link.

1.  What is the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten?

2.  Do you need contact with people in order for you to create?

3.  Does (your) despair have its place in (your) happiness? 

4.  Give me a link to a recording of your favourite piece of music.

5.  Talk about the relation between mental health (good or bad) and the creative act.

6.  Recommend something for me to read that you haven’t written.

7.  Give me a link to something that you have written.

8.  Is there a moment you can remember when something happened or you had some thought that changed things for you?  If so, tell that story.  If not, what could have changed everything?

9.  What is THE most amazing thing about human beings?

10.  Write a summary of how you see yourself.

Thank everyone who’s dropped by today!  

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My Liebster Award

Anne Goodwin (run right now and read her Annecdotal blog) put a lovely surprise in my message box this week – a nomination for the Liebster Award in blogging.  It's a wonderful pay-it-forward exercise for those of us immune to going viral, a declaration from another blogger that your own words aren’t in vain, PLUS an imperative to connect with other bloggers.

My first task as a Liebster is to answer Anne's probing questions:

What surprised you most about your blogging experience?

How difficult it is to write honestly.  There's always an element of feeling exposed with a new blog post.  The second most surprising thing is that I've not been flamed, considering some of my content and that trolls are easily activated.  I've been well treated by my readers, which perhaps means there's safety in a lack of numbers (having fewer followers).

To what extent do you blog for your own entertainment versus for the benefit and/or entertainment of your readers?

Honestly?  Yes, Lora, honestly.  The phrase, 'for the benefit and/or entertainment of' doesn't resonate with me in this context, any more than it would apply to stopping by a neighbour's house to chat.  Having said that, the core of social interactions is to connect for our benefit/entertainment and/or the benefit/entertainment of others.  So it's there for me, but in what proportion, I'm unable to say.

I started blogging because an asshole agent said he didn't read submissions from anyone he couldn't Google, thus all writers should blog.  For my first year (2013), I committed to a weekly post, even when sick.  Even when disgusted with my lack of literary progress.  Even when other bloggers/writers who'd started around the time I had, were flying past me.  As mentioned, it was emotionally challenging, so after the New Year, I've let myself write when it happens, in order to explore the reason for ME to blog, keeping in mind the goal of slotting myself into a regular posting schedule once I get my land legs again.

If your blog were to come to life, what form would it take?

A garden with all the wonderful plants, trees, animals and insects that I love the most, plus a few that have never been seen outside the confines of my own skull.

How does your blogging voice differ from how you present yourself in "real life"?

It's edited!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse on your blog?

I probably swear too feckin much.

Which famous person would you most like to visit your blog, which of your posts would you most like them to read, and why?

Margaret Atwood, but she'd have to read them all.  Not letting her off the hook by giving her a choice sample.  Why Atwood?  She'd be honest without pussy footing or brutality, which is the only type of feedback that I understand.

If you could invite a fictional character to write one of your posts, who would you choose and why?

My initial reaction was, I'd choose the poodle in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, because I wanted to know the whole story, but then decided it would be too horrible to read, so bring on Liesel from The Book Thief.  Wouldn't you love to hear what she has to say about what her life taught her?  I would.

If time and money were no object, where in the world would you like to go to research your next post?

Paris.  No question about it.  Send me there today.

As a consumer of blogs, what are the main factors that entice you to read on?

The first paragraph gives an idea of where the post is going, even if the post starts with a story.  The blogger's voice sounds like a real person, makes that virtual connection with the reader. Content is also important, probably the reason I decided to read the blog in the first place, but I'll read a post that's outside my sphere of interest if the writer has grabbed me with the first paragraph and voice.

What else do you wish I'd asked you and how would you respond?

Come over for cake, Lora!  I'd be there in a flash (and is it chocolate?).

After this Q&A, I'm meant to post the rules, but they seem to evolve as the Award makes its travels.  Check out Lorraine Reguly's take on the rules and decide for yourself what they are.  

I'm also meant to nominate other bloggers and supply them with my own questions, all of which would make this post ungainly.  Anne broke her Liebster duties into two posts and I'm following her lead, saving the rest of my assignment for next week.

While I'm looking for likely victims worthy bloggersmind yourself.  You could be next!