Each year, Jack Henry of The Global Aussie, awards The Liebster Award. He reads every single entry and picks the blog with the most unique and creative questions. (I’ll get to the questions part of the contest in a moment.) The 2018 prize for the winning entry is a BioLite Camp Stove worth £150. The prize is clearly not the point. It is the nomination process and how it gets bloggers to engage with one another that is the beauty of it.
Thank you Carol Hopkins of chopkins2x3 for nominating me, and for your extremely generous feedback about the post you chose:
A blog I recently came across and was inspired by is “Embracing Your New Normal” [recently renamed: “A New Normal: Living & Loving Your Life After Loss”]. The post I read was entitled Instructions for a Tragedy, [posted] on the eight-year anniversary of her son’s death. It documents the tragic experience of losing a child to suicide and its horrific aftermath. The writer is brutally honest and, in my opinion, extremely courageous. She minces no words and strikes right at the core of her heartbreak and pain. Her words will speak straight to the heart of others who have had the misfortune of joining this bereaved group of people. I have never lost a child to suicide, but a beloved uncle died in this manner many years ago and I still remember the wrenching pain and the overblown guilt that followed his demise.
Celenia Delsol is a hero in my book for allowing us a glimpse into her grief and the tragic circumstances that surround it. But more than that, she is a hero because of her grit and determination to carry on.
In a world that is often cruel, unforgiving, and down right [sic] mean at times, this blog is a testament to what the human spirit can endure and overcome. It is also inspirational and down to earth. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to read this special piece of writing that expresses so well the journey from despair to survival. Thank you, Celenia Delsol, for expressing what many cannot.
Can I just say, “GOBSMACKED”? As a writer this kind of feedback is an absolute treasure. So thank you Carol Hopkins, a.k.a. “chopkins2x3.”
Here are the rules for people who are nominated and choose to participate in this contest. Write a blog about the Liebster Award in which you:
- Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. (Check!)
- Display the award logo on your blog. I did this by googling “Liebster Award,” going to “Images,” selecting one, clicking and dragging it to my desktop, then selecting that image for this blog post. (Check!)
- Answer 11 questions about yourself which will be provided by the person who nominated you. (Check! See below.)
- Provide 11 random facts about yourself. (Check! See below.)
- Nominate up to 11 bloggers that you feel deserve the award, and who have 200 to 1000 followers. (NOTE: you can always ask the blogger how many followers s/he has. Not all blogs display this information).
- Create a new list of questions for your blogging nominee(s) to answer. (Check! See below.)
- List these rules in your post (you can copy and paste what’s here.)
- Inform the blogger(s) that you have nominated them for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your Liebster Award post (in my case, this post).
- Write a 150 to 300 words about the post(s) you’ve nominated. Explain what you appreciate about this blogger’s writing and provide a link. (Check! See below.)
Here are my answers to the 11 questions posed by Carol Hopkins:
- What inspires you to write? I write mostly from my own life experience. I write to understand my experience and also to share with others who may be grappling with similar struggles. Wanting to leave a legacy of some kind (now that my progeny is deceased) is another source of inspiration. My writing is a way of saying “Celenia was here and it mattered.”
- Do you have any advice for novice bloggers? Just do it. Practice. Practice. Practice. Until it becomes A practice.
- How long have you been blogging (and/or writing)? I’ve been a writer all my life. Always loved words, loved being read to as a child, loved reading to my younger siblings as we were growing up. I’ve been blogging since 2014.
- Who is your favorite author? This is an impossible question, so I’ll just mention someone I’ve read recently who I enjoyed: “The Liar’s Club” by Mary Karr. I’m drawn to memoirs. I enjoy the raw reality that often comes through in this genre. People are amazing!
- How would you describe your blog? A mixture of memoir, political essays, mostly prose, some (bad) poetry, lots of photos taken by me. The title is “A New Normal” which addresses my memoir pieces about moving forward with my life after the suicide of my son; but also about the “New Normal,” the United States finds itself in under this crazed administration. Not that any of that nonsense is “normal”!
- Do you have a mentor or somebody who strongly influences you? I have been mentored by several writing facilitators during the past 8 years: Laurie Wagner, Cynthia Leslie-Bole and Eanlai Cronin. They all use the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method for facilitating writing workshops. I am now certified in the method and offer my own workshops.
- Do you ever experience writer’s block? Goddess, yes! It comes with the territory.
- What is your go-to solution for writer’s block? Write anyway. Write the worst junk in America. I am extremely forgiving when it comes to my first drafts. I’m just happy to have something on the page to play with.
- Where are you from? Born in New York City. Grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Left home at 15 to attend a girls’ boarding school in upstate New York. Stayed on the east coast (mostly Boston) until 1993. Have lived in California since. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere. As long as I can afford to stay (always an issue), California is home.
- What are some of your passions, in addition to writing? Fairness, decency, truth-telling, caring for others who cannot care for themselves, women’s rights, freedom of speech, LGBTQ rights, diversity, equality, justice under the law for ALL, getting corporate greed out of our government. Everything the current U.S. administration does not seem to give a shit about.
- Do you have other creative outlets in addition to blogging? Photography. There’s lots of it on my blog. Also knitting, although I haven’t done any for close to a year.
Here are 11 random facts about myself:
- I played the role of “Dorothy” in my high school production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
- My left foot is substantially larger/wider than my right foot. More than the normal human asymmetry.
- Although my parents are Puerto Rican, and I lived in Spanish-speaking parts of the world, English is my native tongue. I am mostly fluent in Spanish, but I dream in English.
- I’ve been a lawyer. Hated it. I refer to myself as a “recovering attorney.”
- I’ve been a massage therapist. I’ve been a regular therapist. I liked helping people feel better in their bodies and about themselves. I don’t give massages any longer, but I get bodywork every week. And I don’t practice psychotherapy, but I am a life coach for people who have experienced traumatic loss but are ready to re-engage with life.
- I cannot stand spicy-hot food, which confuses people. I think it’s because we are close to Mexico, and Mexican food is plentiful here in California and can be spicy-hot, and because I look Hispanic, assumptions are made.
- My dog’s name is Lulu. She is my first pet (I got her when I was 48). She’s pretty darn cute, is 12 years old, has titanium in her right hind leg, and is showing no signs of stopping.
- Iceland is on my bucket list. So is Alaska. Which is weird because I’m not a big fan of the cold or snow, but the vistas are very enticing.
- I don’t have any tattoos. I seriously considered getting my son’s name somewhere on a hand or arm, but I’m not a big fan of the needles. I bought a ring that has his name on it instead.
- I have always loved dancing and although parts of my body object and complain, I still love to go to a club and bust a move.
- I drive a hybrid plug-in Prius. She’s pale blue, and her name is Skylar. I am lusting after a Tessla and dream of the day when I never have to pump gas again.
Here are the 11 questions for my nominee(s):
- What is one of your favorite quotes about the writing process? Be sure to name the author.
- What rituals, if any, do you have when sitting down to write? A specific location? A particular beverage? Is a specific time of day better for you? Those kinds of details.
- Who are some of your writing mentors?
- Is writing a want to, a need to, or a have to for you? Perhaps all three? Tell us more.
- Which do you prefer: writing alone or with others? Explain.
- What kind of vehicle do you drive? What kind of vehicle do you WISH you could drive?
- What languages do you write in? speak? dream in?
- What are you passionate about (besides writing)?
- Provide a brief description of your blog.
- Fan of cilantro or not?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
Here is the link to my nominee: Julia Novak, Intuitive Consultant. She writes about all sorts of things from an intuitive perspective, which serves as a reminder to me to acknowledge that part of myself, The Inner Knowing Me. Her writing is chock full of wisdom on topics such as parenting, getting quiet, grief, letting go, creativity, connection, appreciating nature, important signs that we might be missing or ignoring because we are not listening to our own wisdom. All her posts contain precious nuggets; even the photos and illustrations she’s chosen to accompany her written words are evocative and/or thought-provoking. She is both gentle and in-your-face. Her blog is mindful and meditative; that’s the gentle part. But she poses questions and challenges one’s usual way of perceiving one’s reality; that’s the in-your-face part. Go to this blog to experience beauty and peace, and to get back in touch with The Inner Knowing You. Julia has a book coming out soon, so she may not be blogging as regularly as she has in past years. Hang in there. It will be worth it.
And thank you to all who read my blog and other bloggers. It means the world to us!