This is a very new and wonderful thing for me. Setsu over at KatanaPen has nominated me for a Liebster Award! I have not heard of this before, simply because this is my first real attempt at blogging. The fact that such a powerful woman, writer, and friend thought of me is enough to constrict my throat a bit. I secretly think she is just trying to get some dirt on me though…
1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them. (Done)
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator. (See below)
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. (See below)
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer. (down further below)
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them. (Message delivered)
ONE. What’s the harshest piece of criticism you’ve grown from?
In college, I was fortunate enough to study under a couple of fantastic writers in my Creative Writing classes. One encouraged me to embrace flash fiction – to strip down my fluffy, clunky prose into something more powerful. The other challenged me to get my head out of my ass. It was this professor’s criticism that knocked me a down a peg or two from my illusory elevation, and back to reality. I was in a class that had talent, and I sat there thinking I was better than them. I can guarantee that others in that room had already published by then, and that they are definitely publishing now. I had not. I am not.
I flaked off that semester, wrote half-hearted garbage, and skipped class regularly. None of that bothered my professor. On the last day of class, when our final reading and submission of our writing portfolio was to take place, I laid in bed. About a half hour before class was to begin, I called my prof’s office and informed him that I wouldn’t be showing up. He asked if I could have someone drop my portfolio off. I told him no, and that it wasn’t complete, so why bother. He asked if I understood what I was choosing to do, and that if I could get him anything, it would significantly help my grade in the class. I was apathetic – that day more so than any other day of my life.
As we finished up our conversation, he asked me why I was doing this. I told him that I hadn’t done enough work to warrant a grade or his criticism. I told him that I just lost my inspiration. I felt his anger through the phone. A man with a grizzled beard and a riotous rave of graying hair on his head. I knew he was pissed. And the best piece of advice I received was what he finished our conversation with. He said, “Drew. You have wasted your time and money – I’m sure you already know that. What pisses me off is that you inhibited another writer, one of your peers, from the opportunity to improve their craft. Your seat in the class could have had meaning if someone else would have occupied it.”
I now understand that me being lazy doesn’t just affect me. In fact, it may affect me least of all.
TWO. If you had to be without one of your five senses, which would it be and why?
I know that this is supposed to be a very taxing conundrum for people, but I have never felt that way. I would choose to be without Touch. It’s a matter of what I cannot imagine being without. Sight is the first – I am terrified of going blind. Hearing is next – how else could I know if my new baby girl was crying or not? How else could I hear her first words? Taste is my third necessary. As an avid baker, brewer, and amateur foodie, I could not imagine being without it. These are the essentials for me.
Smell and touch are sort of a toss-up. I am a big, hairy, and sometime smelly guy, so I could be in for Smell going away at times, but it does enhance the Taste sense, so I think it ultimately has to stay. I have worked in numbing conditions, where you cannot feel your hands or feet or face. I can say that I can do without the sense of Touch because I have been, in part without it.
THREE. What material is hard for you to write, and how do you tackle it (emotional rawness, erotica, gore, etc)?
As an emerging writer who has only recently returned to the craft, I have a hard time answering this question. I think I have to say Fantasy, which breaks my heart. I have always fancied myself a Fantasy writer, but I cannot get anything to stick that is worth a damn, when I write within that genre. I am tackling it by writing outside of the genre for now, getting my chops back, and gaining confidence. Once the dust is knocked off, I am sure I will be able to give it a proper go.
I would also say plot twists.
FOUR. What did you have in mind when you started blogging, and how did your blog deviate from your original idea?
I really wanted to establish a place of accountability for myself. I am inherently lazy with some things, and establishing a blog and knowing that there may be a few regular readers meant that other were ‘relying’ on me to post. The train of thought was that the more I posted, the better my writing would become, or the more insights I would glean about myself as a writer.
I think I am still on the mark with my intentions with writebrainedramblings. I write in a very raw, stream-of-consciousness manner. My posts rarely get an edit outside of the squiggly red underline issues. I wanted people to understand me and my thought process from a very real perspective, and I believe that I am doing just that.
FIVE. What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever received?
“I’ve totally underestimated you.”
I’ve heard the same thing several times in my life. Sometimes it is a total backhanded compliment. Sometimes it is a direct insult. Other times, it catches me off guard for all the right reasons.
SIX. What question do you wish people would ask you, and how would you answer? What will it take for you to pursue your dreams?
Most people who know me know that I dream big. I have a lot of ambitions in life, a lot of ventures that I would love to explore. Most of these are simply on hold for financial reasons – it’s a lame excuse, but it’s reality. Shit runs on money in our society. I want to open a brewery or brew pub – that is a couple million needed to start. I would love to run a food truck – that’s a couple hundred grand. I want to buy a cabin on Lake Michigan and write, and brew, and swim every day for the rest of my life – unfortunately, I have a lot of bills to pay, and a wife and child to consider.
So I think the next best thing that will allow me to pursue my dreams is motivation. If I could simply be one of those people who can set their mind to something and get it done, well, things would be significantly different for me these days – my life would be completely different.
SEVEN. How do you deal with an unhealthy obsession (if you don’t have obsessions, I suspect you’re fibbing — but go ahead and give advice for ‘your friend’ who does)?
I typically make fun of it. I am an over-eater, an indulger. I have a weight and blood pressure problem. I simply hide behind jokes to avoid addressing the issue.
EIGHT. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, and what would be the first step toward accomplishing that goal?
I am doing it right now. I have always wanted to publish my work – this blog and the community of writers that I am fortunate enough to be a part of is helping me get there. My next step, at this point, is to explore my newest piece and write it into the full story that it wants to be.
NINE. What makes you a great friend?
That is hard for me to answer. I am the guy who is the best friend of numerous people. I like to think that I am compassionate, engaging, and attentive to my friends. Also, I am as loyal as you can get. My friends know that, no matter the circumstance, I will do anything for them. I would literally take a bullet for a friend.
TEN. What does your personal paradise look, sound, and smell like?
A log cabin nestled amongst Sugar Maples on the foredunes of Lake Michigan. The sort of place where my living room leads out to a huge deck, which leads out to the beautiful singing sands of Michigan’s western shoreline. The other side of the house would be surrounded by maple trees (some with sap taps and buckets hanging off of them) and lush forest to hike through. It would sound like my wife humming while she feeds our cooing baby girl. The breeze would hold the faint sound of laughter from a family gathering. It would smell like cherry pipe tobacco and Lake Michigan.
I am not sure if I know 10 bloggers who this pertains to, but I will send this out where I can. I am assuming that I cannot send back to my nominator…
1. What is your biggest passion?
2. What is your best piece of advice for pursuing your dreams?
3. What were your goals when starting your blog? Are you achieving them? Have they changed?
4. What is your favorite cereal?
5. What is your favorite game? (Sure, it can be sports or board games or games of the mind persuasion)
6. What color is the new Black?
7. What is your favorite meal to COOK?
8. What is your favorite quote? What does it mean to you?
9. What actor plays the best villain?
10. Who is your favorite author(s)? Why? What is their best work?