I woke up this morning and had two very pleasant surprises.
The first was a Facebook recommendation of my blog from my cousin. She wrote “For a good laugh (if you saw him you would)…my cousin’s blog.” Okay, so it was a bit of a back handed compliment, but hell, I’ll take it! Thanks, Sandra.
Then I headed over to put down some more words of brilliance <cough cough> and was absolutely thrilled to find out I’d received the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award from Elizabeth over at The Garden Gate. Apparently I make her laugh too…and she hasn’t seen me (unlike my cousin)! Do me a favour and check out Elizabeth’s blog. You’ll be glad you did.
As some of you know there are rules about receiving blog Awards, so I will follow them accordingly…First of all I have to tell you seven things about myself (why seven? No idea…just followin’ the rules, folks):
- I’m a lot older than you think I am. I’m lucky to have received some excellent genetic coding that keeps me looking young. I may have Dick Clark somewhere in my gene pool. Anyway, I’ll be 49 this October, but I still act like I’m 24. My wife says she has three kids. The Girl. The Boy. And me. She ain’t wrong.
- I read. A lot. I’ll read damn near anything, aside from romance or westerns, and even westerns aren’t necessarily off the list. Oh yeah, and I won’t read anything to do with sparkly emo vampires. But other than that, virtually anything’s fair game. Fiction or non-fiction. High falutin’ literary stuff right down to let’s-punch-each-other-a-lot comics. As an example, currently I’m working my way through some of the best literature this world has to offer, William Shakespeare, as well as some of the worst, all 181 Doc Savage novels.
- I’m a music fanatic. I grew up listening to all those great 70s bands. I knew the words to Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” when I was eight. My brother’s friends thought that was hilarious. I have a real passion for all types of music, from drippy 1970s pop to 90s nu-metal to late 70s/early 80s new wave to Sinatra and Billie Holliday…I’ll give most anything a shot. Except Rebecca Black. That girl’s fifteen minutes of fame has GOT to be on the last few seconds by now…I hope. All-time favourite bands/artists? The Beatles, Steely Dan, Eagles, John Mellencamp, Don Henley, Blue Oyster Cult…and millions more. Right now I’m on a Little River Band kick…not sure why.
- I was ridiculously shy until Grade 11. Remember in public or high school? Remember that kid that everyone picked on that never seemed to try and defend himself, never speak out? He never had many friends, always walked down the halls tight up against the locker, books in a deathgrip because some wag always thought it was funny to slap them out of his hand and send them flying? He never had the coolest clothes, they were usually no names or hand-me-downs or homemade? He had zits and glasses? Yeah, that was me.
- In Grade 11, I came alive. My parents moved to a small town three hours away from everyone who knew me as “that nerd” or by my constant high school nickname “fag”. I remember sitting in the passenger seat of the rented moving van. I’d just finished Grade 10 the day before and we were leaving Oshawa for good to live in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. I remember talking to myself, boosting my confidence. No one knows you up there, Tobin. No one knows your nicknames. No one knows you’re so shy. So if you’re gonna change, if you’re gonna make friends, now’s the time. And all I really needed was to reach out to one person the first day of Grade 11. Lori Smaglinski, if you’re out there somewhere reading this, you never knew, but taking me by the hand that first morning and introducing me around? You saved my life. I’ve never thanked you. I’m thanking you now.
- I took a long time to realize what I wanted to be when I grow up. I finished high school, watched all my friends head off to university, set on their career paths. Meanwhile, my parents’ marriage was falling to shit and I didn’t want to leave my mother in such a fragile state. So I made some stupid educational choices, then even worse ones, choosing to work in fast food for a few years. I finally smartened up enough to head back to college, but still, it wasn’t the right path. I sort of fell backwards into the company I’m with now, and took far too long to realize how much writing meant to me. So, here I am, pushing 50 and just now finding contentment with what I do. Follow your passion, kids.
- I’ve never really grown up. Kind of full circle back to point one, but really, you’re only as old as you feel. And you can, as Styx once said, “see the world through your cynical eyes”. I’ve seen a lot of bad over the years, lived through a lot of bad. I think having a sense of humour about everything, not taking a lot of what goes on hit me too seriously, has helped a lot. So yeah, I’m old on the outside, but I see the world with a little more childlike wonder, I think.
Wow, that got a lot deeper than I expected! Ah well…
Now to the 15 amazing people/blogs I am going to forward this Award to. Basically, if they made me think, made me laugh, or made me write, they made the list.
- Nine Day Wonder – Pat’s reflections on the writing life, and life in general are always thought-provoking, always entertaining. She’s a brilliant writer and a beautiful person. Not to be missed.
- Washburn Island: Memoir of a Childhood – Mary’s recently taken a different tack with this blog. It’s the Old Poop and Weed Man in a smackdown…who’s gonna win? I betting on Poop. Always bet on Poop.
- Allyson Latta – Besides being a great writer and editor, Allyson’s also just a very nice person (and a closet horror fan, which is aces in my book!). Interviews, guest bloggers, upcoming writing contests…this blog has something for everyone.
- Bound By the Word Blog – I’ve known Noelle off and on for years…heck, we even attended the same wedding when she was five and I was probably twelve or thirteen. And it took until just over a month ago to discover we’re both writers. And then I discovered her brilliant blog. Get to know Noelle. She’s got so much energy she makes me tired.
- Author’s Journey – Finally! A guy makes the list! Terry’s site is very new, but I expect wonderful things from it.
- JaneyDodgesBlog – Exactly what you want in a blog. Great insights. Great writing. And personality. What’s not to love?
- Scribbla – Some very cool “scribblings” – short pieces of very good writing. For me, it helps to prime the pump…someone else is writing good stuff…I should too!
- Be Kind Rewrite – subtitled “etiquette lessons for the proper writer” this blog delivers. Fun and informative.
- Query Shark – wanna learn how to write a solid query letter? This blog rocks!
- The Domestic Fringe – those that know me know I’m not so much into religion. And yet, Fringegirl writes some highly compelling stuff that makes a lot of sense for anyone. And she’s funny too.
- Daily Blog Tips – the name kinda says it all, doesn’t it?
- A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing – J.A. Konrath is a great author and an incredibly generous person when it comes to providing advice to up-and-coming authors. And he recently made the jump from Big Publisher to indie publishing. He’s someone you should listen to. You should read his books too. They’re a lot of fun.
- Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool – okay, just for the title alone, dudes! You never know what he’s gonna write about next, but it’s gonna be quirky and fun. And, come on…he’s Canadian!
- Jinx Writings – Hard to believe this is coming from a fifteen-year-old.
- Hapless Dad – just a fun to read blog.
Seriously. Go read them all. They all have something great to offer.