Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tag! I'm It.

Willow of Willow Manor has started a fun blog game. The idea is that she will interview those who choose to participate. Participants, in turn, will offer to interview their readers. I took both Willow and Julochka up on the offer. So, here's my two-fer interview. The first section is questions from Willow. The next five are from Julochka. Update: Jeffrey just returned home from an out of town trip. Julochka's interview will be posted soon. I've gotta run now.

1. I love your beautiful family New Year photos. Who did the excellent photography?
Oh, thank you. When I read other blogs, I really appreciate the glimpses into the family behind the blogger, so I thought my blogger friends might as well. It's nice to add a face to a name. Believe it or not, we had the pictures taken at Picture People at the mall as none of the local photographers were taking any bookings that close to Christmas. We were all pleased with the way they turned out, too. Still. I'm dreaming of the day when we have a photo shoot with my favorite portrait photographer.

2. Whose toes are those in your header?
I took all the photographs in my header. Why is it that only my outdoor pictures turn out well? Something with the lighting, I know. Anyway. Those are Sloane's three year old toes. She was sitting on the porch (from the washbowl photo) trying to clean her feet with a baby wipe. She always hated wearing sandals because my fweet get too durty, Mommy. We had taken my Mom on a weekend trip to Memphis for her birthday. It was the worst trip in the history of our family. Funny how we still had a wonderful time. Mostly laughing at how badly everything was going, but still. We've taken hundreds of trips where everything was perfect - except the photos. This time, yuck trip - great photos.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero and why?
This is a tough, tough question. I just spent a half hour perusing my shelves waiting for my answer to jump out and grab me by the throat. It never did. I did, however, learn two very interesting things about myself. (So, thank you, dear Willow.) First, most of my favorite fictional characters are not often lovable. I really, really love the quirky, odd, and sometimes just plain means ones. I adore imperious, arrogant Bess. insane Noonan. larcenous Addie. bitter, furious Astrid. selfish Mary. I also learned that my favorite book heroes are all living, breathing people. Or, they were. I love Helene, Corrie, Sherman, Amanda, Esme, Nancy, Laurie, Mary Francis. I could go on and on. I guess I want my real life to be nice, brave, kind, creative, and funny. I like my imaginary world to be full of vim and vinegar. Interesting. I wonder what that says about me? Robin, want to weigh in?

4. Besides your loved ones, what is your most treasured possession?
Probably my old diaries. I've been keeping a journal since I was nine. By now I have huge plastic storage bins full of old ramblings, musings, lists. The teenage "angst" caught between the covers still makes me cringe. And the poetry? Need to burn that some day. But, what a marvelous time capsule. I still get a kick out of going back and reading them every few years. I always imagine that some day Sloane will treasure those glimpses of my younger self.

Other than those two enormous tubs of paper, my most precious possessions are my signed copies of Helene Hanff's books. Each one of the books are completely delightful, but you must start with 84 Charing Cross Road. One reviewer said, "Will beguile an hour of your time and put you in tune with mankind ." That is a perfect description of the book. In one of her later books, Helene talks about how fans would mail her copies of her own book and ask her to sign them. The problem was that they would never include a return envelope, postage, etc. They could find her because she had always been listed in the New York City phone book. So, I looked her up. There she still was. I wrote her a letter thanking her for the hours of pleasure she had provided me. Of course I asked her to sign my copies, too. I told her that it was her own fault since she put the idea right there in print for me. I did include the SASE. The books were returned to me quickly, signed.

(Sorry. Not sure what's up with my scanner.)

I found out a few months later that she had died. As best I can work out, my books were some of the last mail she would have received at her apartment. I may be the last person to ever write her a fan letter. I was so glad that at the very end of her life, she knew that her life, her books, were still touching others. It reminds me to always, always take the time to say thank you, send a note, make the call. In a house fire, I'd risk a burn to save those books.

5. Before blogging, what, if any, was your main mode of personal expression?
I think it would have to be my journals and the act of telling a good story. I love stories. I love words. They are my most enduring love affair. I've loved them since my mother read that very first book to me. I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and talking. Stories. I write them and tell them. All the time. Stories make me happy. Somehow, though, the words on a page just weren't quite enough.

I've always had so much... stuff... good stuff... spinning around in my head. Images, words, snippets, quotes, color combinations, lists, book reviews, dreams, recipes, recommendations, reviews, fragments of stories... Just lots and lots of stuff. The inside of my head often looks like a magazine. A myriad of topics are categorized, titled, and gorgeously illustrated. The problem has always been that my hands just don't work very well. I really do mean that. If I were in elementary school now, I would qualify for occupational therapy. I guess that's why blogging suits me so well. It's all digital. And, I can do digital. That doesn't really answer the question though. I think mostly, I was just frustrated. I so much wanted to create something beautiful.

And all I had was ink on paper. That sounds limiting and it isn't always. Words are my main passion, but I still find myself so thrilled to be able to do more with the words. To be able to play with them. To be able to add images, mosaics, links, tags. To play. To find others who do it better than I do. And then share that. Oh, I love this blogging thing.

So? Who wants to play?

The image above is by Eugene Recuenco, first spotted here.
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


dutchbaby said...

Willow's questions are great and your answers are wonderful. The story about Helene Hanff is fantastic.

I've seen this concept floating around and I didn't think I was interested in participating - until you offered. So with a deep breath I say "Interview me". I know you will be gentle.

I wish I could write as well as you, but I promise to do my best.

Shar said...

I am so new to blogging, but what a wonderful way to get to know fellow bloggers. I don't know that I have ANY followers yet, but I'd like to participate anyhow. So, Relyn, interview me.

Jaime said...

I am going to opt out of this one but I still wanted to come and say hi...and that I am thinking of you. This was a lovely post. I love what you share Relyn..I love getting to know the beautiful person that you are.


ELK said...

i am so shy (insert boring) but I love to read others!

Jessica said...

I'd love to be interviewed! It was great to read a bit more about you!

smith kaich jones said...

Like Jaime, I am opting out -
because I am chicken, but I am
also quite the nosy-posy, so I LOVE reading everyone else's answers. Look at what "just ink & paper" have accomplished for you! Wonderful!

:) Debi

Maithri said...

What a beautiful blog you have here,

Thank you for sharing the warmth of your spirit with the world,

May you be held tenderly within the wild wings of peace,


Maithri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Aww.. sweetie. I am learning about you all the time. ; )

I love that, and I love you.

Derrick said...

Hello Relyn,

I dropped in a while ago but without saying 'Hi' - sorry! But what I did enjoy very much was your music selection, to which I have listened almost in full! Not everything, of course, is my choice, but a lot of it is, including some new to me. (Charlotte Church I can manage without, there are much nicer renderings of the Flower Duet - but that's just me!).

I also enjoyed reading your interview. Willow is an expert question setter! So, I just popped back to read your second instalment but it's not there yet. I'll come back next week.


Relyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Relyn said...

That deletion was me. I found a few typos and I couldn't stand to leave them. Anyway..

Have you read anything by Helene? I bet you have. If not, I have a feeling you will find in her a kindred spirit. The interview questions will arrive later today. Thanks for understanding about the delay.

Yea! This will be fun. Your questions are nearly ready. This is harder than I thought it would be.

You always leave the kindest thoughts and sweetest sentiments. Thank you.

I would never call you boring. You teach, you dance, you parent, you read, you are an artist/ photographer. Not boring. Shy maybe. But never boring.

I'm so glad you are playing along. This is lots of fun. I'll be in your in box with my questions soon.

I always call myself a Nosey Parker, and I know just what you mean. I love all the little stories and quirks that lie behind people's outside image. Plus. I always want to know why??

You would probably be surprised if you knew how excited I was to see in you in my comments section. I've seen you over at Jamie's place and often been struck at your deeply sincere and thoughtful words. Thank you for sharing some of those with me. I feel as though you wrote a poem just for me.

Don't you just adore the way this type of friendship unfurls slowly at lightening speed? Our messages to each other arrive in a blink. Our hearts connect in a blink. Yet, we slowly and gently learn more and more of each other. I love you, too.

Now I am curious. Whose Flower Duet do you prefer to Charlotte Church's? While you are at it, what other music along those lines do you love? Thanks for stopping by. I hope I will see you again soon.

Derrick said...

Hello again Relyn,

I'm sure you know that the Flower Duet is from the opera, Lakme by Delibes. For that reason, I prefer to hear it sung by 'proper' opera singers! Any of the versions available on disc would be fine.

There has been a fashion to market certain artists as opera singers (Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson etc.)when they are very definitely not! The real thing is preferable and I love a wide range. You could see the post I made the other day about a duet by Monteverdi or go over to and play Willow's sidebar video clip of Susan Graham. Both beautiful!

I shall keep coming back.

Patti said...

Hi Relyn~ I can't stand when the computer does not do what it is supposed to. I left a comment the other day and don't see it...oh well...I love the interview post- it is always great to find out more about what makes you "you." What an introspective, interesting person you are; but I knew that already! If you are still sending out questions, I will try- but I am shy. I also don't have a big blog following, but I will do my best. Have a good day~


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