My friend Willow of Willow Manor was recently interviewed by a fellow-blogger and it was great fun to learn more about her and the history of the Manor. She invited her bloggy-friends to leave a comment indicating they wished to by interviewed by her and I took the opportunity to do so in order that you, my loyal visitors would be let in on a few histories and idiosyncrasies of my own. Below is the interview resulting from Willow’s questions of me. At the end, please feel free to assist us in furthering this voyage of discovery into the worlds of many of the participants in the Creative Clans of Blogdom. (If you would like to be interviewed, see rules at the bottom of this post.)
1. Your poetry is amazing. When did you starting writing?
I have always had a love of words and rhymes. As a very little girl, my grandmother would sit me on her knee and read to me. My prized possessions were books of verse – Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes, A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and the strange and wonderful books by Dr. Seuss (Green Eggs and Ham), P.D Eastman (Are You My Mother?)and perhaps my favourite – Theo LeSieg’s “Come Over to My House“.
I began writing poetry in grade school and continued through high school and university, though I viewed it only as a diversion – a sideline. My focus was to get a degree in English Literature and become a teacher. I did obtain the degree, but fell out of favour with teaching because it did not align with my slightly introverted personality.
Two years ago, I left my office job to spend more time with my parents who were grappling with my father’s Parkinson’s and dementia. At that time, three career-changing incidents occurred: I wrote a very well-received poem to commemorate my husband’s parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary, I won a competition to name a skunk who had “hitched a ride from California to Ontario, Canada”, and I wrote a poem about the skunk that was published online by one of our national newspapers. As a result, I established a relationship with a mentor-writer out of B.C. who has been a wealth of knowledge, inspiration and a very good friend. I began blogging in May of that year and, as they say, “the rest is history” – so far. (Incidentally, I firmly believe that any talent I have is not of my own making necessarily, but purely as a result of the gift of both my fathers – the one late of Earth and the one in Heaven.)
2. How did you meet your charming husband?
Back in 1993 – before the advent of internet-dating, I was a young woman in my early 30s who had gone just about every route there was to meet a man with whom I would want to spend the rest of my life. Frankly, I was ready to enter a nunnery! You can imagine at that age, that I had had my share of ups and downs with previous relationships. For about a year, I completely stopped dating and spent some time getting to know myself. I also prayed long and hard for some sort of guidance in my life.
One day, I discovered “Telepersonals” telephone-dating on the back page of a Toronto entertainment magazine. I decided to give it a whirl since women had the ability to block phone calls if they chose to do so. I created my own ad and listened to others at my leisure. Apart from the fellow who described himself as a Jesus-lookalike, everybody I spoke to seemed very nice, but just not the “right” one. It was like having two jobs – one regular one by day and another part-time job screening candidates at night.
One day, I was listening to the mens’ ads and I heard one that caught my interest. The guy was looking for “someone born in the 60s, who loved music and liked to people-watch. I could tell he had a playful nature when he spontaneously broke into a familiar Sesame Street song using the word “monogamy”. For this guy, I decided to break my rule of not leaving my phone number and I’m so glad I did. We spoke on the phone (he was drinking a McDonald’s chocolate shake) for over an hour – learning we both loved certain bands, movies, cats, food – met the next night for dinner, and the rest is, again…you know.
3. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
If you’re talking on a personal level – then I would say it has to be working with my husband to move my parents out of their home of 39 years – with its massive accumulation of stuff– in order to bring them to our city (an hour away) and within walking distance of our own home. We singlehandedly shifted all of the unnecessary items – donating to Habitat for Humanity, thrift stores, or dragging to the dump, while keeping and moving their prized possessions and keepsakes to a new, luxury apartment we had found for them.
In terms of my career – probably the most significant thing for me has been to see my work in print in magazines and a national paper, but I really believe the best is yet to come. I hope to publish a collection this year and that I think will be my greatest accomplishment.
4. Who is your favorite male actor and why?
When it comes to actors, I am hard-pressed to be pinned down to just one. I can very easily tell you who I don’t like, but we’d be here all day! I am a great lover of film, as some of my previous posts have illustrated, so my favourite actors tend to be in different genres. My taste does not lean towards the typical male actor. I’m not one for the “flavour of the month”. Usually, I like the scrawny, lanky Brit and my choices definitely reflect that.
When I saw this question I thought, “Who do I make a point of watching? Who will I go out of my way to see on film? Three actors fall into this category – Daniel Day Lewis, Robert Carlyle and Richard E. Grant. I have seen nearly all of Day-Lewis’s films, with exception of “Gangs of New York”, because I have a tough time with really graphic violence. I did greatly enjoy, “There Will Be Blood”, however, despite some scenes. My absolutely favourite role of his has to be as Cecil Vyse in the Merchant-Ivory film, “A Room With a View”. In my opinion, he steals the show.
Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty) was first made known to me through the series, “Cracker”. He played a psychotic, racist killer in one of the episodes. He was also in “Trainspotting” with Ewan McGregor (who would be in my top 10 list) but really won me over with the “Hamish MacBeth” series, so much so that I endured the movie “Ravenous” wherein he plays a cannibalistic soldier and really chews up the scenery. He fares far better in “There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble” – a footy (soccer) movie that I love.
Richard E. Grant can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. He plays the down-on-his-luck theatre actor of 1969 London to quintessential perfection in “Withnail and I” – my all-time favourite comedy (be warned: language and subject matter may offend some), and has done justice to Shakespearean roles, television period pieces and other characters. His book With Nails is a real insight into the world of British film-making and Hollywood. (You can find a link to his website in my sidebar under miscellaneous blogs.)
Of course I can’t answer this question without giving a nod to some of my favourite classic film actors: Henry Fonda (favourite role – Frank in Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”), James Stewart (favourite role – Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey”), James Cagney (favourite role – Cody Jarrett in “White Heat”).
I would be cheating if I did not admit to my one weakness when it comes to movie actors. I own many of and will watch any of Hugh Grant’s films. Inexplicable, I know, but his twinkling eyes and smirky grin get me every time. I really enjoy him as Frederic Chopin in “Impromptu” and as the has-been 80s pop-star in “Music and Lyrics”, but in my opinion, his finest role to date is the director in a little known film called, “An Awfully Big Adventure” which also features a deliciously smarmy Alan Rickman.
5. Other than your loved ones, what is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is my Celtic wedding band. I was delighted to be getting married in June 1994. We almost pulled off an elopement to Ireland, but being Catholic, I was determined to get married in a church and the Arch-diocese in Dublin would not allow outsiders to do so on short notice (despite the willingness of a lovely parish priest). We did marry, in Toronto at the church I attended as a little girl. We flew off to Belfast for our honeymoon and though we intended to visit my father’s childhood haunts, were scared off when an incident in a pub during the World Cup of Soccer resulted in a shooting. We made haste to Dublin where we somehow ended up on the wrong side of town ( a little old lady told me to “mind my bag, dear” as we walked in search of a B & B).
I had not desired an engagement ring. To be getting married was thrill enough and I only had my heart set on matching golden bands to signify the sacrament and our enduring love.
We found the perfect gold rings in a shop on one of the sidestreets of Dublin. They are decorated with Celtic symbols and are identical, but for the size. I don’t form attachments to things as a rule, but should I lose my wedding band, I would be very sad, indeed. (Having said that, I’d be really upset if I broke my traditional brown, Sadler teapot).
Here are the instructions if you wish to be interviewed by me:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me”.
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions (I get to pick the questions)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
I will post a list of those who have agreed to an interview so everyone can follow along.