The Shine On Award

Hello! Thanks for leaving the fire lit and the kettle on for me, folks. Am feeling all warm and welcomed.

Today’s blog is all about the lovely award which was kindly bestowed upon me by the fabulously talented zissadc of ‘Sanity? Optional. Writing? Required’. Apparently I have several obligations to fulfill in order to accept this award, including answering some fiendishly difficult questions, so I’d best crack on!

First step: acknowledge the blogger who nominated me. I did that (see above. Did you miss it?)

Next step: Post the badge of the award on my blog. So, here it is:



Now for the hard part. The questions! I’ll give it my best shot. Here goes:

Why did I start blogging?

I started blogging because I’d wanted to do it for years but never had the courage. When I started trying to become a writer I figured what better way to get my writing gears a-crankin’ while also making friends and getting to know other people going through the same process as me than keeping a blog. So far it has worked out excellently! I really enjoy writing here.

Tea or coffee?

Ah, the doozie. Can I answer ‘both’? It’s the truth, you know. It depends on the time of day (usually coffee in the morning, tea during the day), but also my mood. And, also, my conscience. I’m trying to cut down on my caffeine, so these days it’s more likely to be herbal tea. Which is delicious. *grimaces*

Most inspiring writer?

I’m going to take this as referring to writer writer, as opposed to blog writer, but if I’m wrong I hope zissadc will correct me. My most inspiring writer is probably Ursula K. Le Guin. The breadth and depth of Le Guin’s imagination leaves me astounded, and her spellbinding storytelling is a treasure. She is inspirational because she writes so perfectly across genres and forms, whether dealing with space travel or dragonflight, and all her books (despite their settings) are so real and believable that you feel like you have a personal relationship with her characters. Her work is fluid and effortless to the eye, which of course means the author is not only an expert at doing huge amounts of work, but also at hiding it expertly beneath the beauty of her words. But if I was able, I’d love to say my most inspiring writer is a cross between Le Guin, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman. If only such a creature existed…

Your favourite fandoms?

Well. I’m a huge fan of lots of things, but I don’t know if I really qualify as having ‘fandoms’. I don’t go to conventions or dress up in costumes (yet, at least). If I was to list some of the things I’m a fan of, it would look a bit like: ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Firefly’, The SF Masterworks Series (the yellow covers make me happy), the Sandman graphic novels, Neil Young’s music (in fact, I did sort of dress like him when I was younger… but anyway), ‘My So-Called Life’ (90s television show), ‘The Big Bang Theory’, the life and works of Geoffrey Chaucer. I’m sure there are loads more, but those must be the ‘cream’, because they rose to the surface of my mind. Whatever that means.

If you were to take over the world, how would you do it?

Lovebombing, I think. I’d equip myself with a giant airship and spend my time flying gently around the globe tipping armfuls of candies, chocolates, art supplies, pens and paper, story ideas, books, aphorisms (‘you’re so wonderful!’, etc.), pictures of happy things like kittens, tons and tons of syrup, glitter, feather boas, happy wishes, love letters, and all that stuff. I’d keep going until the entire surface of the globe was covered in at least five feet of detritus, and then I’d sweep in and claim the whole lot while everyone was struggling to free themselves from a mixture of syrup and glitter. I’d expect most of the world to have surrendered to me, citing happiness burn-out, by that point anyway.

Which do you prefer, a computer or paper and a pen?

Well. Normally I write straight to computer, so I suppose I should say ‘computer’. But I love writing with a paper and pen, too. I have a collection of ornate little notebooks all over the house and in every bag I own (I can still never find one if I really need it, though), and a pen with each one (which normally doesn’t work). Despite all that, I usually make notes straight into my phone and then transcribe them into my computer file. So, the only fair answer is ‘computer’. Much as it pains me.

The best moment of your life was – ?

The day I got married. I suppose you could narrow it down to the moment my husband and I exchanged our vows, if you want to be picky. But I also loved the day I was finally conferred with my PhD, and the day my Dad got out of hospital after having a major operation nearly five years ago. All of those were marvellous moments.

The first song to come up on your portable music device of choice?

Um. I don’t have a portable music device. *blushes* I’m so old school. I still listen to CDs, and if I’m on the move I’ll pick up the radio on my phone. The CD currently in my player is ‘The Lumineers’, by (funnily enough) The Lumineers. The top 5 CDs in the pile beside my player are: Muse ‘The 2nd Law’, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ (Paradise Edition), Neil Young’s ‘Psychedelic Pill’ and the aforementioned Lumineers. I feel so old and out of touch now. (I’m not that old, really).

Love is –

Love is the freedom to be yourself, both on the good days and the bad days, secure in the knowledge that no matter what, your partner will be by your side. It’s important to afford your partner the same freedom, of course. Love is freedom, love is laughter, love is the ability to share all you have and all you are with someone else. Love takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable – as I said in a blog post a while back, love involves a huge amount of risk. But if your partner is the right one, it’s all worth it.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because a wily chicken-hunter set up a little sign on the far side of the road. The sign read ‘Vegetarians Only! No eatin’ animals over here, no sir!’, so the chicken did the only thing it could, and made a break for this animal-loving sanctuary. But, just as the chicken reached the sign, embracing it in gratefulness, the tricksy hunter sprang, and the chicken was plucked and in his bag before it could squawk.

True story.

Now I have to nominate people. I’m not sure how this works exactly so I hope I’ll do it right. Also, I hope nobody minds if I only nominate three people (who, I hope, won’t mind my doing so):

Aanderand – because I really like his take on life and his wise, thoughtful posts and comments;

Ania – because I really like her enthusiasm and zest, and her idealism;

WillWallyWonder – because her writing is warm, kind and full of love.

And now some questions for these bloggers to answer:

What is your favourite word?

What did you want to be when you were little?

Are you, or have you ever been, able to do a full handstand?

If you could be any ‘baddie’ from history or literature, who would you be and why?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?

If you won the lottery what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Do you have any weird favourite ‘things’, like favourite shoelaces, favourite spoon, etc?

Have you ever been to a ballet – or, better yet, have you ever danced in a ballet?

If you could own anything that you’ve read about in a book (like your own personal dragon, or The One Ring), what would it be?

Happiness is – ?

10 thoughts on “The Shine On Award

  1. Pingback: Shine On | Will Wally Wonder

  2. Pingback: Shine On | Will Wally Wonder

  3. anna3101

    Oh, I’m so happy to get the award from you! 🙂 And I love answering questions so much! Yay! Isn’t life great, what with it being Friday, the sun shining and me having a whole lot of questions to think about? 🙂

    By the way, I also like both tea and coffee. But my body is too sensitive for coffee, so I can only drink one cup per day, and only in the morning, else I feel very bad. But black tea, mmmm! Black tea from Sri Lanka packed in England 🙂 The very best, yum! I can never have enough of Hampstead Tea. Ever since I tried it, I only buy this one, even though it really hurts my wallet 😦 But it’s so great, especially Assam and English Breakfast. Do you have any favourite types of coffee and tea? Anything you can recommend?

    I still cannot get over the fact that you like Le Guin :/ I tried reading one of her book once and couldn’t make it further than a couple of chapters… But I’m all for Rowling and Pratchett though.

    I keep a diary and I do all of the most important psychological exercises from self-help books with a pen. And I have 23 pens travelling with me at all times 🙂 So I’m never without something to write with. However, just like you, most of the time I use the keyboard. My fingers are more used to that kind of writing.

    I really enjoy you writing things about yourself, I hope you will do it more often.

    PS How do you manage to live without a portable electronic device??? 😀

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Well. I like a brand of tea known as ‘Barry’s’, but I think it’s an Irish thing. That’s if you’re talking about black tea – ordinary tea, I mean. When it comes to herbal I like Pukka tea (they do a great triple ginger flavour which is perfect for cold weather), and I like any brand of Rooibuis. When my husband and I were in Paris a few years ago we visited Mariage Freres tea-merchants, and we picked up a load of great flavours there. I think every tea we got was amazing!

      Which LeGuin book did you try reading? There are some (including ‘The Dispossessed’) which I wouldn’t recommend for a person who wasn’t used to her work. Did you try any of the Earthsea books? I’m really hoping you didn’t dislike those.

      I live without an electronic device because I think you and I are from two totally different generations when it comes to technology! 😀 I get the feeling I’m quite a lot older than you. I grew up without any electronic devices, so I don’t see the need for them now. My question is more: how do you manage to live with so *many* portable electronic devices? 🙂

      1. anna3101

        Sorry to disappoint you but it was the first book in the Earthsea series 🙂

        And I don’t think you’re much older than me. I’m 30 and I grew up without all that fancy electronic stuff too but now I find it really indispensable. As I’ve probably mentioned many times before, I’m a big language lover 🙂 Having my media player with me allows me to use my time in the subway and the bus (which is at least 2 hours a day) – I read books, watch films and listen to music, and the good thing is – I can do all of this in any language I like! It really helps. I don’t have much time for learning in the evenings. Normally I’m too tired anyway 😦 And as for the mobile phone… well, I do appreciate the fact that I can make a picture of anything I like at any moment. You never know when the occasion may arise 🙂 Plus, I suffer from panic attacks so having a phone with me gives me a certain sense of security.
        I hope now I’m excused for having so many devices with me 🙂

      2. SJ O'Hart Post author

        Oh, gosh. Well, then I guess I’m just an old fuddy-duddy! I’m actually not that much older than you. A little bit, but not much. I’m just old-fashioned, I guess!

        I’m really sorry you didn’t like ‘Earthsea’. I just love them. The style is a bit unusual, all right, and I’m not fond of all the books, but overall I love the series.

  4. Pingback: My first award :) | Ania's Blog :-)

  5. aanderand

    Sorrry that I haven’t replied before this, I value the honor of being awarded very much but things have been sort of, well, out of sorts lately. So, this morning instead of falling into my ususal blue monday routine. I decided to look up your questions and work on the answers. It might take me a while to sort out the best answers to them.
    I am not sure how this is suppose to work and how to do the ‘Pingback’ thing, so if you could let me know, I will go to work on the answers.
    Thank you for not only the honor but the prompt to get me back writing.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      I’m glad you were glad to receive the honour! There’s no time limit on participation (and, come to that, no necessity to take part at all if it doesn’t suit you) – I’ll be delighted to read your post whenever you get a chance to do it.

      Re. pingbacks – I think if you want someone to know you’ve linked to their post, you copy the URL of the page you want to link to, then you highlight the appropriate words in your post, and then click ‘add link’ (which will be in the little toolbar over the window in which you write your posts), and then a little box comes up in which you paste the URL to the page you want to link to.

      So, if you wanted to link to a page on my blog, you’d go to the page on my blog you wanted to link to. You then go to your browser bar and copy the address you find there. Then, highlight the words in your own post that you want to act as a hyperlink (maybe something like ‘SJ O’Hart’s post’, or whatever), click ‘add link’, and paste the URL you copied earlier. Then, I should get a notification on my end that you’ve made a pingback to my blog.

      At least, I hope so.

      If these weren’t the instructions you were looking for, I apologise for their long-winded uselessness! 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Shine on Award | it's getting late

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