Hello lovely ones. Greetings from the land of confusion. I have a favor to ask. As some of you know, I host a podcast with my beautiful friend Jane called Chit Chat Chicks. We bring you the latest in entertainment and good old fashion snark. Some of our past guests have included Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, Allison Burnett, known for movies like Fame, Autumn in New York and Gone, and Ericka Eleniak from Baywatch
We have started a blog for the podcast. If you are so inclined we would love for you to follow us. I’m not sure where we will lead you, but I can promise it will be a fun trip. We will also follow you anywhere, but if you could direct us to a chocolate store, that would be great. As always, thanks for the support. The WordPress community is one of the nicest. Really happy to have connected with most of you. Ha! Happy Thursday.
I asked the lovely and inspirational Stephanae McCoy if she would be so gracious as to write a guest blog post She said yes almost immediately, because she’s lovely like that :). For those of you who don’t know this dynamic lady ” (Steph) McCoy is a successful businesswoman, style setter, blogger and abilities crusader who breaks the myth that “blind people can’t be fashionable.” As a blind woman who happens to love fashion and style, Ms. McCoy founded boldblindbeauty.com, a successful website that brings women together to share in the beauty of fashion and style, provides a community that encourages empowerment and camaraderie, and makes a connection between the sighted and non-sighted worlds eradicating misconceptions and long-held stereotypes about people with vision lost”. You can find out more here. Be sure to follow.She’s one of my heroes.
And do check out the amazing things she’s doing through her on-line store Abigail Style.
From the site:
Breaking down barriers, and giving back are the most important messages of Abigail Style. Empowering blind women to love themselves through the promotion of self-confidence enables them to walk through life on their own terms.
Independent living is achieved through focusing on individual talents and abilities. By supporting Abigail Style’s mission of improving the world, you are also aiding the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh (BVRS) as 10% of all profits are given to the Employment Services Division of the agency. BVRS, known for its outstanding programs, has served people from around the US.
“Shame was the reason I decided to describe myself as ‘blind’ versus ‘visually impaired’ because it was important for me to accept the word ‘blind’. Once I did this I was able to get a grip on my fear and move forward.”
I’m not sure why I felt shame when I lost my eyesight but I think it was closely tied to my personal biases and lack of understanding where blindness was concerned. In walking through the process of sight loss and facing my shame/fear head-on I was able to move forward.
Do you Face Everything And Run? Or Face Everything And Rise? Fear can motivate or repress and your response is a matter of choice.
Choosing To Rise:
The first step is doing an honest self-assessment. Like following a map, unless you know yourself, you will get lost.
The next step is to set short and long-term goals. Goals should always be written, periodically reviewed, revised and once they are met, new ones should be set.
The third and final step is to stay the course. When you get derailed, get back on track and keep pursuing your dreams. Do not let anyone, tell you that you cannot succeed.
When it gets down to it the choice is up to you. You decide how to navigate your path to success.
Hello, lovely ones. Yesterday, I posted a poem a day early to make room for today’s post. As some of you know, I host a literary podcast with my friend, Niles, called La Literati. We feature established authors, as well as up and coming writers.
Tomorrow, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, we will be celebrating the work of three talented WordPress bloggers. Information is below.
We plan to make this a regular part of our show. If you are interested in participating in the future, please get in touch via my contact information listed on this site. We would love to hear from you.
About the writers:
Geetha Balvannanathan Prodhom is an Indian writer born within a multicultural family and raised between India, Tunisia, Europe and the Middle East. She writes poetry in English, French and Arabic and has published a collection of French poems in 2011 with another collection of poetry in English to be published in 2016. A fervent admirer of the Japanese art of Tanka and Haiku since 2010 and writing her own Haikus in English, French and Italian since 2014, she also writes short novels in English and in French on the themes of human feelings and interaction. She is currently working on a manuscript in English depicting the varied life she has led. Her blog is:
Debra (D.S.) Levy is a writer of short stories, flash fiction, and essays. She’s had work published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Columbia, Little Fiction, The Pinch, and others. Although she’s never considered herself a “poet,” she believes that whatever she’s writing has always begun with a poet’s concerns — concision, compression, sound, and the desire to capture moments of being. Since blogging at C-Dog & Company, she has begun (shyly) to share some of her free verse. You can find her
Christian Marc is a writer and blogger born in New Jersey, who lived in L.A., but is currently moving to Seattle. He is a two time recipient of the Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence. He blogs at:
You can also find my friend and cohort’s blog here:
Discovering his cruelty was akin
to standing on the backyard deck
ready to jump into spring grass,
soft with newness and finding instead,
coiled, the venomous blunt head of a rattle snake,
lying in wait, ready to strike out
at whatever comes within its range
of pride or insanity. She couldn’t help
notice his appeal though.
The diamond back so lush against the green. His beauty beyond report.
The snake would say she is
getting the narrative all wrong.
He may slither, but she’s the
one with the come hither,
charming him right out of his basket
with her deceptively sweet song of the sea. The snake hisses. He knows
she’s rose petals on top of bees.
She only knows how to sting.
The truth shaking its virtuous head,
give its point of view. Scolding them both.
We pick up the story from here.
Truth let’s us know that these two
are a perfect storm of toxic.
Their common language, madness.
Individually, they are both soft spoken
and kind. Subdued and well liked.
On paper, a good idea. Together, the paper turns
to a dartboard
both aimlessly trying to
out dart the other.
Years of grievances flying through
She might have been the
mouse chewed up and devoured
by his devilish mouth, or
perhaps he was the
victim of a demented siren song.
It all depends on point of view.
Gorgeous stars or bastard moon?
The truth is the light in their room.
It never changes.
Yet, they both sleep with blindfolds on
and what they don’t want to look at blurs,
in the descent of memories.
Memories best left discarded.
The bridge burnt. Falling into water
spilled with oil.
The snake and siren drown.
The undertow winks at truth.
Truth tired of the story
and with no magic potion.
Delivers an elegy to two
sweet tooth addicted to madness-
Relieved to be done
with these loons. Truth ends
the narrative here.
The ghost of the snake chimes in
The phantom siren sings…..
I’ve known my guest today since the days of MySpace. Back when the site was cool and Tom had perfected the selfie game. A time when John Mayer was waiting on the world to change, and Donald Trump was just a blowhard with a TV show. Times have changed, but the man of the blog hour has stayed the same. He’s still the same affable, charming guy of yesteryear. I’m thrilled to introduce you to him.
Peter Hammarberg is a man’s man. He reminds me a bit of Hemingway with his rugged good looks and aptitude for the English language- Peter is a word herder dwelling in the northern wilds of New England. He’s been called a “Magnificent Bastard” and “The Patron Saint of Bourbon and Hearty Laughter” by genuine Cony Island sideshow performers. In addition, he has a tache that even Tom” Selleck would envy.
You can find his debut novel Antillia. at Amazon. A must read for Sci-Fi enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys well written fiction.
You can keep up with Peter and his shenanigans at:
You can also follow him on WordPresss at hammermountainarts.com (Do it!)
My thanks to Peter for taking the time to engage in some tomfoolery,
Twenty Random Questions
1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to share your story?
Wonderland is a terrifying place. If I wasn’t killed by some whimsical psychopath and managed to make it home, I doubt I’d share the story– That’s a sure-fire recipe for padded rooms and colorful pills in wee paper cups.
2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?
“Who Moved My Bourbon?”
3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why?
I already have a drink named after me: The Hammer’dberg. It’s real simple to make. Take a pint glass, pour two-to-three fingers of bourbon (depending on your day) into it, then a dark beer. Best paired with either a cigar, bon fire, or a couch.
4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
When I was a pup, I was afraid of ghosts. It took me a while to realize that they’d follow me wherever I was. I was the one haunted., not necessarily the places. I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t fear it anymore. I never poop alone, thanks to them.
5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?
I’d like humans to get over themselves. We take ourselves too seriously.
6. What’s your favorite poem?
“Dinosauria We,” by Charles Bukowski. It’s the closest thing he’s written to a prophecy poem, and it’s chilling. He talks about the things to come, and you think, ‘Yep…’ To me, it’s the written equivalent to Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King. The tone has a building, subtle frenzy until it explodes.
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Give me darkness, and put a sock in it. I’m trying to sleep. My brain is like a stone-struck hornets nest when there’s light.
8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?
Dom Kreep from the band Kreeps. He’d make the song fun and spooky, which I’m sure is what living in my country would be like.
I’d say Wesley Willis, if he wasn’t dead, but… he’s dead.
9. What makes you nostalgic?
Songs. Scents. Comic books I haven’t read in a while. They bring me back instantly for better or worse. I think, ‘Cripes, that was another life. I’ve gotten fat,’ Then I partake in question 3 and forget where I put my pants.
10. Clowns. Creepy or cool?
I don’t have a fear of clowns, but I respect their creep factor. Unless you’re talking about a sad clown flipping pancakes in a foreign flick, I’d say creepy. Pogo, Pennywise, and Ronald are a few of the scariest.
11. Do you remember your dreams?
All the time. I’m sure psychiatrists would have a field day with me.
12. What’s your favorite song?
To me there is no such thing as a favorite song. There are far too many amazing tunes out there to pick one. It also depends on the mood.
Fight song? Twilight of the Thunder God, by Amon Amarth.
Romance someone’s face song? Love you to Death, by Type O Negative.
Life is a strange place song? Saltair by Kreeps.
Inspirational song? Do It, by Wesley Willis.
The list goes on…
13. What’s your favorite season?
Autumn. Crisp air. Trees aflame. Halloween. The world feels more vibrant during that time. Pour yourself a Hammer’dberg and sit outside for a spell.
14. Does pressure motivate you?
Pressure can suck it. I’m constantly under it. Even when there isn’t any external nonsense happening, my favorite pastime is tormenting myself with incessant “what if?s”.
It’s a real problem. I need Vanilla Ice to solve it.
15. To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and how much is down to fate?
This is a tricky one. I’m not a fan of “there’s a plan,” because then free will is an illusion. But I do like the theory of shaping the universe to your will. Put the thought out there and allow it to move you. Then again, they say ‘You can’t win the lotto without buying a ticket,’ so I have no idea. I guess whatever works for you is the answer.
And that’s what they call a “cop-out answer,” kids.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
None. The way I see it, if I wrote the books I loved, they probably wouldn’t be that lovable. That’s not to say I wouldn’t do a good job, but there are reasons certain books are amazeballs.
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Paranoid. I don’t think the toaster is a government spy, mind you, but I definitely have moments where I’m too high strung for my own good.
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
Walking through Portsmouth New Hampshire with my wife, as we drink coffee and scheme diabolically.
19. Are you more like fire or the earth?
I’m too lazy to be fire. I’d say I’m more like an old, haunted forest.
20. Do you hear voices?
All the time. Especially when I’m trying to sleep, I hear all the worries and doubts. It’s sad, really. When I tell them to shut up, it’ll change to theme songs of shows I can’t stand.
I’m really my own worst enemy.
What are you currently working on?
I’m putting the finishing touches on a bizarro/horror novella called Gravenfrost. I’ve gone the path of Lovecraft, and created my own New England town to fill with creeps and spooky shenanigans. The story is focused on an FBI agent named Doyle and his investigation into a ghost hunting tv show host losing his mind and murdering his cast and crew during a “hunt” in a place nicknamed The Devil’s Domicile.
I’ve had a few beta testers read it, and I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. One even told me she was doing laundry in the basement when the book popped into her mind. She was so creeped out, she hurried like mad in order to get back upstairs. That makes me smile. If all goes according to plan, it should be available this October from Hammer Mountain Arts.
NY Times best selling author and international man of mystery Sylvain Reynard dropped by the blog to answer reader’s questions. Never one to stand on the sidelines and idly twiddle his thumbs, the Snarky Narrator, affectionately known as SN from the Gabreil’s Inferno Trilogy, made a surprise appearance. Prepare to swoon to the tune of two of the most fascinating men on the planet (at least according to SR’s angels). Enjoy.
Questions for SR and SN
Submitted by Misty.
1. Snarky, is it true that in #the raven that William’s description was based on SR?
SN: This is the kind of propaganda SR is known for. In reality, William is much better looking.
2. SR, is it true you look like William in real life? 🙂 I remember an interview a long time ago where you said you wanted to write about vampires, is this book fulfilling that desire?
SR: Yes, The Florentine Series has been my chance to write about vampyres and I’ve really enjoyed writing them.
3. A lot of us love Raven Wood she is real and has a big heart, do you base your characters on people in your life or are they completely imagined?
SR: They’re imagined but I suppose in my imagination, they’re real.
Submitted by Ellie Totten
4. I have never heard of Selinsgrove, Pa. before and wondered the reason you chose this setting as the hometown of Gabriel and Julianne.
If you research apple production in the USA, you’ll discover Pennsylvania has many orchards and produces a lot of apples. So the choice began with the orchard ….
5. In Gabriel’s Redemption I enjoyed the part where Gabriel met his biological sister, Kelly. I loved her warm personality. Will you consider writing more about his new relationship with his biological family now that he and Julianne have Claire?
It’s possible …
6. I’m a Professor Picton fan and since you’ve stated she is in fact a real person, can you share any information about her?
I can’t say too much but in one of my forthcoming novels, we’ll see more of her. Stay tuned …
This is for The SN.
7. Are you a bit put out that SR has ignored your charming personality in his new Florentine trilogy? In addition, would SR ever wear sneakers with his sexy argyle socks? Oh, and does SR have blue eyes like David Gandy? 😉
SN: I really don’t understand why everyone is so fascinated with SR and not with me. I’m far more attractive.
Submitted by Samia
8. Since a person can control many feelings, why do you think we can’t choose who we love?
Some elements of love can’t be controlled. That said, one could habituate oneself to loving a particular person through an act of will. But I suppose the better question is if we’re talking about romantic love, why would one want to?
9. If you had one wish, whatever you wanted, what would you wish for?
World peace. And more doughnuts.
Submitted by BAE
10. Hi, SR. Always good to see you. I’ve always wondered if you have ever been in a situation where people around you are commenting about your books next to you without knowing you’re the author. And for some reason, I could see you sneaking into a book store into the romance novels section out of curiosity (well, I would do it … 😉 Has it happened to you? If so, how was it? Do you mind to share?
Truthfully, I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve heard others discussing my books. But yes, when I’m in a bookstore I browse around looking to see where my books are shelved …
11. You’re well known for pleasing your readers. We all adore you. Your positivity influences our daily lives and give hope in moments when any of us might feel completely hopeless. What lessons or words of wisdom have you learned from your readers that have had a positive impact in your life?
I’m not sure I could identify just one but I can say that I enjoy hearing from readers through email and social media and there are many inspiring messages that they’ve shared with me.
12. My dear & sexy SN… Where have you been? When will we have the pleasure to have another chat with you? We had to start a pacific protest in Twitter to have the opportunity to chat with you today. Is SR treating you well? I miss you. xo
SN: Thank you. I’ve decided I need to take control and narrate my own life…
Submitted by Renata
13. Your books contain great content about works of art of all kinds and shapes. For you, what is the beauty?! The concept of beauty evolves as man evolves?!
I think beauty is an aspect of goodness that incites a reaction in the observer.
14. The language of art and music seem to be universal. Your books bring music and characters who learn to speak foreign languages. Do you think that learning foreign languages is a way to promote a sense of unity in humanity?
15. For SN I would like you to know that you have many fans in Brazil, for its charm and wonderful sense of humor, including me. And after that, I wonder: “You do not feel trapped, confined between the “parentheses” of SR books?!”
SN: Yes, as I said in a previous answer, I need to take control and narrate my own life. I think I could do so very well in Brazil …
Submitted by Andarta
16. Hi SR, I’m not sure if you are familiar with The Time Traveler’s Wife movie (or book), the male character, as the title says, can travel through time and interact with himself in different periods of his life. If you could do the same thing, which advice you would give for a younger and older self of yours 🙂
That’s a good question. I don’t know the film or the book but I understand what you’re saying. For the younger: Be bold. For the older: Be patient.
17. Hi Snarky, always good to see you and read your comments in SR’s new paranormal series books 🙂 I’m not sure if SR told you, but we are discussing with Brazilian readers The Prince & The Raven. And, I’m afraid they don’t know you very well. If SR allows you to visit Brazil one day what do you want see or visit? Any message you to send to them? 🙂 P.S. Brazilian readers loved your “filisteu” comment in chapter 1 #ThePrince 😉
SN: Please thank all the Brazilian readers and say “Bom Dia” from me. I’d like to move to Brazil and get to know the readers personally …
Submitted by Alexandra
18. Will we ever see a picture of you?
SN: Absolutely. When I move to Brazil, I hope to have my picture taken with readers while on the beach …
Word association for SR from Kez
* icecream – chocolate * (sugarfree) gummybears – pain * Dr Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham
My favorite Canadian philosopher, Mark Kingwell, graciously agreed to submit himself to more of my questioning. Much to his chagrin, his answers have solidified my undying, innocent, nerdy devotion for life- or at least the duration of this post. I’m fickle that way. Marriage is off the table. However, I am hoping I can convince Mark to adopt me. 🙂 (need I add, tongue firmly placed in cheek, it tends to stay there) My thanks to the Professor Kingwell for his candid, thought provoking, and witty answers. He’s been nothing but kind when it comes to dealing with my awkward and goofy sense of humor.
1. What makes you, you?
The philosophical answer is: not terribly much. Some replicable genetic coding, some badly recalled memories, a more or less consistent physical presence over time, and a few traces of extended mind in the form of books and articles and other people’s (badly recalled) memories of me. The first-person perspective demands, though, that we treasure some sense of uniqueness. And it’s true that we are all unique: no one human is ever entirely identical to another, even with twins or clones. But what of it? Snowflakes are unique and we don’t value them for it. Or do we?
2. Would you rather be James Bond or a Bond villain?
Villain, of course! But I want to be the villain that James Bond becomes when he breaks bad and goes totally, not just temporarily or charmingly, rogue. The anti-Bond, the bizarro Bond. Has to be the Sean Connery Bond, too (much as I love the Daniel Craig Bond). Same gorgeous suits, same sociopathic pleasure in killing and empty sex with random beautiful women; but new attitude, new program, new sardonic wit. I could tell you what the new Bond’s plan is but then, naturally, I’d have to kill you.
3. When does consciousness begin?
Come on, this is too easy. When? Right here, right now. What else? We find ourselves thrown into it. Nobody asked us if we wanted to be, but here we are. The human condition, at once utterly mysterious and utterly trivial. No wonder we tie ourselves in knots trying to figure out what it all means.
4. Could you survive a zombie apocalypse? How would you avoid being zombie meat?
First, never joke about the zomb-pocalypse! If it ever comes it will make every other pandemic in human history look like a teddy-bear picnic. I doubt anyone will survive. In fact, the more I think about it the more I think the very idea of ‘surviving’ it is one of those delusions that will allow the zombies to win. Every zombie movie or TV series ever made is actually all part of the zombie plan, to lure us into a false sense of our own superiority.
5. How can people believe in truths without evidence?
Beats hell out of me; seems like the very definition of insanity. But there are lots of kinds of evidence, and not all them answer to the demands of the senses. I believe a fair number of things that are so abstract they could not be described in language, let alone vouchsafed by some generally shared notion of proof.
6. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you (Psssst Timothy Olyphant). What would the film be titled?
I don’t think I look much like Timothy Olyphant anymore, but yeah, he could maybe play an idealized, super-handsome version. Then maybe Kiefer Sutherland? The Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, if he were an actor? (I get these two now and then.) Title will have to be, with a nod to a previous list of questions, “Everyone Hates a Sad Professor.” (Blogger’s note, Timothy Olyphant is D. R. E. A. M. Y. Yeah, that’s right, he’s so hot, all his letters deserve to be capitalized. My crush is so justified, my material… not as much. We now return you to the real star of this blog post)
7. Do we have free will?
I freely choose to think so. Kind of have to, no? How else are we going to go on holding people responsible for the things they do, judging them, talking to them, getting annoyed with them? If free will is an illusion, and it might be, then it is an essential illusion, like personal identity (question 1).
8. When you were single, did you ever use a cheesy pick up line? If so, what was it?
I was never much of a pick-up artist, but I did have some success just going up to people and asking if they wanted to go on a date. How about that, huh? (Blogger’s note- I was hoping for some embarrassing lines, like “If you were a vegetable you’d be a cute-cumber.” or “Did you read Dr. Seuss as a kid? Because green eggs and… damn”
9. Would your life be better or worse if you knew the day, time, and place that you were going to die?
Neither better nor worse, I think; just sadder. It seems awful to know that we will all die, even more awful to know for sure when. But both things are functionally the same, and should force the same conclusion: be here now (as the man said); and live all you can, it’s a mistake not to (as the man said).
10. Favorite current song?
“Baby Blue” by Badfinger. Totally rocked the last minutes of “Breaking Bad” and I can’t get it out of my head since binge-watching the whole thing on old-school DVD not long ago.
11. If you could only look at one cityscape for the rest of your life, which would it be?
I have to say Manhattan because my favourite building in the whole world, the Empire State, anchors that particular scene. (Wrote a book about that!) But I am also partial to Shanghai and Toronto as evolving new-century skylines. After that, it all goes downhill pretty fast as far as I’m concerned.
12. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Two different kinds of hell or just the same hell by different names? I just decided which one I preferred but then I forgot what my decision was. Hey, did I already tell you that? Wait…
13. Why are you answering these questions?
Who can resist talking about themselves? But I also find questions as a linguistic/social form totally fascinating. I’m one of those people who get through cocktail parties, faculty gatherings, and airport layovers by asking people lots of questions. I am amazed how few they usually ask in return. No bounce-back at all. Sometimes this is routine mansplaining egotism, but it is sometimes also a kind of confession. There are people who just never get asked anything! Next time you are at a bar in O’Hare or Charlotte, or stuck at an art opening or departmental meet-and-greet, just start asking. If nothing else, it passes the time.
14. Do you dance in front of the mirror?
No, but I do sort of dance in my office sometimes. I crank the music (Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Slowdive) and weave my way around the desk. It’s more like modified pacing than actual dancing. Potentially embarrassing, too, because the college’s mail guy has a key to my office for when he wants to drop stuff off. I figure if he ever comes upon me this way I will just pretend I am drunk: that seems more like the norm on my floor. (Kidding!)
15. If you could be the opposite sex for one day, what would you do?
Ha — the Tiresias thought experiment! I suppose his/her answer would have been “Have lots of sex, so you can see that women really do experience more physical joy than men.” Maybe, maybe not. But I think a lot of physical things would be in order. What does it mean to ‘throw like a girl’? (a good phenomenological question that inspired a great essay by the philosopher Iris Young). Personally I’d like to fly fish as a woman. Would I be more patient, more thoughtful, more sure-handed with the cast? Then I think I would be inclined to slap a few male friends of mine, just to see what they would do.
16. 3 items you always have on you.
A USB drive with essential files, my Nat Sherman Zippo lighter, and a Ka-Bar folding knife. Plus, you know, keys and cash and whatever else. But I always check these three pieces of hardware in my pockets before I leave the house.
17. If you made a documentary, what would it be about?
This may be the only question for which I have no easy answer! I guess my mind doesn’t work in documentary ways, though I have done interviews for lots of other people’s documentaries. How about a documentary about the literary and cultural significance of the cocktail? (I wrote a book about this, too, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.)
18. Moonlight as another profession, what would it be?
Well, jet fighter pilot used to be my response to that question. These days, I wonder if maybe being a major league baseball manager would be more fun.
19. Any regrets? (aside from agreeing to answer these questions)
Non, je ne regrette rien! Actually, of course, not true. Like most people with more than a half-century of life behind them I have lots of regrets. I feel fortunate that they are mostly minor and mostly merely personal. Nobody died, nobody went to jail, nothing burned down or exploded. Some broken bones, some broken promises, some broken hearts. The usual, I guess. But regret as such, as a place for the mind to dwell, accomplishes nothing.
20. Favorite country to visit?
I really love Australia, China, and France, but I never get tired of the vast weird awesomeness of the U.S.A. After countless visits, and shared family and various residencies, I still feel like it is my undiscovered country. I should also mention countries I have not yet visited, quite alarmingly as time creeps on: Russia, Spain, Italy, and Greece. How is it possible I have never been to these places? I ask myself this all the time.
Are you up for more questions? 😉
Always, always! But: must … visit … Italy … first!
(Blogger’s note. Please send me a postcard. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out with Billy. drinking wine, and thinking up more questions.
About Mark Kingwell
Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in New York. He is the author or co-author of seventeen books of political, cultural and aesthetic theory, including the bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). His articles on politics, architecture and art have appeared in many academic journals, including the Journal of Philosophy and the Harvard Design Magazine, and in more than 40 mainstream publications, among them Harper’s, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Utne Reader, BookForum, the Toronto Star, and Queen’s Quarterly; he is also a former columnist for Adbusters, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail.
Mr. Kingwell has lectured extensively in Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia on philosophical subjects and had held visiting posts at Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley, and at the City University of New York, where he was the Weissman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities in 2002. Mr. Kingwell is the recipient of the Spitz Prize in political theory, National Magazine Awards for both essays and columns, the Outstanding Teaching Award and President’s Teaching Award at the University of Toronto, a research fellowship at the Jackman Humanities Institute, and in 2000 was awarded an honorary DFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for contributions to theory and criticism. His most recent book is a collection of political essays, Unruly Voices (2012); he has also recently published two illustrated pamphlets, Frank’s Motel (2013) and Democracy’s Gift (2014).
My thanks to S.R. for his evasive but funny answers; I’m already plotting my next twenty questions. I’m coming for you, Foxy One.
1. Was Erich Fromm right…is love an art?
Hello Tosha. I agree with CS Lewis that there are different kinds of love. But yes, I think love is an art rather than a science.
2. First thought that comes to mind when I mention Le Baiser (The Kiss)
3. Favorite love song?
4. What would constitute a perfect Valentine’s Day for you?
Perfection is to be found in the person of the beloved and in time spent together…
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
In the shower this morning.
6. Have you ever used a cheesy pick up line? If so, what was it?
I plead the Fifth.
7. Backpacking or a luxury hotel?
It would depend on the location.
8. Is it easier to love or be loved?
I think the correct answer to these questions is “it depends.”
9. True romance is…….
I think a lot of ingredients go into this – the right person, time, attention, creativity, devotion, etc. Did I mention playfulness?
10. Favorite love poem?
i like my body by ee cummings.
11. What the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done to impress a girl?
These questions are designed to embarrass me, aren’t they?
Tosha interjects: Yes! I need to work on my baiting skills.
12. What’s the Snarky Narrator up to this Valentine’s Day?
I try to remain ignorant of his romantic activities, but I think it’s safe to say he’s up to no good …
13. If you were a candy heart…..what message would be printed on you?
Tosha so much for what the fox says. 😉
14. What do you get when you cross the soul with love and desire?
The culmination of what love is supposed to be.
15. What color patterns on argyle socks are best for seducing women?
Truthfully, Argyle is sufficient in itself, no matter the colour. Argyle is, as someone intelligent expressed, the very fabric of seduction.
16. Do you think Lipton Tea workers get coffee breaks? (random, I know)
I don’t, actually.
17. If you could be a woman for a day, how would you spend your time?
There’s no way to answer this question without sounding creepy.
Even that answer sounds creepy.
18 Tell us about your latest work The Raven.
Thank you. “The Raven” is a paranormal romance set in Florence, Italy, which begins two years after the end of “The Prince.” It follows the character of Raven Wood, who is working as an art restorer at the Uffizi Gallery.
She is attacked one evening on her way home and wakes up days later with no memory of the incident. When she returns to work, she is stunned to discover that the Gallery has been robbed of a priceless set of illustrations by Botticelli, and the police want to question her …
Raven’s attempt to solve the mystery of the robbery and clear her name leads her to the underworld of Florence – a place that is inhabited by powerful and mysterious creatures, ruled by the dark and ruthless Prince…
20. Who would win in a doughnut eating contest, Gabriel or The Prince?
I think the correct answer is me.
If you would like to keep up with the not so nefarious goings on of the always delightful S.R….
find him here: http://sylvainreynard.com/
He’s also on Twitter working his magic
!. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to share your story? Jenn- I love to travel and I rarely deal with homesickness when I do, so I know there would be a huge temptation to remain in Wonderland. However, there is something to be said for re-connecting with family and friends in order to share such fantastic adventures. Morgan- I have a feeling that I will be too wasted to find my way back.
2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be? Jenn-You Should Really Sit Down Before You Read This… Morgan- Cockeyed Optimist shares unique vision
3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why? Jenn-I’m probably well on my way into transforming into a Sailor Jerry Rum & Coke as it is. Why mess with all the hard work I’ve put in over the years? Morgan- I would be one of those gaudy big airport drinks; something colorful and even a little girly but with enough of a kick to get plenty of guys to order one. It would be called: The Loudmouth.
4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult? Jenn-I developed a fear of heights as a child. I try not to let it rule my actions, but there are definitely hard limits to what I can handle at a higher elevation. It’s probably why I’ve chosen to live at sea level. Morgan- Roving murders.
5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be? Jenn-Life is so miserable when people harm one another. I just wish we could all find a way to happily share the planet. Morgan- Tyranny.
6. What’s your favorite poem? Jenn–When Morgan and I were on our third date, he surprised me by reciting a poem he had written. This was the first time he shared his creative side with me and I was absolutely amazed by his talent. Immediately afterwards, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. That poem is my favorite. Morgan-“The Ballad of the Guy Who Came In From the Cold” by Garrison
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you? Jenn-There was a time when I would have said that the darkness frightened me, but now that I’m older I realize it isn’t darkness itself I find unsettling. It’s the silence that accompanies darkness that unnerves me. (So answers the shy girl.) Morgan- It neither sooths or frightens me, I’m fine in the dark but mostly because I see quite well in low light.
8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem? Jenn-I would like to see what Morgan could do with a National Anthem. People might expect it would come out light or humorous, but knowing Morgan like I do I know he would take the responsibility quite seriously. He would put his all into the effort. Morgan- Either Sam Beam (Iron and Wine), or Jeff Lynn (ELO),
9. What makes you nostalgic? Jenn-Music probably does that more immediately than anything else. A song can instantly help me recall a moment or a feeling of some kind. Morgan-80’s music.
10. Clowns., creepy or cool? Jenn-I have no fear of clowns and I do enjoy a good laugh so I guess they lean more toward cool with me. Morgan- I love clowns, especially magician clowns.
11. Do you remember your dreams? Jenn-As far as I know I do. I don’t think I dream as much as I used to but I’ve had some doozies over the years. Morgan- Fortunately, I do and it’s a good thing because I come up with a lot of crazy shit when I’m asleep.
12. What’s your favorite song? Jenn-My favorite band is a-ha. I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager and my favorite song of theirs is “The Swing of Things” from their second album “Scoundrel Days”. Simple brilliance. Morgan-“Owner of a Lonely Heart”
13. What’s your favorite season? Jenn-Summer. I love the long days and the warmth. It’s also when I celebrate my birthday. Morgan- Fall, especially late October.
14. Does pressure motivate you? Jenn-I don’t enjoy the stress that comes along with pressure, but I do find I can work well under tight deadlines. Pressure doesn’t distract me from the things that need to be accomplished.
Morgan- Yes, it does, I work well under pressure and often set deadlines for myself because I know I will work harder to meet them.
15. To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and how much is down to fate? Jenn-I do believe in fate, but I also know I have to put in the hard work to achieve my biggest goals in life. And I try to remember than when things don’t appear to be going the way I want them to, it’s usually because something better is going to come my way as a result. Morgan- Fate plays a hand in how we come into this world, but its’ influence loses ground to free will with every passing year after that.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written? Jenn-Last year, when I was reading Outlander for the first time I remember thinking this very thing about that story. I don’t know that my writing can ever reach that level of perfection, but wow would I love to write a story like that one. Morgan- Swan Song by Robert McCammon.
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected? Jenn-I’m an internal worrier in calm times; however I don’t tend to express my worries to others. When an emergency situations pops up, I’m typically cool and collected during a crisis. Once an urgent situation has resolved itself, I tend to fall apart for a day or two after my guard has come down. Then I go back to my usual pattern of quiet worrying. Morgan- I’m pretty easy going for a guy who’s not allowed to drink coffee
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams? Jenn-Right now? An afternoon spent in Europe would be fabulous. Morgan- Disneyland! Disneyland! Disneyland!
19. Are you more like fire or the earth? Jenn-I think those around me would say the earth, but I’m definitely fascinated with volcanoes. Morgan- I am an Earth power
20. Do you hear voices? Jenn-My characters speak to me all the time. But I’m quite aware of their fictional status, so it’s all good. Morgan- Yes, but they are always singing.
What are you currently working on? Jenn-I’m writing a story I’ve entitled Constellation. It’s a May to December contemporary romance set in Central Oregon. The story begins with the two main characters, Jack and Kathleen, having just given in to the temptation of mutual attraction. The rest of the novel explores how this one spontaneous event will alter how Kathleen perceives her universe. When I initially began the story I thought Jack would be a man of mystery, but the deeper I get into the story the more I realize that Kathleen is the one with all the secrets. I’m halfway done writing the book and realizing I actually have a series in the making. I can easily envision two more books and that has me very excited right now. I’m hoping to publish the first book later this year. Morgan- My short game. (Golf joke).
My thanks to Morgan and Jenn.They are always a delight. Check out their debut novel EXPOSURE on amazon.com Note the five star reviews.