One of my regular readers and commenters, Ania, wrote this blog post yesterday and asked me if I would answer some of her questions. I’m sorry to say I don’t have time to answer them all, but I’ll do my best to answer some of them in today’s post. I’m going to take a random sample of the questions and try to answer in as much detail as possible.
So, hold onto your hollyhocks, people. Get ready to find out what I keep in my handbag!
What is your zodiac sign? Do you match its description?
My zodiac sign is Scorpio, as I was born one long-ago November. It’s apparently a Sun sign, which is a strange thought considering I was born during the winter! Scorpios are, as far as I know, supposed to be secretive, passionate, jealous, possessive and (ahem) rather amorous in their outlook on life. I’m not sure about the amorous part, but I know I have exhibited most of the other traits at various points in my history on planet Earth so far.
What song(s) would you choose as a soundtrack to your life?
Well, this is a tough question for me, because I love music so much. Choosing one song would be impossible, and even choosing a top 10 would be hard. But the first ones that come to mind are:
‘Immigrant Song’ – Led Zeppelin : This song makes me appreciate the Viking heritage which I’m sure I have. It’s a lot of fun, and it also has a killer beat. But then, I pretty much love all Led Zeppelin’s songs!
‘Unknown Legend’ – Neil Young: This song is one of many that reminds me of my dad, which is another reason to love it. But truly, I love every single Neil Young song I’ve ever heard, and he’s my all-time favourite artist.
‘Time Has Told Me’ – Nick Drake: This song kept me going during a very hard period in my life. I love it because it reminds me that things will get better and never to give up hope, but that’s just personal to me. The lyrics don’t really reflect that message! Again, I love all of Nick Drake’s tragically small output. He’s wonderful.
‘A Case of You’ – Joni Mitchell: I can’t explain the effect that ‘A Case of You’ has on me. Every note and every word of it makes my skin tingle. I love the song, and the entire album ‘Blue’, and most of what I’ve heard of Joni Mitchell. She’s a legend.
‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ – Sandy Denny: Sandy Denny was the best singer in the world. Ever. End of story. This song changed my life, and I adore every note of it.
‘May You Never’ – John Martyn: Just a gorgeous song from a wonderful singer/songwriter, sadly also gone from the world too soon.
If I answered this question every day, I’m sure I’d come up with entirely different songs, every day. Truly, I love so many thousands of songs that I’d never be finished answering this question!
Who are the most important people in your life?
Well, this one is easy. My husband, my parents, my brother, my parents-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my ‘sisters-in-law’. Then, I have about ten million aunts, uncles and cousins, as we’re a good Irish family. And then, of course, I have a huge helping of friends, none of whom I could live without. So, a lot of people are important to me, and I love them all. I’m a lucky girl.
What’s your favourite book/writer?
This is like the question about music. Every day, my top 5 favourite books changes! So, today’s favourites are:
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman (or, anything by Neil Gaiman)
Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett (or, anything by Terry Pratchett. I’m seeing a pattern here.)
The Earthsea Quartet – Ursula K. Le Guin (okay, so technically four books, but you’ll have to allow me that indulgence. It’s Le Guin!)
The Once and Future King – T.H. White
The Passion – Jeanette Winterson (or, indeed, surprise surprise, anything by Jeanette Winterson.)
I’m also going to include The Canterbury Tales by my hero, Geoffrey Chaucer, even though it’s technically a poem, not a book. But I love it. Only in the original Middle English, of course.
What do you carry in your bag?
Well, it varies, but normally I carry a rucksack-type bag, as I’m not very girly. So, I usually have at least three paperback books, my purse, a hairbrush, a bus timetable, an assortment of tissues, lots of receipts, some hand-cream for my eczema, a pen (usually not working), a notebook, and a plastic bag to put everything into if (or, rather, when) it rains. The glamour of my life is just overwhelming, isn’t it? I should have my own style magazine.
What countries would you like to visit?
So many I can’t remember them all. I haven’t been to very many places so far! My dream destinations would include: Iceland, Scandinavia (anywhere – ideally all the Scandinavian countries), Belgium (to visit my friend Tine), Spain, Italy, Hungary (I’d love to see Budapest), Canada, and Antarctica. If Antarctica counts as a country.
If you compare yourself five years ago to yourself now, what has changed?
I’m not working as an English tutor any more, and I’ve had another job in that period too; I’m married now, but I hadn’t met my husband five years ago (though I was about to meet him, which is a happy thought); I’m following my dream in life now (i.e. I’m writing), whereas five years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence or support network in place to help me to achieve this dream. So, a lot of positive changes have happened.
So, I hope that’s good enough for Ania, and that I haven’t bored the pants off the rest of you. I’ll try to be a little less self-absorbed in tomorrow’s blog post!