With CFS, the unexpected tends to trigger immediate panic. And it was unexpected when Judy of Janthina Images presented me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. My head wouldn’t grasp it.
It was late in the evening, and my mind was tightly focused on what I was doing. I had spent the day checking the links in the first 5 posts in a series of eight on Crimsons History, followed by setting the schedule so they’d publish over Christmas and New Year. Though the posts are a ‘labour of love’ still I was feeling flagged. But I wasn’t yet done. I had 12 graphics to upload and schedule, again to run over the Festive Season.
I think I garbled a thank you. I probably repeated it several times after. I will repeat it now, just to be sure. I thank you Janthina Images. (If you’ve not checked out her blog, then so do now. With her wonderful images of egrets and herons – they are my favourite birds along with owls – she’s very talented with her camera, and in several ways she seems to be my spirit-sister.)
It was the next day before I really gave thought to what this Very Inspiring Blogger Award could mean.
Well, first it meant I had to find 15 bloggers to similarly nominate. It was at that point I understood how the award works. No one sets up a blog and regularly posts to it if they’ve no desire or intent to be seen. For myself, when I first started crimsonprose, I said, “Even if only one person sees it . . .” And I remember the kick of my first follower . . . my first 10 . . . the first 20. Then to get comments, to realise people really did like my stuff; it was amazing.
But no one would visit a person’s blog if no one knew it was there. The usual way to ‘advertise one’s presence’ is to go visit the blogs and leave ‘likes’ and gravatars, like Victorian calling cards. In the early days I too hopped from blog to blog, using the gravatars as stepping stones.
But there is another way to reach out and connect. It’s the bloggers’ equivalent of ‘word of mouth’; it’s called an award. I know there are some people who regard these awards as akin to chain letters & pyramid selling, because in accepting the award one is committed to nominate another 15 bloggers. Yet it is this very aspect of the award that allows it to work as ‘word of mouth’, for with each recipient’s 15 nominations there is formed an intricate web of links that, in joining with others, stretch across the bloggersphere.
It is a privilege to receive any award, but to be asked to participate in this bloggers’ web is a double privilege, since now I am deemed a worthy stepping-stone. But to receive the Very Inspiring Blogger Award . . . now that was most unexpected.
And now I have to obey the rules.
1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog. See above and the about page (will be added to sidebar later).
2. Display the award on your post. See the sidebar and the About Page; it will also be displayed on Feast Fables, one of my other two blogs.
3. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do. See the ‘Rules’ repeated at the end of this post.
4. State 7 things about yourself. Okay, let’s do it.
One: After writing (and reading), my prime love is music – though I guess you know that from the story Neve. To take a quote from her – which, since iI put it into her mouth, I’m allowed:
“There are certain artists and tracks . . . . the singer, the musicians, you can hear that they love what they’re doing. They put everything into it, and that love fills the work. Then when I listen, it’s like that love is enfolding me.” That’s why I never feel truly alone.
Two: Dance aerobics is my exercise of choice.
In younger (pre-CFS) days I’d arrive at the nightclub (dance hall, disco, what have you) as the doors opened. And from then till the doormen kicked me out, I wouldn’t leave the floor. There is nothing as exhilarating as pushing the body to the extreme. And that’s what I did. If you’ve seen the movie, Flash Dance, you’ll know the image.
Now, when 50% of the time I’m so sluggish I hardly can move, to dance is the only real exercise available to me. I don’t need to go out. If I tire, I can stop. I need no special equipment – just iTunes and bang-perfect speakers plugged into the computer. There are, of course, some tracks more suited to dance aerobics than others. Billy Idol’s Mony Mony really does it for me.
Three: I am a lapsed member of BTO (British Trust for Ornithology). When I first moved to this town, backed by an estuary and endless marshes, I undertook a BTO survey of the drainage channels between Burgh Castle and Gt Yarmouth. Not very exciting, I thought at the first – until I saw the Bearded Tits in the reeds, feeding their chicks. And the reed warblers and sedge warblers, the swans with their cygnets (a little but wary of them, to be so close to their nest; they’re known to be vicious in defence of their young).
I could wax lyrical for hours, but unless you’ve a passion – and this I share with Judy at Janthina Images – you’ll not understand it.
It was a timely wrought survey. Those channels and their breeding birds no longer exist. The farmer allowed the reeds to choke the channels. The annual debris of leaf litter soon filled in the gutter. He cannot be held entirely to blame; he merely allowed nature to take its course. It was by such a process that the peat beds were formed which, in being dug to supply fuel to the medieval monasteries, created the holes that then were flooded with rising sea levels to become Norfolk’s most beautiful natural attraction – the Broads.
Four: I do not swear. Or, to be more precise, I do not use four-lettered words as expletives.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. If I bash my finger or stub my toe then I have a set sequence of what my mother used to call ‘bad words’. But they’re not four-lettered, being adjectives each ending in –ing.
Instead of using the no-thought-given words, I tend to say (no, don’t laugh) Friggle Jacks. Yea, I know, I put that into Neve’s mouth as well. I think it comes from Fraggle Rock.
And that’s just reminded me of a time that I did swear – the day the medics rushed me to hospital with meningitis/encephalitis. The infection had hit my speech centre – at first the medics thought it a stroke. They kept asking me questions, and while in my head I had the words, they just wouldn’t come out. That afternoon I had watched, for maybe the twentieth time, Labyrinth – with Dave Bowie as a decidedly drool-worthy Jared, the Goblin King. In case you’ve not seen it (now very dated), there is a character named Hoggle, whose name Jared repeatedly mis-says and Hoggle repeatedly corrects. Well, my every attempt to answer the medics’ questions came out as ‘Oggle’ followed by the childhood-forbidden fricative expletive. My daughter, who was with me, had never,ever heard me swear. She didn’t know whether to laugh or to stare.
Five: I gave a name to my first computer, bought in an age before time began. Bessie. You can imagine the stick I took from the kids for that. But I hadn’t named it for the reason they thought, but for the exact opposite.
I’d heard people talking to their computers, and blaming them for things that went wrong. They gave these plastic bundles of silicon chips a personality. Yea, we’ve all seen Space Oddity, but these general purpose home computers aren’t exactly a HAL. I named mine Bessie cos that, to me, is the name of a workhorse. My computer was, and still is, an extremely versatile pen. Cos, the one I have now is also an entertainment centre – music, videos, dvds – I can even watch tv on it, if I choose. But it still is a workhouse. It has No personality.
Six: Since earliest school days I’ve been fascinated by the written language. Yet the spoken language, I am useless with. My earliest memory of school is being hauled out of class to attend the visiting Speech Therapist who asked me to recite a nursery rhyme – though I don’t remember which one. I was unable to say ‘yellow’ and ‘sausage’. I remember my mother making me repeat them endlessly over. This had a negative effect, since after the first couple of sayings my articulation only got worse.
I could say the words perfectly in my head. I just couldn’t say them. It was as if I had some loose wiring, that my tongue and other mouth-muscles just wouldn’t obey my brain. Needless to say, this didn’t encourage my confidence to speak out in class. My written work was always good but my teachers on my end-of-term reports always remarked, ‘Crispina does not contribute in class’.
But from this handicap came a gift. With a tongue that slipped and stumbled, I developed the written word as means of expression . . . as you see on the pages of crimsonprose. Though I did eventually overcome it; witness my longest running job as theatre manager. You can’t do that without speaking.
Seven: I’m scared of horses. It’s not a phobia, and I don’t know its source. The disgrace of the family, that’s me. My grandfather had a stud farm and riding school. My grandmother had ‘the best seat in the county’. But me, I’d rather walk through a field with a bull than get within 6 yards of a horse.
I have tried to accommodate them. In my teens I had a friend with a horse, a 16 hands hunter named Sheba. Not wanting to seem a woz, I’d follow her to the stable to collect the beast, walk alongside her down to the field where she rode said beast, and sit on the fence while she galloped around on it.
Then one day she suggested I might like to ride dear Sheba. I thought it might help my otherwise fear. So while she steadied and calmed the mare, I heaved myself up and onto its back (16 hands is no small height). I remember thinking how slippery the saddle. I didn’t expect to stay on.
I’m not sure what I did wrong, but the next I know the horse is off at a run, with me yelling, “Where are the brakes?”
Wise horse, at the 12’ tall hedge at the top of the field, she veered to right and headed back down – but not on the same course as the uphill run. No, my used-to-the-hunt hunter was heading straight for the remains of an old fallen tree. Me? I closed my eyes. I just knew I was going to fall and land in that dense bed of nettles that surrounded the tree.
The beast delivered me back to her owner – who congratulated me on taking the jump! It wasn’t me; it was that beast that did it. To this day I don’t know how I stayed on. My legs were still shaking a full week later.
There have been other incidences. Like the time I found myself alone in a field with a Shetland pony and broken fence. The palomino from the adjacent field had wandered in. Advice: don’t get anywhere close to fighting stallions. I discovered that day why they have such a long phallus – they use it in fighting, to spray urine around!
So there you have it: 7 things about me.
Rule 5. Nominate 15 more bloggers for the award.
How to decide which to nominate? Do I want to nominate a blog already heavy with every conceivable award? Although in the end I have included one. Or would I rather use these nominations to encourage new bloggers, young bloggers, sincere and earnest bloggers, bloggers who inspire by their very difference, the Monty Python of bloggers who would not in a thousand years think they’d ever be nominated ‘Very Inspiring’? And of course a portion of these 15 nominations must go to those bloggers who have personally reached out to inspire and encourage me. Without their initial interest I might not have survived the first lonely few weeks. And their continuing interest has (more than once) spurred me back into action when I was flagging.
In the end I decided to spread the 15 nominations across all these classes – and it’s by these ‘criteria of choice’ that I’ve grouped them, so don’t be offended if you’re not listed first.
Edward and Amelia v The Vampire King
6. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post. I shall be doing this over the next few days.
7. Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) to your blog, whether on your side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards. Let other bloggers see right up front that you are an award winner and HAVE participated in the award process. See sidebar right; See About Page.
And here, again, are The Rules, courtesy of Janthina Images :
1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2. Display the award on your post.
3. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.
4. State 7 things about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.
7. Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) to your blog, whether on your side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards. Let other bloggers see right up front that you are an award winner and HAVE participated in the award process.