"I'm going to put on my travel agent hat and ask you a couple vacation questions. Where is the best place you have ever visited? What is your dream vacation? Tell us where it would be and what you would do there."
This is really hard. I have sincerely loved a lot of the places I've been, but I think the best place I've been was Mont St. Michel in France...absolutely gorgeous and so totally fascinating. I highly recommend it. That little mini trip (I was teaching English just north of Paris for a summer) was also the first time I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. I wish I could go again right now!
I also, of course, recommend Kyoto, Japan which was my second choice.
As far as a dream vacation, I really want to go to Italy before I die. I thought about choosing someplace more exotic and less cliched, but if you told me I was going to die in a month and could only go one more place, I'd choose Italy. I would of course want to eat a lot, and visit all the beautiful museums and historical places, and go to Venice before it floods or whatever is bound to happen.
"I don't participate in Faith in Fiction because I'm not a Christian and because I participate in a ton of memes already. But I'm impressed with the questions and tasks you come up with each week. What's your inspiration? How do you come up with 52 topics a year?"
Thanks Beth! It's actually really hard sometimes. I have a list of possible topics, but I am a blogger that needs to be struck by inspiration. Thankfully, there are just so many ideas to explore in the world of Christian fiction. Plus the participants are all very different in their approach to both faith and fiction that I enjoy seeing what everyone has to say!
"How do you juggle your online time vs. reading time?
My reading pile seems to be growing as I spend more time on Twitter, blog commenting etc. Anxious to see what you say."
It's possible I could read blogs all day. I think reading blogs is a valid form of reading...and an important one despite the naysayers. But I also love reading books.
My first tip, so to say, is to make sure you always have a book with you. There are a million unexpected little places during the day you can sneak in reading. I read everywhere possible...I hate waiting in line, so I read. (why waste the time?) I read during my lunch and on my breaks. I read before sleeping. And yes, I read at red lights, in drive thrus and all other manner of dangerous places.
Secondly, sometimes I just turn off the computer and go someplace to read. Otherwise I get tempted by e-mail or twitter or google reader.
And lastly...I have my google reader organized. I have about 20 blogs I try to read everyday. (I usually read more than that, but they are my "can't miss!") That way, if I have a day where I can't really spend time on the computer, I usually can read their posts. Then, I generally spend Saturday mornings catching up on sleep and my google reader.
As far as Twitter...it can really be a time suck. It's so much fun to chat with everyone through the day and I absolutely HATE to miss anything. I usually leave Twitter on at home, and check in a few times during the workday.
"How do you define beauty?"
Wow! Honestly, I had never really thought about it before. I guess beauty is something that gives me hope or makes me believe that there is always something better. I say this because the one thing beauty always does is fill me with longing. Whether it's the beauty of nature, or of a kind act, or piece of music...if I choose to define it as beautiful, it has made me ache inside with hope and longing. Or homesickness. Of course if I'm saying beautiful man it's not quite that deep ;)
"What is 10 + 6 + 5 +10?"
Marta! I said no math! Erm, um, I think that's 31.
"Why do you like vampires?"
Oh, I wish I knew! I tend to be dramatic. I love tragic stories. It really doesn't get more tragic than being doomed to wander the earth in an undead state drinking blood, does it? There is so much symbolism, so much possibility for redemption, so much angst. I just love them! I've said it here before, but my mother absolutely hates that I do! Every time I've fallen in love with another vampire story she worries for the eternal condition of my soul. :) (just kidding) So as you can see, I prefer vampires with some personality...I'm not as much into the "vampires as monsters or demons" myths.
"What has been your proudest moment in your life so far?"
This is also a difficult question. I'm going to cheat and tell you a moment that made me feel proud and like I was doing something good that happened recently. I tutor adults in reading improvement and from the very first day it was an uphill battle. It is not at all a glamorous job. I have seen several adults turn their reading around, though, and even get promotions at our workplace! But the moment that filled me with joy was when I was at the bookstore and bumped into a former student. "I never used to come here but now thanks to you I read all the time!" he told me. These moments...they are so few and far between. Most of the time, I'm plugging away just like my students. But when they happen, when I remember that what I'm doing does make a difference in the best possible way...well it's very sweet, indeed.
"What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
No one asked this question, but here it is since it seems appropriate for this week:
Who are your blogging influences?
The first blog I read was the blog of Shaun Groves. It is still a daily read for me, though I don't comment as much as I used to. I didn't even really understand what a blog was, but I read Shaun's and ended up creating my own. In any case, Shaun is one of the best writers I've ever read. And for a few years there, his influence through his blog was profound on my life. That little community there at the time wrestled through a lot of issues together. If I could inspire and influence people through my blog a fraction of the way Shaun influenced me, I would be very happy indeed.
Kat Jacobs. It's not her real name, but Kat's blogging was a model to me. I learned a lot from reading her blog about blogging itself, including that you can have blogging activities! Before I thought of blogs as merely places where you wrote about what you were thinking, but Kat organized a collaborative blog event called the 40 Day Fast where 40 blogs chose a social justice issue to blog about and fasted on their day. It was a great experience. The reason I mention this is because if I hadn't known that you could do fun things like that, BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week) would never have happened. Sadly, I don't think Kat reads my blog anymore (probably since I post 50,000 times a day) but I still look forward to when she has time to post.
Booking Mama. Julie probably doesn't know it, but she influenced me a lot in learning how to write reviews. I was terrible (or more terrible) at it before but I learned through reading her reviews. She's still ten thousand times better than me. I wanted to mention that I found her blog through Megan Crane! When she reviewed Names My Sisters Called Me, Megan linked to it and that's how I found her! And I'm so glad I did!
Thanks everyone for asking me questions and for bothering to read the answers! After I started this, I thought...oh my gosh, this is really self-centered. But I've had a ton of fun answering the questions and next week we'll get back to book reviews with an autobiographical slant.
I'd like to do another giveaway...please leave a comment and tell me about one of your blogging influences! If you don't blog, just tell me about a blog you enjoy. Or if you like just leave a comment relevant to the post. I'll choose one winner for their choice of a ten dollar gift certificate to Amazon or iTunes. Be sure to have a valid email address as well.
I have an insane amount of other giveaways at the moment don't forget to check them out!
Buffy Seasons 1 and 2
The Kitty Norville Books
LOST season 1
Don't Let Me Go
The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived