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March 10, 2008

8 Random Things About Me

I got double-tagged at the weekend by Cat Morley at Designers Who Blog, inspiring my post for Monday while I wait for my brain to kick into gear and resume the exploration of writing and inspiration

The first part was nomination as one of her ten (ish) excellent reads, for which I'm very grateful.   I'm going to duck playing this bit though because I find it so hard to select and highlight particular blogs when there are so many I read for different reasons: to engage as part of a community, to keep up with what's going on in the blogging world, to read other great writing blogs, to enjoy what you're writing.... If you're looking for some new blogs to read please do have a browse through the list of blogs I follow at Bloglines, with those where I spent the most time (chatting, conversing, connecting) listed at the top.

The second part was 8 random things, a meme I have played before though that time I limited it to books and reading.  This time round I'll try to be a little more random, while sharing some stuff about me that might be of interest.  As you'll see I made some into 8s (because I like numbered lists) but it was getting too hard to come up with 8 * 8...

8 Random Things About Me

# 1 I tried to think of 8 languages I could speak.  I have passable French, Spanish acquired from 3 months in Mexico, German I studied at university and have hardly spoken since, Italian I pick up every few years to get ready for a holiday there (so I'm back with it in anticipation of the writing holiday in Sardinia in October) only one word of Hungarian despite the fact my brother and nephew live there, an on-off relationship with Gaelic (it's so hard to learn, but when I focus on it I make good progress), and would have said I struggle with Scots... until people started quizzing me on Scots words I use here that have crept into my vocabulary

# 2 I am a cat person, through and through.

# 3 I love visiting the islands off the west coast of Scotland.  8 islands I've been to so far include Arran, Islay, Mull, Skye, Raasay, Lewis & Harris, Canna, Rum.  8 that are on the top of the list to visit (there are many more!) are Barra, Coll, Eigg, Colonsay, Gigha, Jura, Tiree and St Kilda. 

# 4 My mind goes a blank when people ask me what my favourite film is, or even what film I've seen recently.  I try and memorise two or three to roll out on these occasions, but often revert to Star Wars as a safe bet (and it is quite possibly my all time favourite film)

# 5 I find questions of national identity difficult to answer too - too complex to boil down to one word.  The birth places of my 8 great-grandparents reflect my own mixed sense of place the best: 2 born in Devon (one with Cornish parents, the other Irish) 2 from Fife, 2 from Lewis, 2 from Skye

# 6 I don't watch much TV any more (too busy blogging) but when I do, ER is my favourite US TV programme...

# 7 My favourite foods are savoury snacks: hot croissants, bagels, brown toast and butter, white toast and Marmite, oatcakes, crumpets, potato scones, Scotch pancakes with butter and jam - okay, the last one's not quite savoury, but you can get away with eating it for breakfast so I'm counting it. 

# 8... and Coronation Street is my favourite UK TV programme (and favourite thing on TV)

I'm tagging the 8 top commenters in February to play along:

Debbie Yost, Amy Palko, Brad Shorr, Michele Tune, Karen Swim, Catherine Lawson, Jim Murdoch, Robert Hruzek

(The number of comments is growing so fast here I'm not sure I can manage any more to list everyone who's commented in a round up post - but please know that each and every comment is appreciated, and is a large part of what inspires me to write.  Highlighting the top 8 seemed a small way to say thanks.)

I know you might have played this tag before - but it's random, so maybe you'll be able to think of a way to play again.  In any event I'd like to pass it on with these non-rules that I learned from Jeanne Dininni:

1. Give yourself permission not to complete it if you lack the interest, inclination or inspiration to do so (that way you'll only write it if you do)

2. Allow yourself to ignore the hurry element

We need to give ourselves the freedom to take as long as we need to discover whether there is in fact any spark of inspiration buried within us that would allow us to approach the meme with enthusiasm, curiosity, and enjoyment--rather than forcing ourselves into the drudgery of a dreaded task.

3. Focus on the meme and shape it the way you want, make it your own

These thoughts have definitely helped me re-think the way I look at memes - shifting them back to something that's fun and playful rather than a burden someone's passed on to me.  That's my intention in passing it on anyway - along with a thanks :-)

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

Photo credit for the mouthwatering picture of marmite and toast: Jovike on Flickr


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Thanks for the tag, Joanna! I'm just about to walk to the shops, and on the way I'll have a think for what to include in my 8 random things.
Oh, and I can help add to your Hungarian vocabulary! I've been trying to learn it for years...

yum marmite on toast!

@ Amy I think maybe you can spare me the Hungarian - I think it really is a hard language to master! - and my nephew speaks such beautiful English :-) Looking forward to reading your random things...

@ Daz - well you know it's one that's likely to divide my readership, you either love it or hate it!



Love your random things! And your toast and saucer photo? What a perfect match for your blog colours. Nice :-)

Cat, as you well know another random thing about me is that I'm blind to visual design! Hadn't noticed the colours until you noticed it - unless maybe subconsciously...

Thanks for the tag, it was a fun way to write something on a Monday morning


Hi Joanna - like you, I'm not a big TV fan. Years ago, I was off work sick for a long period and I managed to sicken myself of all soaps and low quality TV programs (I even watched Cell Block H).

I have to say that I'm impressed by all the languages you can speak. I struggle to help my son with his French homework.

Thanks for tagging me for this. This is one meme that I can easily get away with on my blog and I was a bit stuck on something I was writing, so you've saved me.

I am a cat person, too. Unfortunately, we have a dog. I just can't bond with her. Star Wars is one of my all time favorites, also. I watch ER and it used to be at the top of my very extensive list of t.v. watching, but it's losing steam. I think they need to give it up. I didn't realize we had so much in common! I'll put this meme in my "to do" list!

Hey, thanks for the inspiration, Joanna! I'll see if I can squeeze a bit more water from that rock... :-)

Hi Joanna,

I loved learning these 8 random things and you never ever fail to inspire. I wanna play too but! I've never done a meme, so will have to learn how but oh what fun! One of my favourites is ER too and unlike many Americans I haven't given up bread! I run so I need my carbs! :-)

@ Cath, I'm glad this one fits. It came at a good point for me too :-) Don't worry about Cell Block H, I met someone yesterday who was watching re-runs of Tenko! (Maybe you're too young to remember)

@ Debbie, it sounds like we do. That's a shame about the dog. I did once stay in a house with a dog I liked, but it doesn't seem enough to take a risk with one. You always know where you are with a cat - I think so anyway :-) I agree ER's running out of steam (and you're probably ahead of me, so maybe even more so than I can see) but I'd still be lost if they took it off...

@ Robert, I did wonder about tagging you as I think you've already done it at least twice before... but then I figured randomness & the Middle Zone probably went well together...

@ Karen this is a nice easy meme to get started with, it'll be fine. I wish I had your excuse for my carb consumption - my reason is I just that I love them!



Thanks for mentioning, quoting, and linking to me in this post!

It was fascinating to learn these eight things about you! I can relate to #4. I, too, can never come up with a "favorite" movie. I could never even begin to choose among all the movies I've seen. (The same goes for a favorite song.) There are just too many great movies (and songs) out there to choose just one.

Great post!

OMG - Joanna - I remember Tenko, but that is a real long time ago. Oh well, now I don't feel so bad anymore.

Oh, Barra! You must go. Take a bike ride around the island. Stop and see the seals on the west side. See the shell runway at the airport. Visit Kisimil castle in the bay.
My husband's ancestry traces back to Barra (which gives you a clue to our last name. LOL) While we lived in Europe, we were able to make a pilgrimage there. Lovely.

Hi Joanna,
Potato Scones? Is that a Scottish thing? I am so with you on the savoury carbs being a favourite snack...

Thanks for sharing these things. I guess the ones that surprised me were the languages (bravo!) and Star Wars... and I'm not sure why Star Wars surprises me. I too can never pick a favourite ANYTHING when asked.

Great post!

@ Jeanne My pleasure - I've been waiting for an opportunity to quote your words of wisdom on memes - hopefully they'll spread round the blogosphere and undo the power of the imaginary meme police!

@ Cath It takes all kinds doesn't it :-)

@ Deb, now you've got me drooling over Barra - I must move it higher up the list. Did you manage to find some family history when you were there - places his family had been, gravestones etc? I'm fascinated by family history. Don't have any connections with Barra myself - lots in Skye and Lewis

@ Karen, yep. I'm including a recipe - not that I've ever tried making them from scratch - but it'll give you the idea. Delicious! When you visit we'll make sure you get some :-)



Barra has a nice museum of family history. We already knew lots of it from older family members, but to see the island was a very neat thing. Understanding that we were as much Viking as Scottish has been fun.

Thank you for the inspiration on the 8 Random Things. I tagged a few folks and I'm having fun reading what they've done.

DebMc, I'm glad you took on the random things - it's fun to do and then watch others play as well, isn't it?

Yeah, the whole "Scottish" thing is very complex - I guess it is in many countries if you dig deep. My Skye grandmother (a MacAskill) could - with a few jumps - trace her history back to Vikings who had a stronghold on the south of the island - remnants of the fort still there today...


Joanna, your linguistic skills are impressive! How did you have time to learn all those languages? That's something I really admire about Europeans -- their ability to move gracefully from one culture to another and make themselves understood.

Thanks Brad - I guess languages are one of those things that come easily to me so it hasn't felt like a lot of time - or maybe it was a lot of time but it's fun and doesn't feel like learning, so doesn't feel like a lot of time.

On Europeans and moving gracefully... uhmmm, I'm afraid if you spent much time in the UK or watching Brits abroad you might change your opinion on this one. I'm saying no more than that!


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