So over the weekend, the wonderful-delightful-super-smashing-awesome Cyndi, of the beautiful blog Pictmilitude, nominated me for really rather a special award – this one:
It’s an award which I really feel I can get on board with, because there are so many wonderful bloggers out there (and sorry Y-Chromes, but you’re totally left out of this one, being thwarted by that one little difference (per every cell in your damn bodies) but know that there are many of you blokey bloggers out there who I also admire and respect and feel a degree of connection to) who I’ve become close to through reading them, through understanding them, and finally (awesomely) through interacting with them, in the comment boxes at first, and then with a special, select few, on social media and email etc.
Thanks to the wonder of the internet, my little hardwired heart doth quite run over, and my online friendship cup is delightfully full.
Cyndi is a person who has become increasingly important to me. There are things about our lives, our outlooks, our ways of thinking, which are immensely paralleled. There are hurts we share, sorrows we both recognise, and beauties we both want to enjoy, and we are bonded together in a rather different kind of sisterhood which neither of us ever wanted. But we’re there for each other. We ‘get’ one another. And in the meantime, she writes beautifully (and comments beautifully here) and we indulge in the tiny time-outs of immersing ourselves in the reading of one anothers’ words and worlds.
I know that I posted a HUGE number of blogs I completely adore in my recent Thanksgiving it Bloggy Style feature, and many of my ten nominees (if not all – let’s see, shall we?) will be lifted from that list. But deal with it. It’s my blog, and these (nominees) are the people who are special to me, for one reason or another. And the nicest thing is that I can really get into the explanation of the ‘why’, rather than just creating a ‘pitch’ for them, to share them with others. This is *my* outlook – I hope you enjoy it.
Ahhh but first the constrictions and constraints of that beautiful award.
Answer the 10 questions. Thank the person who nominated you. Display the award. Nominate ten more bloggers.
The 10 Questions (which I think are just for fun and finding out, rather than holding any cosmic importance)
1. Your favorite color – blue, blue, blue and always blue. The colour of the sky on a perfect summer’s day. The colour of the sea at its most dazzling. The colour of smoke in the air and the frequency of a high ‘C’ note. The colour so often maligned sideways into association with low feelings, but truthfully so pure and bright and happy. The colour of copper-sulphate – the distilled blue of everything blue in the world. The colour of the wings of the morpho butterfly – a blue so stunning and so rarely found in nature. And the colour which, in food dye, makes me high. What’s not to love??
2. Your favorite animal – I asked Husby this, because I came up blank. He said (hesitantly) “Penguins?” It’s NOT penguins. Really not. And I’ve no idea where he got that from, but it’s okay because when I asked him, nor did he. I think he was just trying to shut me up so he could continue his computer game, whilst trying to appear helpful and supportive to me. I appreciate the effort. Buuuuut I’ve no idea about my favourite animal.
It’s not dogs or cats. Or pets, really. Not even spiders (sorry SpideyGirl).
It might be whales. They’re a bit magical. So huge and beautiful and knowing. They have these tiny, liquid eyes which seem like they’ve seen the whole world, and long to tell you. And if you’ve ever heard a humpback singing, and the incredible noise they make – the repeated phrases and variations on themes. The way they know to lower their head near the ocean floor to make the reverberations of their song travel halfway around the world. The way they crash through the ceiling of the sea, leaping into the air with such exuberance and joy – they revel in it – the celebration of that leap, that splash. It’s far more than just instinct, I am utterly convinced. There is sentience there, in the deep, deep connections they show to one another and the grace and forbearance they suffer us to go and look at them and meddle with their watery world. And the abysmal way we sometimes treat them, hunting them to the brink of extinction for, what, soap? No!
3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink – Water. Or tea. That was simple.
5. Your favorite pattern – forever and ever it will be the Fibonacci Sequence. Enter the mostly-hidden math geek (which is ridiculous, as I struggle to count to 20 when wearing something on my feet) but the beauty in numbers and the way they reflect in nature and symmetry particularly from this pattern and the Golden Ratio (1.618, if you didn’t know, and the thing the Fibonacci sequence is closest to) are just incredible. Something about us is deeply programmed for pattern and order and the mathematics shine through into the arrangement of leaves around a stem; the perfect curve of a nautilus shell; the music of Bach…and leave me absolutely breathless with my synapses sparking off, screaming “This is IT…this is IMPORTANT”
And the most beautiful mystery of all – no-one knows why it works so well, or why we respond so deeply to it. But we do. And so in my heart, I know that there exist the numbers, playing out in perfection; 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…
6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Giving. Every. Single. Time. I’m a very poor gift-receiver, and tend to feel unworthy. But to know that I’ve found the perfect thing which has made someone smile and warmed their heart – that brings joy beyond description.
7. Your favorite number – 7. My birth month. And always the one I’ve felt an affinity for. Not for any other reason.
8. Your favorite day of the week – Saturday. The day I was born, and the first and best day of the weekend, when FUN can reign and responsibility is still far enough away not to contemplate.
9. Your favorite flower – Pinks. Dianthus. Those small, sparky leaved, low-growing lovelies of June and summertime, which brighten the lower reaches of the garden and smell just SO spicy sweet that the air is almost edible…
There is a local attraction – an Abbey – with a walled garden which is one of my favourite places in the world. It holds great tracts of beautiful rose bushes. Perfectly trimmed lavenders, thrusting their dry spires of purple-scented-goodness out like hedgehogs…and pinks. Hundreds of pinks, carpeting the flower beds below the roses. And when I can, when there’s no-one around (or sometimes even when there is), I get right down on my hands and knees on that beautifully manicured lawn, and I crawl between varieties, sticking my face right in amongst the flowers and breathing that heavy, delicious fragrance into my body and soul as deeply as I can.
10. What is your passion? People. (You know, I thought that would be harder – I went vaguely through ‘writing’, ‘painting’, ‘friends’, ‘blogging’ and in the end, they all come back to the same place…) Definitely people. I crave positive connection. I want to know people and learn their lives and if I can, in some small way, contribute and make their world a shinier place. I can feel a connection even where there’s no sense in it, or no way for one to have been forged. More to the point, perhaps, I feel connected – we are all humans together under this sky, and injury done to one reflects badly on us all. Neglect and ignorance and unfeelingness have no place for me, and are anathema. Every. Person. Matters. And sometimes the weight of this is quite crushing, because if I stop to think too hard about the terrible things which happen in this world, and how each of those atrocities has happened to a PERSON, who lives and loves and knows in ways I never will; who is valuable and important and worthwhile through their very being…it blows my mind and breaks my heart and fixes me and makes me strong all at once.
The 10 Nominees (Some of whom have already been nominated elsewhere and I don’t even care – they’re on MY list too. And all of whom can break the rules of this award if they so please)
I refer relatively often (and only slightly tongue-in-cheek) to Kristi’s incredible writing and the power I find it has to scribe a bridge from the page into my heart and mind and set up camp. It’s the concepts. It’s the turns of phrase she uses. It’s the scrumptious Our Landiness of it. It’s the beauty and the reality and the challenge and the victory all worded out in sumptuous bites. But mostly it’s the her-ness of it. I’m privileged and honoured that Kristi is one of the people who I really feel has become a friend and far, far more than just ‘fellow blogger’. There’s a synchronicity of thought at times, which lets me know that we ‘get’ each other, and makes me wonder whether parts of her brain and mine are wired the same way. The chats we share are treasured because I know that I can say anything, and be understood, and heard and that it’s okay to have said the ‘whatever’, because she is a Person Who Knows. All of which keeps her firmly on the “Who I’d Like To Be Like When I Grow Up” list.
I stumbled by happy accident across Christine’s blog very early into my blogging days. I was hooked from the get-go, and the more I poked around and read, the more I found to love. I shall make no further bones about it, that I rapidly developed a pretty serious blog crush on A Fly On Our Chicken Coop Wall. It is first and foremost family life at its absolute finest (yes, with the gnarly bits included – it’s not one of those “everything’s perfect-perfect” places). It is written with candour and love and humour and lightness of spirit and most of all, with such LIFE…it got under my skin and I had to read the whole thing, which I did, luxuriously, over a series of wonderful evenings. Then gradually, through the comments and Christine’s incredible generosity of spirit, I got to know her, and to my surprise she started turning up at Considerings in the comment box. Eventually those comments led to email and to Facebook (though not yet Twitter, but I have plans for that) and a truly delightful friendship in which I always feel the beneficiary, and the luckiest person for it.
Shamefully, I’ve forgotten how I came across Dyanne’s blog, but I’m ever-so grateful it happened. Because Dyanne is simply quite marvellous. She is the indomitable optimist everyone should know, and always has time for fun, and this shows through so strongly in her words, in spite of the niche of her blog – she’s a warrior survivor of breast cancer, and her blog is primarily to raise awareness and provide solidarity for anyone going through the horror of it. And it’s written so well that when I went back to the beginning, I read the whole thing in one sitting. And it took me on such an incredible journey from the devastation of that initial diagnosis, through the harrowing treatments and the fear of the future, to the release and relief of knowing that for now, at least, it had been beaten back. Yet it lurks in the background like an ever-present and unwelcome shadow, tainting so much with its blackness, and warping the lives of all it touches (and Dyanne is careful to document some of these times, and the things she has seen of others less fortunate than her) and it is utterly, utterly compelling, and led me into taking action against it, by fundraising with a run, so that in my own tiny way, I could kick back at the monster which had so blighted the life of a lady I am proud to know.
I remember the first time I came across Beth’s blog. I don’t remember the article, but I remember that the humour, the ease of writing, the cleverness of the language and the sheer joy and exuberance of it had me hooked from the beginning. There are precious few blogs I follow immediately upon ‘meeting’ them, and hers ranks amongst that number. She is just so. much. fun. And I am hugely, immensely happy to have met her on the internet and made her my friend (I’m not sure how much choice she had, because by the time I found her, I’d developed the characteristic of having sufficient online audacity to bounce up to someone and essentially inform them that we were going to be friends. That said, it speaks volumes that she has such an approachable manner I felt able to do that). Did I mention she’s fun? And smart. And wordy. And hilarious. And often, absolutely, deliciously, unapologetically filthy-rude. And another on the list of “People I’d Like To Be Like When I Grow Up”
The original Tigger, and a wonderful, beautiful soul who decided one day, somehow (after a few small interactions at her gorgeous, inspiring, faith-and-exuberance-filled blog) that she and I should be friends, and proceeded to bounce into my life with the force of a small (but very loving) tornado, and rip past my customary English defenses against over-enthusiasm and displays of affection of any kind, and straight into a place in my heart. Her beautiful writing, her example, her spirit and sheer unmitigated excitement at EVERYTHING (tempered only by the beauty and sadness and stillness she can write when facing Really Tough Challenges (like tumours and surgery – things like that)) just buoy me up and bring back the wonder and sparkle and I would not be without them.
The more I get to know Kate, the more I really, really like and admire her. Each time we chat, we discover new parallels between our lives, we can have a fun whinge about our other halves (no, wait, we don’t do that?!) She’s so brave, and is quite happy to go to another country, by herself, and have FUN. With no panicking, no crippling fears of others – she just goes. She does it. She fits in. She makes it work. And I’m in awe of that. She’s also self-deprecating, gentle, compassionate, very caring and very truthful, all of which shows in her lovely writing, though I confess that in spite of the awe at her escapades, I feel I treasure the friendship far more than the writing, these days.
Of all my nominees, K is probably the person I am least like. She’s very much younger than me, very much more the beautiful writer, and absolutely transports me when I read her posts. I am absolutely there with her, seeing through her eyes, feeling through her senses and being swamped by the emotions she writes. And she’s simply wonderful. She conveys with tenderness, beauty, elegance and wonder, the world she lives in – one which is absolutely beyond the realms of my understanding (her having CP and me not) but she really, truly makes me understand (in a small way), and it’s mind-blowingly awesome. I am delighted to have gotten to know her a little through the magic of the comment boxes, and though I wouldn’t consider us ‘friends’, nor do I know her on social media (either of which I’m so happy to do, but I’ll leave it to you, if you read this and want to, K) but she is a delight and a joy to know in a bloggy capacity. And she most definitely warrants her place on this list.
I don’t know Kimberly well, though we’ve swapped comments and tweets, but she gets a place here because she writes so eloquently and so brutifully on a subject which is taboo and oft-hidden, and usually one which people find scary to engage with: Mental Health. And not the good kind, where everything’s ticketty-boo and sunshine and unicorns, but the gnarly, messed-up, panicking, struggling, painful-in-so-many-ways kind. The kind which has you at its mercy. The kind I know a little of (historically, though lately, shades of it seem to reappear on the edges of my mind when I’m struck particularly hard by grief…), and the kind I hate and abhor that anyone should have to deal with…and yet which The World At Large needs to know more about, to understand, to have it demystified – to know that we’re not dealing with ‘crazies’, but tender, broken, beautiful, hurting souls who need help and support and respect and compassion as much as a person with flu or a broken leg.
Courtney is not a person I’ve had much time to get to know. I had barely discovered the beauty of her blog and her writing and her photographs before she lost her husband, quite suddenly, to cancer, and everything became inverted and so full of pain, and I didn’t want to trespass where I had no place. But her writing and spirit and person are utterly incredible, and a source of so much inspiration to just keep going and know that there is still, somewhere, Good to be found.
She’s a self-professed hot mess, and quite the force majeure. She writes in a style which leaps up off the page and shouts at you, forcing your eyes to the words and your mind to the point. And yet, this incredible lady also wrote in Sunshine After The Storm, and her essay there utterly blew my mind with the tenderness, pain, vulnerability and utter wreckedness therein…and yet, amazingly, she was still able to offer hope to others who might be reading whilst grieving the loss of their own child. Definitely one of my epitomes of cool, she’s utterly unapologetic and is as likely to say something unbelievably rude or offensive as she is to come out with something heartbreaking or really very sweet. With Starr, I never know what I’m going to get, am constantly wrong-footed, and perfectly happy with that.
And because I refuse to be bound by rules when I don’t want to be – an eleventh.
There are experiences we share, there are those which are utterly alien to me, and yet somehow Katia writes with such tenderness and clarity that I feel I’m there with her. Again, she’s a writer who can absolutely suck me in and compel me to the very last word, writing that bridge to my heart and setting up camp. We barely share anything beyond comment box responses and mutual appreciation on Twitter, but her writing, her spirit…just gets me, hooks me in, and makes me drink of her words.
Thank you again, Cyndi, for including me in your nominations, you wonder, and for providing me with the opportunity to pass on such a slice of awesomeness to a few of the bloggers I really rate. You’re awesomerockin’.