Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Won Two More Liebsters!

So I've been bad about awards in the last couple of months, given all my health problems and family distractions. Last night I made a point of making good on at least two blogger goodies handed to me by very considerate people who didn't deserve to have me take this long. I've won a pair of Liebsters, which require you to answer eleven questions, reveal eleven personal facts, and tag eleven more bloggers. Given that I've won this at least three times before, I'm going to track down even more people. I will, however, give you the darned dirt.

The more recent came from Franny Stevenson, a buddy from the A-to-Z Challenge. She had these eleven questions for me:

1. Do you have a nickname?

People play around with my last name; "The Wiz," or Monica Marier calls me "Wisard," which I like. But mostly people just call me "John."

2. Who’s your favourite writer?
I don't have a singular favorite author; what inspires and entertains me changes so often. But some of my favorites are Homer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Shirley Jackson, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Dante Alighieri, Eudora Welty, Gail Simone, Akira Toriyama, Hiroaki Samura and Stephen King.

3. If you could switch life with someone who’d you choose? And why?
I wouldn't wish my neuromuscular syndrome upon anyone. However if there was somehow who couldn't walk, or had even more advanced paralysis, and desperately wished to experience mobility, I'd trade a day to them to let them experience it.

4. If you had a time machine where would you go?
Into space, because if you travel back or forward in time, then you maintain your location and the planet moves out from underneath you. Time travelers better all be fine astronauts.

5. Pirate or Vampires?
Why are you segregating? You can have pirate vampires, though they'll only be able to attack your ship at night. A pirate who has to lay low 50% of the time seems the safest to be around for me, so I'll vote for the Vampire Pirate.

6. Are you a satisfied person or you do you keep working to obtain something?
Constant worries that I'll become too sick to fend for myself, or won't have the resources to support myself, make me strive for economics, which is a wretched motivation. I also work to strengthen my body to expand my meager lifespan, and have put so many thousands of hours into studying storytelling. You all can tell me what fruits that has born.

7. Sweet or savoury?
Another one that varies wildly! Do I lose chocolate or hamburgers? I wouldn't want to lose either. Right now I'm in the mood for a savory meal with a side of umame.

8. Which is your favourite colour?
The range of deep greens that plants turn when heavy rain is coming. Color exhibits their thirst.

9. What’s your favourite animal?
Imaginary ones. They do the least damage to the carpet.

10. Is friendship important for you?
One of the most important things in my life. Apolitical romance.

11. Fantasy or sci-fi?
There's wonderful SciFi; the movie I'm most anticipating this year is Star Trek Into Darkness, and the book I'm most anticipating is Jo Walton's generation ship teen comedy. But I'm predominantly a Fantasy reader. There's more liberty for experimentation and it gels better with how my imagination tends to work.

ow back at the end of February, Colin Barnes also bestowed this gift upon my household. This was all while I bebopped  around Neurology wards. I had a lot of fun answering these questions, then lost the paper with the answers. I typed them up, then lost those answers to a computer crash. Shortly thereafter, my family emergencies started piling on. This is my big make-up session. So please bear in mind that I'm egregiously late in accepting Colin's questions, and that I originally had a far more eloquent answer to #9.

1.             You could be one character in a TV show. Who would that be?
The plucky comedy supporting character on one of those incredibly long-running sitcoms. Nothing that bad ever happens to him; an embarrassing or annoying relative showing up for an episode is probably the worst. He's always engaged in something outlandish that draws exuberance from him, like hunting UFOs or running a documentary about heroism in cock fighting. Sort of Christopher Lloyd in Taxi? The perfect existence of never being too challenged or harmed and living out all the fun sub-plots, with occasional and amazing insights for the protagonists who otherwise thing I'm charmingly insane.

2.             What is your strongest skill in writing?
If you've read this blog for long, you probably can guess it: I'm willing to write a lot. There is, I believe, no more vital skill, as nearly every worthwhile piece of literature was the product of a mind that was willing to study and compose great amounts to get to the skill level to write it. Part of this skill is willingness to write many different things, comedy and tragedy, monologue and dialogue, Horror and action scenes, to push at my boundaries.

3.             What is your weakest?
I neglect elements of a story that I don't care about. If the characters are in motion and what they do to each other is all that matters, I will describe very little of the setting, which makes it hard for some readers to identify with the fiction. If their clothing doesn't matter, I'll skim over those details. Sights, sounds, smells – something will be important, and something that isn't won't be described, or will get little detail. In many cases this is fine because of the strengths of the whole, but other times there's a serious gap. Beta readers and friendly critics have helped me build a little paranoia barrier that nudges me into compensating for this.

4.             Other than writing, what else would you like to be known for?
See #8.

5.             You could save the dolphins or tigers… which one?
Tigers. Dolphins are killers, too, but many species of dolphins are also egregious rapists. Orcas aren't as murderous of people as is believed, but they are every bit as sadistic as the worst cat, and cats are jerks. Also, dolphins are a biologically family housing many jerk-species, where as tigers are only one species among the many jerk-cats. So I'll save the tiger.

6.             Who’s the weirdest person you’ve ever met?
In all three versions of this survey, I don't think I've ever come up with a good answer. Adolescent children are nearly all sociopaths and weird in their own ways that we'd never tolerate in adults. I've had senile relatives who were almost like walking ghosts for periods. And then there are all my hospital visits, crossing paths with all deformations and maladies. Drug addiction has definitely done things to some people's minds that was as deep as any schizophrenia I've seen. I could not tell you who was the weirdest among them, from the preppy jock who muttered "stab stab stab" over and over whenever anyone teased him, or from the supreme academic philosopher who lived to convince people that he knew everything about the world. Every single person I've gotten to know on a deep level had profound oddities to them, and anyone who says they're altogether is either a unique snowflake or a liar, and people live for more of the year than winter.

7.             Your most embarrassing public experience?

I do not embarrass easily, as this photograph from when I first tried to answer these questions should support.
I feel too disconnected from crowds most of the time to feel many more negative herd influences than shame and pressure. The only embarrassment that sticks out right now is my second week at college, eating alone in the dining hall. I saw a gnarled old man with salty hair on the other end of the hall, and thought it was my faculty advisor, so I carried my trey across the entire hall to talk to him. It turned out it was only my faculty advisor's freaky twin, someone from the acting department, and I had to stammer out an excuse for why I'd brought my trey over while a couple hundred people watched me. I submitted to the situation, unable to extricate myself, and he struck up a conversation out of mercy.

Not that bad, right? You'd think I'd be embarrassed about my father throwing a fit in public, or falling out of my wheelchair, or pushing the PULL door right after testing at prodigy level at school. But it doesn't click on very often for me.

8.             If you could be proficient with one weapon, which would it be?
Orbital laser.

9.             Which genre would you like to see disappear?
None. There are plenty of genres that have no appeal to me, and some which annoy me in my more irksome moods, but none have grounds to not serve someone else. Am I going to read many YA Romances in the next year? No, I am not. But that does not mean it should go away. From the cheesiest inspirational Christian parable to the bloodiest shock-Horror, all different shapes of stories have sundry functions. Somewhere out there is somebody who only gets through an exhausting double-shift at a job you don't even think about because there might be new My Little Pony/Star Wars slash waiting at home. I'm not tyrannical enough to take that away.

10.          You could take one book to an afterlife, what would it be?
Dante's Divine Comedy. Then I can bring it to him and riff on all the inaccuracies.

11.          Remote cabin in the woods, or a city centre apartment?
The cabin in the woods. I can't breathe well in most cities, and when I visit them for conventions, I have lung problems for days or weeks afterward. I've also seldom been socially comfortable in cities, feeling I'm either alone or in a pack amid a sea of people who don't want me near them. What a miserable fate for metropolitan life, to gather so many people together such that they don't want eye contact. The wildlife in woods tends to want eye contact so it can attack you, but at least it's direct about it.

This post has already gone too long, but the Liebster demands eleven facts about the recipient, and Colin's patience certainly warrants those. So let's close out with eleven sweet nothings.

  1. I am not in my high school year book. I skipped the official photo and someone on the staff decided to just not enter my name into the tome at all. My mother bought two copies and was pretty unhappy. I was unhappy at how much money she’d wasted.
  2. When I first heard “Scientology,” I imagined someone had made a religion out of science. I figured it was inevitable, but it didn’t seem interesting, so I didn’t pay much attention.
  3. When I first heard “Urban Fantasy,” I imagined Elrond at a PTA meeting and orcs at backyard barbecues. This seemed very funny to me, but I’d rather write it than read it, and so I didn’t pay much attention.
  4. Cast as the wicked witch in an improv play, I once fashioned my thermos vertically under my shirt as stainless steel boobs.
  5. I’m presently watching through Lost for the fifth time. Its first season holds up as some of the best television I’ve ever seen. Hurley and Locke are my boys.
  6. Last year I walked in on my mother watching a Twilight marathon. She wanted to see what the fad was about, and said she liked it, but had one question that I, as a Fantasy author, could help her with. “What is the difference between vampires and werewolves?”
  7. I have had three longstanding feuds with personal friends over which of us was Murtaugh and which of us was Riggs.
  8. As a child, I cried during Godzilla 1985 when Godzilla fell into the volcano at the end. It has never made me cry as an adult, but I still find the suite from that scene moving.
  9. Despite being in chronic pain, I tend to report lower on the 1-10 scale at hospitals than healthier people. This is because I’ve experienced how bad a 10 actually is.
  10. My favorite part of Wreck-It Ralph is when he wrecks her stupid cart. I laughed until the couple behind me gave me death stares.
  11. One of my favorite things in life is turning out the lights on friends who are afraid of the dark. I do not know why they put up with me.


  1. Congratulations!!! I have a Liebster!!! and I cannot wait to put it up, but I cannot figure out my template and have to wait for one of my sons.
    Re: the pain thing. I have reported up to 9. I used to take this thing called Fentanyl. It didn't work, even at the fullest strength. I hated it!
    But YOU are wonderful!
    Your mom is so funny and cute!
    xox jean

  2. Congrats on the award. Also, I'm laughing my butt off at fact 10. That is just awesome.


  3. Oh John this was great! I feel satisfied, in a way I expected you could answer the way you did, although a couple of things surprised me! You rock!

  4. Entertaining answers as always, John.

  5. You have made me laugh. Thank you.

  6. You are a unique combination of humble, unbelievably funny, and smartass. :) And you're saving the tigers! A cat...

    Awesome answers, John. Yeah, I hear ya on the #10 pain thing. I don't think most people even know what it means.


Counter est. March 2, 2008