A couple weeks ago, 1000 in a Decade, a blog intended to chronicle my efforts to read 1,000 works in a decade, was nominated for a Versatile Blog award. On the one hand, this award is fitting and deserved. Though I intended to write a lot about literature on this blog, it was always meant to encompass a hodgepodge of thoughts and ideas. And, inasmuch as I’ve posted on this blog – which, regrettably, is not much (I spend most of my time with Just Dread-Full, my horror blog), I have managed to accumulate a small amalgam of diverse posts. My posts discuss my favorite works of classic fiction, grapple with issues of body image in our culture, touch on current events, and, occasionally (well, so far only once) showcase a piece of clothing I’ve fallen in love with. To that end, yes, 1000 in a Decade is diverse.
However, I’ve had this blog for almost six months, and all those diverse posts occur within ten total posts on the blog. Again, I maintain my horror blog more fastidiously, but I’ve always had trouble posting on this blog. When prioritizing writing projects, it’s always easier to review a horror short story or horror film than it is to generate an original post from scratch, or write about often touchy issues like weight and current events. In short, there have been myriad times I’ve had seemingly good ideas for this blog, but I’ve stepped back and thought, hmmm, no, I think I’ll just write about a horror movie on Just Dread-Full. And so, my lonely little blog hides in the dusty crevices of the blogosphere, occasionally glimpsing the sunlight of a viewer, but often lingering, unnoticed, in the backdrop, for weeks at a time.
Be that as it may, a Versatile Blog award nomination has ignited a bit of a fire underneath me (to be fair, we all like awards, right?), and I find myself more motivated than usual to maintain this blog. As such, I’ve posted twice in the past few days. My ambition arises at a less than ideal time, because in two weeks I’ll be moving and in three weeks I’ll be starting a Doctoral program in Literature and Criticism. I imagine it will be a challenge to maintain one blog, let alone two. And still, such a transition seems like a sorry and subpar reason for rejecting my ambition. Thus, I plan to reinvigorate my “backup blog” for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it afloat in grad school. Maybe I’ll magically become an effortless machine at managing time. But probably not.
The challenging part of the Versatile Blog Award – as with any blog award – is following the format required to accept the award. The order of actions for this award go as follows: 1.) Thank the blogger who nominated you; 2.) Provide seven fun facts about yourself 3.) Nominate up to 15 other bloggers for the award (I’m nominating five). So, here goes it….
First, a shout out and tremendous thank you to My Comic Relief for this nomination. The writing and insight on this website about all-things comic books is exciting and impressive. If you’ve not familiarized yourself with the blog, take a moment to do so. If you’re a semi-serious to avid comic book fan, you’ll find yourself floating on an ethereal little cloud piece in heaven. And if you’re not a huge comic book enthusiast, you’ll find yourself more interested in comics after you read an article or two. In any case, you’re missing out if you don’t take a look at My Comic Relief, so you should just do it. (Of course, I mean, do it after finishing this post. Don’t leave my page yet).
Second: Sigh…yikes….ahhhh. Here’s the part of the post where I tell you seven fun facts about myself. I admit, I wanted to come up with facts that were surprising and obscure, but at the end of the day, I don’t think I deviated too creatively from the gamut of what constitutes a typical “fun fact.” Still, most of us secretly like to talk about ourselves, and this is my chance to do so, so here it goes:
- My First Adult Job: I worked a lot of odd jobs during high school and college, but my first job when I stepped out into the wiles of the so-called real world was a High School English teaching position at an inner city school in Central Houston. I had joined an organization that sought to place recent college graduates in under-served schools (Teach For America), and, though Houston is far from my home (in Erie, PA), the cost of living was cheap and the city was sprawling, so I thought the prospect of living and teaching there was enticing. I taught sophomore English, an ESL Creative Writing Class, and Advanced Placement Literature. I left after five years, to take a year off and then pursue a Master’s Degree.
- My Caffeine Problem: I do not exaggerate when I tell you that I drink more caffeine than basically anyone I know. I quit drinking alcohol about five years ago, and quit smoking a year and a half ago. Apparently, I replaced both habits with snacking and excessive caffeine consumption. I drink scores of Pepsi Max (a 0 calorie soda with extra caffeine), some coffee, and the occasional energy drink (the latter of which I’m actually drinking right now). While, yes, there might be some health concerns attached to this addiction, I justify it by pointing out that I’ve quit all the stuff that was hurting me the most (not that I think drinking alcohol is inherently bad, but it didn’t work for me). So, I feel like it’s okay to indulge in a little run of the mill legal stimulant, especially during a reading or writing binge.
- My Childhood Fascination: When I was a child, I was obsessed with amusement parks. In the summer, my family would go to Geauga Lake one day (an amusement park that ultimately turned into Six Flags Ohio, then, sadly, closed down for good), and visit Sea World, across the lake, the next day. The entire day we were at Sea World, I would stare across the lake, bored and longing, missing Geauga Lake’s whirling round rides and daunting rollercoasters. There was some sort of wild, airy freedom inherent in the world of amusement parks to me, a sense of infinite possibility, and I’m still crazy about them. But since growing older is often accompanied by disillusionment, I’m far more aware of ride failures now than I was when I was a child. In fact, yesterday, at a Kansas City Schlitterbaun, a 12-year-old boy was ejected from the car on a waterslide and broke his neck. The frightening realities of living and taking risk have somewhat infested the once-unadulterated pleasure I used to feel when riding amusement park rides. It’s a bigger battle to tell myself, as an adult, that realistically the ride is safe, and failures, while they occur, are rare. Still, I try to overcome my fear and ride the rides.
- My Childhood Obsession: On and off, but throughout most of my childhood, I’ve been obsessed with writing. This is not a complete revelation, because I have two blogs and discussed this obsession in a recent post on this blog, but by the time I was eight or nine, I was constantly pouring my heart out in journals. I remember sitting on my grandma’s couch one night when I was spending the night at her house, writing down thoughts, insights, and daily events with intense focus. I would also, throughout childhood and college, write fiction (that I rarely finished) and enlist friends in writing projects. During middle school, my friend Rachelle and I used to sit in front of her mom’s computer all summer, writing comedy stories that exaggerated and built on funny things that happened to us and horror stories that were inspired by the horror movies we constantly watched during slumber parties.
- My Favorite College Semester: There were a lot of things I loved about DePauw University, the college I attended as an undergraduate. The academics were stimulating, the professors were brilliant and energetic, and the campus was beautiful. But my favorite college semester was the one I spent on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I was a member of a media fellowship at DePauw that required we complete an internship, so I worked in C-SPAN’s marketing department Spring Semester my Junior year. I have incredibly fond memories of taking jogs around the National Mall as the sun was setting and transmuting the blue sky into vibrant rainbow colors. Myriad people – tourists and professionals – littered the Mall, with the Washington Monument on one side and the Capitol Building on the other. In this pre-MP3 player era (well, for me at least) I would hold my CD Player in my hand while I jogged, something I also did when I walked to work every morning before the sun rose.
- My Travel Ambitions: To be sure, I haven’t chosen the path of wealth in life. As such, there are a variety of places around the globe that I long to explore but haven’t yet. My Sophomore year of college, I took a Winter Term trip to a village in Ghana, where I helped build an expansion to their medical clinic and teach courses on geography and hygiene. This was an amazing opportunity to see a version of life wholly unlike the one I knew. But after that trip, apart from a rendezvous or two to Canada, I never made it out of the country again. I have a great yearning to explore Europe – Spain, Ireland, France, Italy, England, and Greece, especially – to return to Africa (maybe Egypt or South Africa), and to travel to parts of Asia, like China and Thailand. Though I love writing, teaching, and literature, I always thought I’d be well-suited for a job that involved frequent travel. While I’ll spend the next five years living off graduate stipends and loans, I hope to have the cash flow, some day, to bring my travel dreams to fruition.
- My Reaction to Animals: My boyfriend Michael’s mom recently pointed out that I “oooo” and “aww” whenever I see an animal on the T.V. Screen. She should know, because Michael and I go to his family’s house three nights a week during the summer to watch Big Brother, the only reality show I watch – one I never thought I’d enjoy but have recently become obsessed with. I grew up with cats but harbor a soft spot for all our animal friends. I always feel a bit like a hypocrite, because I’m not a vegetarian, but I have trouble with the prospect of giving up meat, especially grilled chicken, which constitutes a hefty portion of my diet (and, by the way, is considered a healthy lean protein). The only bad experience I ever had with an animal was when an elephant at the Erie Zoo flung a steaming pile of poo on me as a child. The clean- up, as you might imagine, was less than pleasant.
Third: Now it’s time that I nominate other blogs for this award. After some thought, I’ve decided to nominate the following blogs:
Congrats to the new nominees, and thanks to My Comic Relief for the award! Woo-hoo!