I’m normally a pretty laidback kind of person, but yesterday’s septic tank crisis left me in dire need of a pick-me-up. I won’t go into all the details except to say they were… smelly. [And yes, we can now use the toilets again].
So you can see why I’d need a pick-me-up. However, what you may not know is that I adore gargoyles.
[What do gargoyles have to do with septic tanks? Trust me and read on.]
In fact I’ve adored gargoyles since I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, climbed a million stairs, and saw these amazing sculptures at first hand. They were much, much bigger than I thought they would be, and even more ferocious up close. However the thing that amazed me was that they were not just decorative, they were also functional.
Gargoyles were, I believe, meant to scare away evil spirits, but they also had a far more prosaic function… as spouts to carry away rain water!
When I finally trudged down all those stairs, I made a bee-line to one of the many souvenir sellers clustering around the feet of the Cathedral, and bought a plaster of paris [no joke!] copy of one of my favourite gargoyles. It even had the depression down the back like its bigger cousins. I kept that souvenir for about 30 years until it finally lost its head in some domestic accident.
Anyway, I do love my gargoyles, so when I read Candy Korman’s post today about the Gargie Award, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled to discover she had nominated me for one of these beauties!
Candy and I have been treading the Indie path together for a year now, and although her Monsters are mostly human, while mine are aliens who look a bit like a cross between a bat and a raptor, we share this love of the monstrous. And of gargoyles. So thank you Candy, for nominating me and for literally making me smile! I am honoured to be given a Gargie! I’d also like to thank Jon Jefferson for creating the Gargies in the first place! I love all the awards I’ve been given, but the graphics of this one really struck a cord with me.
Now, just as Candy passed the torch of the Gargies on to me, I have to pass it on to another deserving blogger. But who?
Okay, I’m just drawing out the dramatic tension here. As soon as I started thinking about a suitable torch carrier for the Gargies, Metan’s blog – Buried Words and Bushwa – immediately popped into my head. Metan posts about articles she finds in old [very old] newspaper clippings. At first glance you’d think these articles would be dry, dusty, historical things. But you would be so very wrong! Metan has a talent for sniffing out some amazingly ghoulish stories – like wedding parties devoured by ravening wolf packs – which makes her the obvious choice. I’m sure she will unearth something extremely suitable in response to the Gargie. Mwahahahaha… -cough-
Getting back to awards though, yesterday was not the only day I needed cheering, and I have the honour of being the recipient of even more awards. I apologize to the lovely bloggers who nominated me for these earlier awards. The last few weeks have been a rather strange mashup of good things and bad that left me without the energy to respond. Today, however, I intend to make up for lost time!
First up I’d like to thank Renata for nominating me for the Sunshine Awards.
Renata and I are both friends of David Prosser, and we were both saddened by the death of David’s lovely wife, Lady J over Easter. When David is feeling up to it, I’d like to nominate him for this award in the hope it brings a little sunshine into his life.
When it came to the questions associated with the Sunshine Award I found myself cherry-picking just three of them. I know this is cheating, but I’m pretty sure no-one has ever asked me these particular questions before so they were the ones I wanted to answer!
What food can you absolutely not eat?
This one was so easy. I cannot stomach oysters in any manner, shape or form. I get queasy just thinking about their texture. My antipathy towards oysters is so bad I get nauseous from even cooked ones, mashed and hidden in a vol-au-vent. So please, if anyone ever asks me to dinner… PLEASE, no oysters.
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
I used to love Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate. Then I discovered Plaistowe Dark Cooking Chocolate [I use it in my chocolate mousse recipe], and suddenly I found milk chocolate too… sweet and milky. When the chocolate cravings hit I will now eat one or two squares of the Plaistowe Cooking Chocolate and feel satisfied. Weird, I know, but there you are. And no, I haven’t received any kick-backs from either Cadbury or Plaistowe. That said, I am open to any free samples either company might wish to send… Ahem.
Do you watch TV – if so, what are some of your favorite shows?
I don’t watch much TV – apart from a couple of news programs – but I watch Dr Who with religious fervour. In fact I’ve been watching Dr Who since I was a kid… and that was a long, long time ago! My two most favourite Doctors are Tom Baker [the tall, curly headed one with the ridiculously long scarf], and the current one, Matt Smith.
And last but not least, Sandra [aka Quirkybooks] nominated me for two lovely awards – the blue Liebster Award and the Illuminating Blogger Award.
I was particularly taken with Sandra’s questions for the Blue Liebster Award so those are the ones I’m going to try to answer :
Do you prefer black or white and why?
Both! I love the bold, crispness of these two ‘non’ colours. I love contrasts and you can’t get a greater contrast than black with white.
What do you like most about rain?
Not having to worry about bushfires! You’ve all probably picked up on my paranoia this last summer [in Australia] so you’ll understand how life-giving rain is Downunder.
If you could publish any one book that you are currently writing, which one would it be and why?
I intend to publish them all, eventually. That’s the great thing about being an Indie. However, right at this moment I would really love to finish, and publish Innerscape. I wrote the first draft during the 2012 Nanowrimo and then set it aside so I could publish the first of the Vokhtah books. Writing Innerscape felt like a holiday, and I know the story was much easier for readers to relate to. However the business ‘me’ knows I have to get the second Vokhtah book out there soon to keep the momentum going. So my writing holiday will have to wait.
If you weren’t a writer, what other job would you be doing and why?
Teaching. Not in a school. Been there, done that and in the current climate I wouldn’t go back if my life depended on it. But teaching can take all sorts of forms and I do love disseminating knowledge so I’d find some way of doing that.
Do you prefer poetry or prose?
Prose. In the last year I have discovered that there are some forms of modern poetry that I can really relate to, but as a general rule I’m more comfortable with prose.
What is your greatest writing moment to date and why?
Mmmm… I think it was the very first time I wrote ‘The End’ in a story. I don’t think anything will ever compete with that euphoric sense of finally having achieved something.
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
Science fiction. The why is rather hard to explain though. Even at my most creative, I’m still a realist. I need my fantasies grounded in something that is at least possible, and science fiction does that. But my love of sci-fi goes beyond that grounding. To me, sci-fi opens up the realms of possibility so authors, and readers, can imagine how real people might react to extreme situations. Even with my aliens, the traits they share with humanity allowed me to explore issues such as integrity and honour. More importantly though, their biology allowed me to explore gender in a way that has never been done before. I’m a humanist rather than a feminist so I wanted to ask the question – what would life be like if gender was mostly a non-issue? Some of the answers surprised even me.
What is you favourite animated film?
Spirited Away by Miyazaki.
Do you prefer How to or self-help books and why?
I will read how-to articles when I’m looking for information but I tend to steer clear of self-help books. I believe that we are ultimately all capable of helping ourselves. When I hit a situation where I do need outside help I’d rather go to someone I trust, like a friend or a family member, because they know me.
How would you like people to remember you?
I think this is my favourite question. To me, living on in the memory of others is the only immortality I believe in, so I would want to be remembered as someone who challenged others to grow and explore, while holding a safety net beneath their feet for the hard times.
What are your three most positive words.
Why? How? Yes!
And now to indulge my curiosity, I’m going to ask all of you to answer these questions too. If you don’t want to answer all of them, that’s ok but I’d really, really like to know the answer to this one : How would you like people to remember you? I truly believe this is one of the big, no, huge questions in life. Humour me… please.
-hugs to all-